In Harmony Spring Term Reflections
By Jo Montgomery
It has been a memorable term in Hawthorn Primary, with lots of exciting musical events such as performances at Sage Gateshead, Royal Northern Sinfonia visits and much more. But what stands out the most to me is the progress that the children have made over this term. Learning a stringed instrument is a marathon of concentration. String instruments are the least immediately accessible instruments to learn and yet the students at Hawthorn have made outstanding progress.
The year 2 group that I teach have out-performed and out-progressed a similar group of year 2s that I teach at Sage Gateshead on Saturday mornings (who have been playing for the same amount of time). That’s really impressive as these guys have no practise time at home and yet they are playing better than a group of kids who have loads of parental support and help to practice. It’s great to watch, they now ask to play harder and harder music, they seem to love a challenge and I’m happy to provide it! I’m very excited about what is coming next for the year 2s and watching them continue to play beautifully and make music is what makes it all worthwhile to me.
Year 1’s have also progressed really well over this term, coming from a starting point of not being able to clap the beat in September they are now playing open strings rhythmically and harmonics and managing it really well. It is great to see the satisfaction they get from achieving what they have worked on. Year ones are now more focussed and concentrating well in their lessons too, great to see.
I have enjoyed working with the Intermediate violins and violas in sectionals this term, we’ve had some fun music making sessions and musicianship games are what gets them really engaged. I’ve tried to break up the note bashing with fun stuff; singing, musicianship and occasional dances are really good for that. I have been noticing how much the children’s concentration levels improve over the term, it’s incredible how much more they can take in, but you can also see how it goes backwards after a holiday, for instance after half term it was so much harder to get them focussed in the same way.
Over all I am very proud of what the children have achieved this term.