Henley Review of Music Education – Explore the role of technology in increasing instrumental skills in the curriculum

Learning with the aide of online lessons and interactive drum kit from Yamaha

At this years British Education Teaching with Technology conference, Ian Wright presented a 30 minute seminar on his use of technology for music. He wanted to help students’ engage more fully with the music curriculum, learn a musical instrument and succeed at music.

You can view the video here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lfe5Bguwwrc

We have transcribed the contents below.

Ian says, “Let’s imagine that you are bit nervous and you are; in a big class and you have been to primary school and sung in assemblies and then you come along in year 7 and start at your high school. You have one hour a week and you are expecting, as a music teacher, for your students to take an option of going on to Key Stage 4 in music. So what skill have you given them? What confidence have you given them, to enable them to make that decision and take that choice?

So, I was looking at package that would help the students; follow their progress, help them develop a sense of their independence, in their learning, give them responsibility for their progress, as well as give them the skills they would need to go on to KS4 and succeed.

Most childrens’ experiences are limited to, perhaps, not always, but perhaps, a bit of keyboard work, or, a bit of samba drumming. I wanted something more than that though, which would give them skills to step outside of the classroom and keep going.

Students don’t use Gigajam all the time, please do not misunderstand me, we do, do; the Samba, we do the singing, the composition, all these other great things. This is one part of the curriculum that we offer within Key Stage 3. But, what’s different about this is we are pushing them to develop instrumental skills that they might not otherwise have. Giving them an opportunity to perform with their friends as a band, not just in the classroom, but breaktime, lunch time, after school, in the youth centre and so on.”

“I am Ian Wright, Head of Music at Tiverton High School in Devon. Its a high school of 1300 pupils 11-16 and we started using Gigajam around 4-5 years ago. At that time we had very few children learning a musical instrument and I was very aware that there was a large number of children that were not engaging with the curriclum. They weren’t really succeeding in music and I wanted to find a way to support every child in the classroom, find a way that we could help these children engage with the curriculum and help these children learn a musical instrument, so we looked to technology and found Gigajam and started to embrace Gigajam.

To know more about how Gigajam integrates with Ian’s approach at Tiverton High School, please watch this video of Gigajam in Action


Read Futurelab’s case study with Ian Wright – ‘Music for all at Tiverton” Merlin John


Tiverton students perform a rearranged version of Gigajam’s “The First Time”, now called Valentine Rock. (This is a Level One piece = Grade 3 – Level One NQF)


For more information contact:

Brian Greene

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