Over the last decade or so, we have seen some landmark initiatives that helped raise awareness of the importance of school-based music education. These include the ABC’s three-part documentary Don’t Stop the Music that screened in 2018, ARIA’s Music Teacher of the Year Award which commenced in 2017, and Music Australia’s own national schools program Music: Count Us In (MCUI), which started in 2007.
Well in the UK, the BBC recently launched a music education campaign for children aged 4-7, and it shares some elements in common with these programs here in Australia. Called Bring the Noise, it is intended to support primary school teachers who need help and resources to teach music classes. Its aim being to “inspire children to become musicians and see the joys of music-making”, the campaign emphasises what is easy and engaging for kids in the classroom.
Bring the Noise is essentially a website that provides a free online library of teaching songs, lesson plans and video-based guides. All the materials are designed to fit into and complement the UK’s national teaching curriculum. A key component is Play It!, which is a collection of especially commissioned and pre-recorded songs that allow students to clap along with or dance to simple rhythms. Basic rhythmic notation is taught too. There are also song lyrics, cartoon adventures and colouring sheets for younger children. None of the materials or lessons require the school to have instruments.
Bring The Noise was developed by the BBC in conjunction with a number of partners. These include the Incorporated Society of Musicians and UK Association of Music Education. A number of high profile performer-entertainers are involved, along with the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra which joins forces in the program’s national live performance in September.
There are many well-developed resources on the website that deserves a look, although none of the videos themselves are viewable outside the UK.
Teachers in Australia can meanwhile avail themselves of our own national broadcaster’s range of resources. The ABC already has more than 60 videos on its Education website that are specifically designed to support music teaching at the primary and secondary levels. They range across a wide variety of music topics including musical instruments, film music, hip hop, Indigenous music stories and even music therapy. Many are hosted by writer-composer Dan Golding, lecturer in Media and Communication at Swinburne University.
All the videos are classroom-ready and mapped to the Australian Curriculum. For school teachers who may not have taken music classes before, or who need resource support or just plain inspiration, it is an excellent place to start.
Meanwhile, Music Count Us In provides numerous resources for primary school teachers via Music Australia’s MCUI website. Register now for free access to the 2020 resources, which will be available in time for Term 3. All schools and teachers are eligible.