Identification of Pupils
Identifying pupils for instrumental / vocal lessonsTuition on an instrument is not possible for every child who wants it.
To try and ensure equal access, the Birmingham Schools Music Service recommends that, wherever possible, half a term is spent working with unselected groups of children. In primary schools, this may mean whole classes. In secondary school it is harder to reach every child, and each school will find its own way to widen access as far as possible. This extended process of recruitment can itself be a solution to the "numbers game", providing a broad benefit to large numbers of children that schools look for in their instrumental teaching.
The Music Service aims to recruit pupils from across the whole range of ability and interest, gender, ethnic and social backgrounds. The choice of pupils is a matter for the school, as much as for Music Service staff. Working in partnership with the Music Service, each school will establish its own principles for arriving at a final choice.
When a group of children is finally selected to start instrumental / vocal lessons, school staff, parents and Music Service staff need to agree on what the aims are for each child within the group. Is this a musically gifted child, from whom we might expect rapid progress, or has the child been chosen for the personal benefit that working in a small group can bring, with only average musical potential? With these goals clearly established, a carefully planned induction period can begin.
The child and parents need support and contact with the instrumental / vocal teacher, as they learn what it means to take care of a fragile instrument, to practise effectively, and so on. At the same time the instrumental / vocal teacher needs to support pupils, by building close links with the classroom music curriculum and the programme of public performances in the school.
To summarise, the complete process involves:
An "open access" period, including:
- communication (through the school) with all parents of pupils in the target group;
- decisions on recruitment, taken jointly with the school staff;
- communication (through the school) with parents of children recruited.
- regular contact between instrumental teacher and class teacher, class teacher and parents.
- continued tuition for a smaller group of pupils identified as requiring special support;
- continuing monitoring and reporting on pupils' progress;
- on-going pupil participation in performance opportunities such as assemblies, concerts etc.