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Marshland High School

WNAT schools in tune for World Music Day

Our pupils joined others from across the West Norfolk Academies Trust to celebrate World Music Day this year, with a host of tuneful activities taking place, from musical performances to quizzes.

All 11 WNAT member schools marked the annual occasion which was first introduced in France in 1982, before spreading to over 120 countries across the globe, from Africa to Asia and the Americas.

“In many schools across the country, Music has been degraded to the point where, unbelievably, a recent survey showed that 16 per cent of state secondary schools were teaching Music for less that one hour a week, with a further five per cent having Music on a ‘carousel’, meaning that Music is taught for only part of the year,” said Robin Norman, who is Director of Music at the Trust. “Two per cent even admitted that they were not teaching it at all.”

“However, at the West Norfolk Academies Trust, the opposite is true,” he continued. “Music is a key part of our curriculum for all years from Reception through to Sixth Form, even to the extent that, across the Trust, our Music Departments use the motto Ubi Res Musica (‘Where Music Matters’).

“We currently give over 700 instrumental singing or instrumental lessons per week across our schools, in addition to our regular classroom lessons and our outstanding musical extra-curricular opportunities.

“That is why World Music Day matters to us.”

WNAT schools participating in World Music Day included the Trust’s four high schools – Marshland, Smithdon, Springwood, and St Clement’s – as well as its primary schools: Clenchwarton, Gaywood, Heacham Infant, Heacham Junior, Snettisham, Walpole Cross Keys, and West Lynn.

Among the varied events taking place were ‘pop-up’ breaktime and lunchtime performances in unexpected locations, such as in the Springwood dining hall; singing of the official World Music Day anthem; tutor time music quizzes testing knowledge of different styles of music and their cultural importance; teachers and form tutors sharing their ‘favourite music’ with pupils; ‘appropriate’ music played for different subjects in secondary school lessons; and the screening of short films showcasing music from around the world.

“At Marshland, all lessons featured a piece of music that was relevant to the subject,” explained Sarah Swinburn, who is Assistant Head Teacher Key Stage 3 at the school. “The song suggestions were given to staff by Kevin Bell, Music Teacher, but staff could also use another piece if they found a better fit for their class, subject or current topic. The music was played either as a starter or at the end of lesson, and for students to answer or reflect on the piece of music.

“Mr Bell said he enjoyed finding songs associated with subjects and hoped everyone enjoyed coming together and the students talking about music on World Music Day to celebrate.”

“Music Departments across the West Norfolk Academies Trust have the motto Ubi Res Musica to show the importance of Music to us as a subject, so it is only natural that we recognise this day in the calendar as a global celebration of Music and how it has the ability to bring countries, and cultures, together,” added Mr Norman.

“Of course, this is in addition to all the regular music that happens across our Trust every day.”