Wolverhampton Music School have a contract with Christ Church Junior School to provide Cello, Viola and Violin instruments and teaching. Please see below the letter that they have sent to parents about lessons in September:
R.E. Online Music Lessons
KS2 Dear Parent/ Guardian,
I am writing to you because your child’s school contracts the Music Service to deliver instrumental lessons for your child at school and your child is one of the year groups in Key Stage 2. Following advice from Public Health, the Health and Safety Team at the City of Wolverhampton Council and the updated Government guidance on returning children to school, it has become clear that the Music Service must implement the delivery of instrumental/ vocal lessons online in the first half term of the Autumn term.
Our agreed start date with schools is 21st September so this affects only 5 weeks prior to October half term. We will then review the lessons and the risk assessment at October half term. Our primary concern is to ensure that the playing of musical instruments and singing is safe to do in schools and that our peripatetic music teachers travelling between school settings do not increase the risk of transmission of COVID 19 to schools or households.
What is changing?
During the first half term, the Music Service teacher will not physically visit your child’s school. Temporarily, you will be sent a link, each week, to a 20min pre-recorded lesson with a Music Service teacher online through Google Classroom. This will be supported by a live element at another point in the week where the Music Service teacher will be available to answer any questions. This live element is optional and only needed if your child requires help or encouragement with an aspect of the Music.
What will they learn/ play in the lesson?
Your child will learn 6 group pieces. Children from across the city will also be learning these pieces on over 20 instruments. These 6 pieces have been specially chosen and arranged so that your child will be motivated to practice. We will gauge your child’s current standard and provide either an easy, medium or hard part along with a supporting video from a specialist teacher in that instrument each week. A new video is provided every week and a new piece is studied every two weeks to sustain interest and progress. Your child will be able to download the sheet music and a backing track so that they can play along as they practice. All resources and video content will be shared with you each week in your child’s google classroom so that it is in one convenient place for them.
When does the lesson take place?
Because the lesson is sent to you digitally, the lesson can take place at any time at home – outside the school day. Our approach will ensure that children do not have to bring instruments to school or miss any curriculum time to attend their lesson.
Does it cost anything?
There is no additional cost. As our online lessons are a temporary measure to ensure we can maintain provision for your child’s school, you must continue to pay any contributions for your lessons in partnership with your child’s school and the school’s terms and conditions for payment.
How do we proceed?
Should you wish for your child to retain their Music Service instrument and to take up this opportunity, please complete the online registration form by Thursday 10th September. You can access the registration form by clicking the link: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1Icr4AvHNpYhjCLyZDGu7O2rlYMqtEu8u/view
You will be required to agree to our online teaching policy and safeguarding measures which you can access through the registration form. You will receive a welcome e mail after the closing date for registration in September to acknowledge your registration.
What if we have problems that require a teacher during this time?
The Music Service is still able to receive and fix repairs and/ or replacement instruments. We can also be contacted by phone and e mail. We will work through schools to arrange for collection and drop off of instruments if required. Our teachers will also have a live element each week. This will be accessible through Microsoft teams. A link will be provided each week for you or your child to join a live teacher presentation. The teacher will demonstrate aspects of the music live and respond to any questions /queries logged in the ‘chat’.
How long will this change last?
I would like to reassure you that it is our ambition to return to normal face-to-face teaching in schools as soon as possible. We have prepared this delivery model to be used for the whole of the first term if needed. However, we will review the lessons and the risk assessment at October half term. If at this stage we are sure that we can deliver group music lessons in school safely, we will return to face to face delivery from after half term.
Is a digital lesson as good as a live lesson?
We know that face to face lessons are preferable, but we have piloted our online video teaching and it has been well received by the participants. We have had 4 months’ experience in building high quality digital video-based lessons, with almost 300 on our Youtube channel. We are sure that our new videos, linking to well-known pieces, accessed by children right across the city, will be a meaningful temporary change to the weekly lesson. Schools are supportive and understand the need to balance education with safety. In time, we will bring large groups of children together to play the pieces they have learned. This too will be part of the wellbeing agenda we have built into our own recovery curriculum within the Music Service and something your child will enjoy when the time allows.
What if I do not want to sign up for this?
If most parents do not wish to register their child for our temporary online lessons, we will not have the requirement for as many teaching staff. We therefore could not guarantee lessons and services to schools into the future. It has been a very challenging time for many organisations and the Music Service has been no exception to this. Our recovery planning has been built on the principle of returning to the high quality and affordable services that schools and families currently benefit from. We can sustain those principles with your continued support. Under normal circumstances, our group teaching model is offered to over 2000 children through schools including the loan of a musical instrument and free access to the many bands and groups at our premises in Graiseley. We offer the most affordable route for Wolverhampton families so that Music in our city reaches children in over 80 schools. I hope you will be able to support this temporary part of our recovery planning so that your child can continue to make musical progress after the long period of schools’ closure from March. We are very much looking forward to making music again.
Ciaran O’ Donnell
Head of Music Service