MusicFirst Lighthouse series brings together inspiring stories, aimed at capturing how institutions have implemented online learning into their curriculum using innovative technology and creative thinking. We have welcomed the below case study which has highlighted the work we do in Secondary schools.
An Innovative Initiative to Support Schools Across Lancashire – Lancashire Music Education Hub
Lancashire Music Education Hub (LMEH) brings together a diverse range of organisations to develop musical opportunities for young people. For many young people these experiences will be a vital and enriching part of their lives, helping them to progress their talents, enhance learning whilst supporting their health and wellbeing. LMEH supports the National Plan for Music Education whilst striving to make it easy for, young people, teachers, musicians, schools, and the wider community to collaborate and find great ways to make music. Music has the power to inspire and change lives and LMEH will seek to make musical learning available to all children and young people across the county.
The lead partner of LMEH is Lancashire Music Service (LMS) which is supported by core Hub partners. The purpose of LMEH is to create pathways that engage children and young people in high quality music making. The mission statement is to enable and encourage access for all Lancashire’s children to a diverse range of musical experiences which will enrich their lives and those of the communities in which they live, through innovative, sustained, and structured programmes that enable young people to realise their full potential. As part of working towards those ambitions Tim Rogers (Head of Service) and Ben Rapp (Regional Manager), part of the LMS senior management team, conceived the idea of the Secondary School Music Upgrade initiative in 2018.
Proof of concept:
All schools are part of music education hubs and 94% of Lancashire schools actively engage with LMEH. To try to support schools directly, and increase Hub engagement from secondary schools, the Music Upgrade initiative was launched with offers from LMEH partners. There were varied offers including practical music making sessions, tuition, training, resources and support. Great care was taken to ensure the sign-up process was quick and easy and now it just requires the filling out of a simple form.
Having run this initiative for a year Ben Rapp was looking for ways to further develop sign-up from schools to these offers and saw the success that Matt Allen (MusicFirst) was having from schools using the Focus on Sound Pro software, particularly from posts in the KS3 Music Teachers Facebook Group. Having met with Richard Payne (MusicFirst) we looked at adding Focus on Sound Pro to our existing package of offers in the Secondary School Music Upgrades. Having this extra option immediately had a positive effect on schools engaging with this initiative. From 2020 we added Noteflight Learn, Soundtrap for Education, AuraliaFirst and MusitionFirst. This has supported an increased engagement to 80% of Lancashire Secondary Schools although the target is 100%.
We also acted directly on feedback we received from our LMEH youth voice project called Amplify who surveyed over 400 young people around the county and ran youth voice events with nearly 120 participants. This feedback clearly tells us that young people want more access to online resources and Digital Audio Workstations (DAWs) which this partnership has aligned with.
Focus on Sound Pro has such a broad appeal; teachers regularly report back to us the endless and creative ways in which they use it. Hear from the teachers themselves:
How do I use Focus on Sound PRO?
Claire Brook, Head of Music Moor Park High School and Sixth Form:
- Homework tool
- Classroom teaching aid
- On the spot tests
- Microsoft Teams lesson sharing
- Musical handbook
Favourite feature: Shared Content – new ideas and lessons from other Focus on Sound Pro users, a new network at the click of a button.
“Focus on Sound Pro is an extremely useful tool and resource to support the delivery of my curriculum, and to assist with closing the gaps. If you haven’t already got it, I highly recommend you invest!”
Emma Lamb, Lancaster Royal Grammar School:
- Curriculum design
- GCSE exam practice
- Collaborative learning
- Practical composition
- Cover Lessons
Favourite Feature: Composition lessons covering all ability ranges from Year 7 to 6th form.
“Focus on Sound has been an integral part of our curriculum delivery and opens our students’ ears to a wide variety of music, fully supporting the cultural development and broadening their horizons”
“The feedback from schools using any of the MusicFirst packages has been wholly positive. The support and communications from Richard and Matt have been second to none and schools have really benefitted from our partnership working. This was even more of benefit during the pandemic when pupils could access high quality resources from home, with teachers able to set work for pupils to access on the cloud easily, via Focus on Sound Pro. I thoroughly recommend MusicFirst to any Music Education Hubs around the country.”
Ben Rapp, Regional Manager – Lancashire Music Service