When I first got here I was adamant that I wanted to work around the primary schools as well as the secondary school. I certainly got my wish.
There are four primary schools on Island and I am lucky enough to deliver music sessions in each one. Across the schools I manage to cover all year groups from Kindergarden through to Grade 6.
There is a well-respected, retired musician who is employed by the Ministry of Education to deliver music education across the primary schools. However, Mr Carty will admit himself that although a good musician, he is not really a teacher. When not teaching at MSS I join Mr Carty around the primary schools providing him with training and support. I generally lead the sessions while he observes. I give some ideas and then hand over to him, observing and giving feedback and suggestions. This process is working really well and he really appreciates my help, taking everything on board and I can see that his sessions have really improved over the year. We are working on lesson content, ways of engaging the children, age appropriate activities, how to plan and structure the classes, classroom discipline etc.
I love my time in the primary schools as I get to work with an absolutely wonderful bunch of children who have so much enthusiasm for music. They love everything that I throw at them and jump at the chance to do anything creative. They are confident and always want to be leader or conductor! They have beautiful singing voices and an incredible rhythmic sense, making them an absolute pleasure to work with. With continued music education over the next few years we could be developing some wonderful musicians out of these schools – there is some clear musical talent.
Each school had a Christmas concert which I helped prepare them for and there was also a joint school concert. I was responsible for a joint school choir in which I had about 60 children in total. I picked two songs, “When I grow up” from Matilda the Musical and “Starry Night”, a Christmas song that I remember from singing in my primary school. I went around all the schools and taught the 4 choirs the songs, and had a 15 minute rehearsal with all 4 choirs together the day before the concert. This went down really well and the kids absolutely loved having the chance to sing with children from other schools. As well as accompanying all musical performances on the night I was also responsible for the MSS contribution, the choir singing Mariah Carey’s “All I want for Christmas is you” and “Lean on me”.
I feel strongly about the positive impact that music has on young children’s development and love seeing how much they enjoy making music! So I made sure to set aside time this year for working in the different nurseries on island.
During the autumn term I delivered a weekly music session at Lookout Nursery School, preparing the kids for the joint schools Christmas concert. The only instruments that this school have are three pieces of metal with Heinecken and Amstel bottle tops attached to them, making a great sound when shaken. However I have now sourced a large number of tambourines which make the children extremely happy!
Since January I have been working in Brades Nursery School and hope to also cover the other nurseries before I leave. I also hope to run a few training workshops for early years practitioners dealing with making music in nurseries. I love my job. I get to be “Auntie Becca” in Nursery, “Teacher Becky” in Primary and “Miss Chalmers” (not so keen on that one!) in MSS.