Why does music education matter?
📷: Mossbourne students celebrating completing our music education programme; by Kate Green Photography
It’s been a super busy Spring term taking our music and arts education programme to four new schools in London and Birmingham. I caught up with Alex Lee, Vice Principal of Mossbourne Parkside Academy in Hackney, to reflect on the difference it’s made to their young people …
Jennie: It’s been awesome working with you this term! Can you tell us about why you choose the Abram Wilson Foundation?
Alex: Our secondary school, Mossbourne Community Academy, had previously worked with you [on Future Sound] and been thoroughly impressed with the impact for their children. One of their music teachers contacted me – he spoke highly of the creativity and personal confidence that the Achieve Your Greatness programme had catalysed within the group at MCA, and felt that it might be beneficial for some of our children in a lower age bracket.
Jennie: And what do you think are the benefits of including music in a child’s education?
Alex: We believe strongly that creativity and opportunities in the arts are an essential component of any child’s learning journey. Through music in particular, children are given a vehicle for positive self-expression and the immersive enjoyment of a new skill. The eclectic range of the musical spectrum means that all children can find a genre, instrument or style that suits them personally, and take pride in expanding and extending their knowledge and skills across this spectrum. This is to say nothing of the extraneous positives of a musical education; the ingrained opportunities for movement and dexterity, the platforms it provides to develop self-esteem and identity, and of course the all-important fun and joy that so many children find in creating music for themselves.
Jennie: Absolutely! What did you particularly like about the workshops?
Alex: The programme was exceptional all-round, but there were two elements of the workshops that I was particularly impressed with. Firstly the quality of the workshop leaders and mentors; their own musical talent was evidently prodigious (much to the children’s awe), but more than that – I found them to be both inspiring and kind. They guided the children in valuable, meaningful activities while simultaneously showing the infectious enthusiasm that made the workshops so popular for our children. Secondly, I thought the active nature of the workshops was well suited to our children and I was struck by the way the workshop leaders tailored the activities to suit our children’s needs and learning styles.
Jennie: Thank you! What difference has the programme made for the young people at Mossbourne?
Alex: Many of the children who participated have shown a marked increase in their confidence in class and their willingness to speak their mind. We have found that many of the participants have a higher opinion of themselves and are more resistant to adversity in their day-to-day experiences. Unsurprisingly, all the children who participated are now considerably more interested in music and the dramatic arts than they were – it’s been wonderful to see them take this passion and inspire their friends and teachers.
Jennie: That’s amazing to hear! Finally, are there any particular challenges that the young people faced with which the workshops have especially helped?
Alex: Confidence. This has certainly been the most notable; some of our children were very reluctant to speak in class or to actively make new friends and the workshops have helped many of them to find their voice and enjoy speaking in front of others. We’d very much like to host the AWF again to continue this work, in fact.
Jennie: I’m so proud to hear about that impact across the young people’s school life. And we’d love to!