Music is one of those activities that parents and school tend to see as leisure, and therefore less important than subjects like math and science. However, what most people don’t know is that besides being an outlet for creativity and emotions music can help a child’s learning process and be an important ally in academic development. A school in England is a great example of that.
Feversham, a school in the city of Bradford Moore, inner-city area of Bradford in West Yorkshire, England, was faced with the challenge of improving poor academic results, low staff morale and budget issues. Instead of following the obvious route and directing more work and focus to STEM and English classes, the school decided add six hours of music per week for every student. The results so far have been incredibly positive.
- The school is in the top 10% nationally for pupil progress in reading, writing and maths.
- 74% of its kids met the nation’s reading standard, higher than the national average of 53%.
- 74% of its pupils achieved the expected standard in reading, writing and maths, compared to a national average of 53%.
- Feversham students are 7.1 points above the national average for reading and 3.4 for writing.
- Feversham students are 6.5 points above the national average for math.
- The school’s results for disadvantaged pupils are well above average.
These numbers are impressive for a private school with all the resources in the world. For Feversham, it’s nothing short of a miracle.
In addition to being located in an extremely disadvantaged and populated neighborhood, the school’s student population is made up almost entirely by children whose first language is not English, some of which are entirely unfamiliar with the language. According to Idea Pod, thirty languages are spoken at the school.
It’s not hard to understand why students at Feversham are expected to have poor performance. Nevertheless, the school has worked hard and has successfully disproved all of those expectations.
The school bases its method on the Kodály approach, which involves teaching children to learn, subconsciously at first, through playing musical games. Children learn rhythm, hand signs and movement, for example, in a way that will help their reading, writing and maths. This has brought the school attendance to a surprising 98%.
At Feversham, music is an integral part of every child’s school day. Each of them get at least two hours of music a week. As a bare minimum, each child gets a 30-minute music lesson, a half-hour follow-up lesson, plus a one-hour music assembly with a guest musician and group singing. Songs are incorporated into other classes and pupils often sing about times tables, or history.
The school is an amazing example of how music classes can aid kids in both academic and emotional development. According to The Guardian, “At its most basic, the simple act of game-playing can help children learn social skills such as eye contact and taking turns, while listening to music in an hour-long assembly helps develop their concentration in an age dominated by smartphones and tablet computers.” At Feversham, concentrating the focus on music and creativity has shown incredibly improved results among both students and staff, proving that music lessons should be a key piece of the education process.
The Kodaly approach is also taught in our Musical Bee program, in which kids learn ear, voice, instrument and reading training. If you are interested in hearing more about the Kodaly method, get in touch with us or book a tour of our school. Our Term 2 classes start on 30th of April.