What does your current job involve?
I'm currently a Music Specialist Teacher at primary level teaching music in Early Years, Key Stage 1 and 2. I have a BA Honours in Music from Liverpool University and a PGCE with QTS from Warwick.
I teach curriculum music to all children in the school, lead the singing assemblies, lead extra curriculum groups - choir, keyboards, guitars, recorders, drums, working with Gifted & Talented children on specific instruments, raising the profile of music within the school and the wider community. I also organise after school performances with the Coventry Performing Arts Service, Armonico Consort Academy and Young Voices and take children to perform at national venues like Birmingham Symphony Hall, Barclaycard Arena, Warwick Arts Centre, Belgrade Theatre and the Albany Theatre.
Since starting this current role I have developed the music curriculum across the whole school, adapting it to include our thematic curriculum where possible. I have started a choir, lunchtime recorder club, after school keyboard club, Gifted & Talented drum and guitar groups and I run any special projects that become available from the Performing Arts Service, AC Academy and Music Mark.
What led you to this career?
I have always wanted to use my musical skills in my job, so teaching seemed the easiest way to do this. I began teaching for Stagecoach Theatre Arts as a singing coach and started my PGCE at Warwick shortly after that as I wanted to go into primary education. I started as a class teacher teaching all subjects and took on the role of music co-ordinator during my NQT year. As I took on more music commitments I found that I wanted to spend more time teaching music than the other subjects as many teachers at primary level struggle to teach it and don't feel confident teaching it. I also continued to teach and lead musical events in my spare time, so I gained satisfaction and skills from those activities which I then put into my teaching. After two and a half years at my first primary school I then went into the prison service and taught music and drama at a secure training centre with children aged from 13-18. This was a very challenging job in many ways, but very rewarding as there were many children who were very strong in creative subjects like music and drama. I then went back into mainstream education and teaching primary music at a prep school in Warwick which then gave me the chance to develop my music teaching skills at primary level from ages 3-11.
What's the best thing about teaching?
Last year one of the Year 6 pupils from our specialist autism unit got up on stage and performed all the songs from his Year 6 production with his class, which he hadn't done in any of the rehearsals. Also just before Christmas I took some children to sing carols at a day care centre and just to see the faces of the audience and hear how beautifully the children sang - that's why I do my job.
The best moments are when you see children singing and playing instruments with confidence, smiling and totally lost in the activity and then you know you've transferred your love of the subject to them. This happens when we perform musicals at school, or put on a concert, or the children performing one of their classroom projects in an assembly to parents. I think primary music is special because you are planting a seed that might not ever develop and grow unless people in a child's family have a musical background.