This is a national project started by Brendan Le Page in conjunction with Croydon Music Service. It combines the American Band tuition and the British specialist instrumental teaching to create a year long key stage 2 class music project for year 5. The Sound Start project is promoted by the government and by offsted as one of the widening opportunities. There are three Sound Start projects up and running, wind band, brass band and string orchestra. Each project involves three members of staff, a brass and woodwind specialist who work along side the class teacher.
Each project involved one class of year five children and each child learns to play a woodwind, brass or percussion instrument within a band context. The project is based around the national curriculum for year 5 (key stage 2) therefore it involves reading simple notation and rhythms, singing, composition, musical form, harmony and dynamics.
The project culminates in a concert at the end of the school year. The children perform the band pieces and songs they have learnt during the course along with their own compositions.
Due to the nature of teaching the whole class together, the students learn to play notes by using numbers. The emphasis is not placed on how many notes they can learn, but to cover the curriculum in a fun and informative way with the outcome of being to play an instrument a bonus. The pupils may only be able to play 6 notes however they will be able to play their instrument using the correct posture, embouchure, intonation and will be able to care for their instrument accordingly.
At the end of the project children may wish to continue their instrument lessons with the woodwind brass or percussion tutor at the school in small groups.
This project can help to get children who wouldn’t have otherwise been given the chance to have a go at learning a musical instrument. It really is amazing to see the results and outcomes of this project.