…the children have got such a vibe out of it… they’ve [learned] something that we never could have done otherwise.
In Tune was a project in partnership with four of West Yorkshire’s Music Education Hubs: Bradford, Calderdale, Kirklees and Wakefield.
Working in one primary school in each Hub area, the project offered high quality music making to children and young people, giving them wide-ranging musical opportunities and choices. The children took part in:
- – learning music technology
- – singing
- – learning instruments
- – playing in ensembles and choirs
- – trying music theatre
- – creating and designing their own music
- – composing soundscapes
At the same time, the partners learned how to make music more creative and engaging, and how to make the best use of the traditional, modern and cutting edge – in music, in instruments, equipment and software.
…before it started… we were told that the teachers also had to learn the instruments (as well as the children), and we had violin, ukulele, the samba drums… and I thought ‘violin’?! But the thing is, that’s what I’ve loved most, from a personal perspective. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed learning how to play the violin.
Christine Muirhead, St Helen’s in Hemsworth
Our In Tune project is currently working in four primary schools across West Yorkshire, all selected for the project because they had an Ofsted grade of ‘Requires Improvement’.
We don’t often blow our own trumpets here at YY&M, but we’re very pleased that two of the four schools have recently had Ofsted inspections, and both have been raised to ‘Good’. In one inspection, music was specifically mentioned as an excellent feature of school life.
Trumpets are a feature in three of the In Tune schools, but the projects aren’t confined to traditional orchestral instruments. There are photos to the left of an iPad workshop; a little while ago if you were playing on an iPad you were playing on your own, even if you were sitting next to someone. Now we can link the iPads together (using ‘Link’ from Ableton… but there is other software / are other apps). Link keeps devices in time – so our iPad players can use different sounds, effects and instruments all together.
The In Tune project contingent in Wakefield has been making waves this month. At Wakefield Music Services Hubalaboo! Concert at Wakefield Theatre Royal last week, the pupils from St Helens in Hemsworth showed their singing, song-writing, iPad and instrumental skills in a performance of a song they wrote together with their In Tune music leaders.
Sam Dunkley, one of Yorkshire’s finest community musicians, has visited all four schools for a songwriting project; children have been working in small groups over several weeks to create new songs together. They generated ideas for the subjects of their songs, and worked on the lyrics. They’ve learned about hooks, verses, choruses, and the structure of lyric-writing and melodies with Sam.
Each school will perform two of their songs at the In Tune celebration concert at Huddersfield Town Hall on 18th July (see July 2017 update).
Two of the participating schools, St Helens in Hemsworth and St Michael’s in Shelf, came together for the day at the National Coalmining Museum in Wakefield, going underground to find out about coal mining through the ages, and taking part in a music workshop on a mining and underground themes.
At Fearnville, children created their own sound tracks to go with an advert as part of their iPad project, and the children at Ashbrow school did a short concert for parents which featured brass playing to James Brown!
July 2017: An In Tune Celebration!
In Tune Celebration
Tuesday 18th July 2017
Huddersfield Town Hall
Please have a look at the video above for a few snippets of what the children learned and achieved together as part of the project. You can also find a longer version of the highlights video on Vimeo via the following link: https://vimeo.com/236742422
On Tuesday 18th July, the four schools taking part in our In Tune project came together for a special event to showcase their new skills to each other and to an audience of their parents, families, teachers, friends, Music Education hub leaders and some special guests (including YY&M board members).
After a fantastic set of on stage rehearsals from around 2pm, the event was kicked started by the ever amazing Sam Dunkley, returning to the In Tune project to compere our evening event. Each school sang songs written by the pupils themselves, alongside performing en masse with a series of instrumental numbers.
Our highlights (as well as the fantastic moments captured in the footage above) include a horde of trombonists with their rendition of James Brown’s ‘I feel Good’, a stirring, brass-accompanied rendition of ‘Valerie’ by the Zutons, a brand new song with a middle eight inpsired by the music from the film, ‘Jaws’, a specially crafted theme song for the In Tune project, and, of course, a brilliant performance by visiting artist Testament, who led all four schools (pupils and teachers alike) in a massive beatboxing bonanza to finish.
As well as showcasing the skills of the children on the project in a celebratory event taking place in a fantastically inspiring location, we also took the opportunity to interview the teachers and musicians working in each school to find out what In Tune has done for the children and the teachers themselves. On top of their obvious improvement musically, the project has had a positive effect on participation in other school subjects, particularly with children displaying more willingness and confidence to try new things and actively engage in both discussion and activity. Music is pervading to other areas of school life, with beatboxing happening in the playgrounds, and teachers have gained the confidence to lead singing and music making on their own (as well as learning a new instrument). Finally, an improvement in the overall confidence of the children has been noted by teachers from all four schools.
There has been an overwhelmingly positive response to the project from everyone we spoke with, and we would like to thank each of the schools for hosting us, and each of the Music Education Hub Leads for putting their full support behind the project. Many thanks also to the Arts Council for supporting In Tune.
…some of the children have changed – for instance, yesterday, year 6 did a leaver’s production, and they did a full musical production, which contained about sixteen songs, and I feel they wouldn’t have managed that had they not had the singing that they’ve had [as part of In Tune].
Christine Muirhead, St Helen’s in Hemsworth
We do a singing assembly in the mornings… and children used to be really apprehensive and shy, and would murmur or lip read the words. [They] wouldn’t necessarily sing, and the boys (in particular in years 5 and 6) would giggle… Now [they are] more confident with their own voices [and] don’t find it as childish or silly. It is now more something to take part in.
…for my class in particular… learning barriers have come down a little bit, so they’re coming out of their comfort zone. [The children are] a bit more prepared to give the wrong answer and sound silly, because they’ve already done that in music [as part of the In Tune project].
…the children have got such a vibe out of it, from the rapper Testament, to using iPads, to using instruments that teachers, including myself, aren’t really knowledgeable enough to introduce into lessons… so they’ve got something that we never could have done otherwise.
Chris Wickett, Fearnville in Bradford
We post further updates and a case study soon.