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Launch of new music initiative for Highland schools

Issued: 21 May 2010

The Highland Council is the first Local Authority to introduce the Active Learning through Music programme to all its schools. The programme, written by National Youth Choir of Scotland, was trialled in four Highland schools last year where it was a hit with both staff and pupils.

Holm Primary School in Inverness have been taking part in the pilot since August 2009. head Teacher Mrs Margaret Hay said: "The Active Learning through Music programme has had huge benefits to all involved. It has been a fantastic experience for the pupils and the staff. Our teachers who previously had no particular musical expertise are now very confident in delivering a music programme. It's active, it involves everyone, including pupils with additional support needs, and the children are learning a whole range of skills which they can transfer to other areas of the curriculum. And, most importantly, it's fun for everyone involved."

Ardersier Primary also started the pilot in August 2009 and from March this year Balloch and Cauldeen school nursery pupils have also been taking part.

Whilst the programme aims to develop musical skills, research has shown that active participation in singing games has benefits far beyond developing musical skills. A child who can keep a steady beat will be a much more fluent reader. Songs and rhymes develop language skills such as vocabulary, rhyming and sentence building as well as memory skills and speech development. The active nature of the games in the programme also help to develop co-ordination, aid listening, as well as promoting self esteem and building social skills.

Active Learning through Music will be launched to 70 participants in Inverness on Saturday at Millburn Academy by Margaret Rae, Active Learning through Music Co-ordinator who, with colleagues, will be offering additional training and support to participating schools.

The Highland Council's Music Development Officer, Norman Bolton said: "Once again, Highland is leading the way by encouraging schools and nurseries to introduce this curricular material. Having been in schools where trials took place, I have seen first-hand how much the pupils love the materials and how quickly the staff gain confidence in their abilities to teach basic, but important, musical skills."

© 2010 Highland Public Services Partnership.
Project part-financed by the European Union (European Regional Development Fund) within the INTERREG IIIB Northern Periphery Programme