Girls playing brass instruments

Play-It!  offers ten weeks of  whole class instrumental lessons for KS2 led by a specialist tutor.

John Bunyan Primary School in Braintree have enjoyed Play-It! and Play-It!Again led by John Malam, one of our specialist Brass tutors. Here is how the workshops have helped the children.

“At John Bunyan, we have always had the whole class instrumental learning that Essex Music Services have provided, which is a provision that has now been rebranded Play-It! Three years ago, with support from the service, we decided to change the instruments that were used within the delivery in our school and opted to have a term of brass tuition instead.

We provided the first term of brass lessons to our year 5 children and it was an immediate success. The children really engaged with the tutor and even children who had not previously shown enthusiasm were asking when the next lesson would be held. After one term the children asked that we carried on the lessons.

We were able to engage the music tutor for a second term and the progress of our children was far greater than in the first term, and their levels of enjoyment rose, along with their pride in their achievements.

Following the second term of learning a performance for parents was held. For the performance, our school hall was packed with almost every child performing being represented by an attending adult. Our children were so proud to share their work, and the response from all who attended was also extremely positive – they had a great time together.

Since then our children have showcased their work at various venues in the community and we have now extended brass lessons into year 6 so that by the time our children leave they will have had two years of brass tuition. We hope that many will continue playing in the future, that they are able to build on their skills and continue to enjoy the pleasure they have found in playing an instrument.

 The lessons we have taken from adapting our instrumental learning are: 

  1. To consider the instrument that you select to use for whole class instrumental learning – sometimes making a change here really excites students.
  2. Work with Essex Music Services who can provide access to instruments and one of their specialist tutors to deliver this work.
  3. Provide children with more than a terms learning – in that time they have just about got to grips with making a decent sound with the instrument, and the second term is vital to give them the time to truly have success on their instrument.
  4. Music is a great way to engage with the wider community within your school – everyone visiting had a great time.
  5. With the new Ofsted framework, make sure there is opportunities for students to continue their learning throughout their time in school.

Play-It! can be extended past the initial ten week sessions to further term(s) and becomes Play-It! Again.  Play-It! was formerly known as First Access.