Improving transition for students as they move from primary to secondary schools has been on the agenda for schools, music services and local authorities for some time. Music Service leaders, in particular, have a significant brokering role in support of partnership working with their schools and other music organisations in their localities.
There are many approaches and solutions to address transition at varying stages of a young person’s music making journey, all set within their local context. One approach is the Musical Bridges programme which, originally funded by the Paul Hamlyn Foundation, undertook important and in many respects, ground breaking work involving music teachers, Headteachers and music service leaders over a period of four years.
Paul Hamlyn Foundation chose Music Mark as the new home of the Musical Bridges programme legacy website at the beginning of this academic year. The programme continues to provide colleagues with resources, ideas, case studies as well as a comprehensive programme of transition activity which includes advice about setting up your own programme. Also included are four individual modules, largely developed from working in close collaboration with teachers in their classrooms, which provide advice and suggestions for developing a shared approach to musical learning, setting up transition teams including senior leaders and ideas for ensuring sustainable music transition.
In February 2014 York Consulting under took a survey of Music Services/Music Education Hubs on behalf of Paul Hamlyn and the Musical Bridges programme. The results of this confirmed that 57% of respondents considered transition as a priority and a further 39% considered it as an emerging priority which suggests that we have probably ‘made the case’ for transition, recognising that music making is an appropriate curriculum area for schools to begin to develop cross-phase dialogue.
The Musical Bridges website includes a number of illuminating case studies which highlight work that is currently going on in schools and music education hubs, examples of research undertaken on behalf of the programme and a number of standalone, resources, all of which are free and downloadable.
Leonora Davies – Freelance music education consultant
This month’s ReadThis offers recommendations and case studies that present successful transition outcomes at various stages of the musical journey. Read how:
East Riding continued to develop the provision for transition two year since winning a Musical Bridges Award
To utilise the available Musical Bridges resources from the legacy website
A research project uncovered teaching strategies to support transition from informal to formal learning;
Charanga partnered with a school in Lancashire to devise a Music Transition Programme;
Iggy Pop inspired a set of transition materials at Musical Futures;
Hampshire Music Service delivered a successful transition project with a music therapy company to help vulnerable children going in to reception.
East Riding Transition Project - Update Spring 2015
The ‘Hornsea Transition Programme’, one of the initial pilot Musical Bridges Programmes, won the 2013 Music in Transition Award. Over the past two year East Riding have continued to develop and expand the provision for transition based upon the original programme.Read more >>
Music Makers: A pilot transition project run collaboratively between Key Changes Music Therapy and Hampshire Music Service
Hampshire Music Service partnered with a music therapy company in 2014 to use music to smooth transition for vulnerable children going in to reception. Music Makers was a 12-week pilot transition project with Bordon Infant School and Cherrywood Community Primary School and involved weekly 90 minute music making sessions with children and their parents. By the second half-term, parents were no longer involved in the sessions but children could bring a friend to join them to share the experience. The sessions were also reduced to an hour and involved less free play to reflect the experience of primary school. Bordon Infant School Headteacher Matt Greenhalgh shares his thoughts on the project in the foreword of the evaluation report. Read more >>
Music teaching strategies that support transition from informal to formal learning
Music education hubs, tasked with rethinking the way music education in England is delivered for 5-18 year-olds, both in and out of school, has further contributed to a joined up approach locally.Schools, music services, arts organisations, youth services and higher and further education providers are increasingly working together to deliver shared outcomes for young people; an opportunity to sing and learn a musical instrument, to progress to the next level, and play with other children as part of an ensemble or choir. Read more >>>
Musical Bridges resource: The Five Tracks
These especially commissioned pieces from Paul Christmas include downloadable MP3 audio tracks and sheet music - a Beginner score and an Intermediate score - examples of improvisation and question and answer activities. Using an aural approach, you will support not only your students’ musical engagement and learning but also their personal and social needs. Read more >>
Musical Bridges resource: an online Assessment Tool and the Self Evaluation Framework
The importance and relevance of these two resources are underpinned by The Five Bridges of Transition – a generic research framework (Galton et al 1999). The notion of five ‘transition bridges’ covers key areas of practice through which schools can ensure effective transition for pupils. This framework was then used to devise a self-evaluation template (consultants Mouchel Parkman). This self-evaluation framework is generic – relevant at a whole school level, across the curriculum. It can be used to evaluate current practice or to help identify and plan for ways in which transition practice can be enhanced. Read more >>
Charanga Musical School and Transition: a case study
Charanga Musical School is a digital resource that includes a full Scheme of Work (from Reception to Year 6) supporting, enabling and upskilling specialist and non-specialist teachers to deliver the National Curriculum for Music. Charanga worked with a school in Lancashire to devise a Music Transition Programme using the resource – and this short report presents the results. Read more >>
Musical Futures Transition Project with Iggy Pop
Musical Futures offers a suite of educational materials to help the transition between primary and secondary school. Based on Iggy Pop's 1977 song The Passenger, the project began as a pilot to see the impact using a piece of music could have in supporting young people transitioning from KS2 to KS3. Materials are now available as a downloadable resource pack on the Musical Futures website, containing audio, visual and written materials for a wide range of musical instruments. They’re designed to be usable for all teachers, from non-specialist primary staff to secondary school heads of music. Download the resource pack here.
Next month's ReadThis will be focusing on Music Technology; if you have any related projects, resources, events or case studies you would like to feature, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org by 15th May.