All children participate in weekly music classes and have lots of opportunities to join extra-curricular musical activities. In the class the children learn about all the key elements of music in a practical and creative way through singing, composing and playing a wide range of instruments from hand held percussion to keyboards and using GarageBand on the IPads.
Every child is welcome and encouraged to be a part of the choir which meets after school on Mondays. Last year we gave several public performances including Snape at the ‘Celebration of Schools Music’ where we were given a special mention. It was a thrilling experience for the children. On Tuesdays I run a music related club to encourage a wider range of children to get involved in music. These have included Keyboards, Learning to Read Music and Young Music Makers. This term we will run ‘Learning to Read Music’ in response to the ever growing number of children interested in learning to play a musical instrument. On Wednesday there are opportunities for the more advanced musicians to participate in orchestra. We currently have flutes, guitar, recorders, trumpet, keyboard and percussion. Our youngest member is only 6 but there is no upper limit as we also welcome members of staff to play with us. Last June we performed at the celebration of the Queen’s 90th Birthday event in Rougham.
On Wednesday lunchtimes there is also a recorder club which attracts many of the younger children in the school. It is an excellent place for them to begin to learn to read music and equip them with the skills they need to join the orchestra when they are ready.
In Year 4 all children learn a musical instrument (which is currently brass) as a whole class. This is taught by a specialist from the County Music Service through the ‘Wider Opportunities’ programme. Last year the children learnt trombones and baritones and 8 have chosen to continue to learn a brass instrument in year 5. We also have older children continuing with guitar lessons who benefitted from the Wider Opportunities Year 4.
Children in Years 2 and 3 also have the opportunity to be part of our String Programme run through the school. 8 children are chosen for violin in Year 2 and 8 for cello in Year 3. Last year out of 16 children learning violin or cello 7 are continuing this year and a further number of other children have been encouraged to take up a stringed instrument. We are very thankful for the funding that we have received to enable this to run free of charge to families and we are delighted to be in our second year of the programme.
As well as children who have guitar and brass lessons in school with visiting teachers there are a good number who learn an instrument out of school and these pupils are encouraged as much as any other pupil to use their instrument in class music lessons where appropriate.
Children at Rougham enjoy music and we were very proud to have our own ‘live’ orchestra for our production of the musical ‘Shakespeare Rocks’. Even the more reluctant singers were seen and heard to be singing with great enthusiasm! We hope to encourage and nurture this love as they move through the school.