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Creating an inclusive musical community

The musical community needs to be inclusive of everyone. That includes you! Consider the following scenarios:

  1. In the weekly singing assembly led by Ms Williams, the teachers and teaching assistants sit on chairs at the end of the rows surveying the behaviour of their class but do not join in with or react to the singing.
  2. In the whole-class instrumental lesson led by a teacher from the music service, the headteacher, class teacher and teaching assistant are all joining in, learning the violin alongside the pupils.
  3. One of the teachers persuades all the staff in the school ‒ including the teachers, teaching assistants, cleaners, caretaker, headteacher, cook and midday meals supervisors ‒ to record a Christmas song and video of them singing, playing or miming instruments and wearing silly hats to share in the final assembly of the term.

In examples 2 and 3, the staff are part of the musical community in the school. In example 1, which is all-too-often the case, the staff in the school model behaviours suggesting that music isn’t for everyone. This is detrimental.

Music is for everyone. Where the class teacher does not teach any music at all to their class and leaves it entirely to a ‘specialist’ teacher, it perpetuates an incorrect assumption that music is only for ‘special people’ and can only be taught, and therefore learnt, by ‘special people’. This must be challenged and the only really effective way to do this is to throw yourself into the musical community and expect others who work in your classroom to do the same.