At DabbledooMusic we are putting the final touches on our planning content and lessons for the new school year.
After a difficult 18 months for schools, teachers, children and parents, we are looking forward to the gradual return to normality in schools. Like everyone in the education sector, we had to improvise and adapt during the last school year and with the help of teachers across the country, we have managed to pick out some positives to help us make music more accessible, engaging, and impactful for the 2021/22 school year.
One of our positive takeaways from the school closures was the engagement from parents using our online content. In March 2020 as the schools were closing for the first time, we launched our online parents' content and made it free for all parents and teachers throughout the school closures. Over 12,000 parents enrolled in this content over the next few months and families across Ireland were able to enjoy the benefits of music in the home through specially created and curated content.
Our parents' content focuses on the more informal aspects of music education. Parents and children could choose from a huge range of musical artists and bands to learn about and listen to, including a series of family friendly DabbledooMusic radio shows discussing different musical themes with playlists of our favourite music. The content also included songs and backing tracks from our curriculum and access to our online interactive resources.
This parents' content is included with all full school subscriptions to DabbledooMusic so parents can enjoy the benefits of music with their families and help support learning in the classroom.
Homework - Music at Home
Music is a great activity to share with friends and family. Whether we are dancing to our favourite song or singing together, music is an ideal activity to combine learning and fun at home.
Following the success of our parents' content, we are adding a "homework" or “Music at Home” option for teachers this year. Any lessons throughout the year which connect to our parents' content will include links that teachers can share through the free parents' subscription. The “Music at Home” content will vary from songs and backing tracks for singing at home to special radio shows and playlists about different music topics. For instance, if the children are learning about the life and music of Stevie Wonder in the classroom, they can listen to our special Stevie Wonder radio show and playlist at home with their family.
In our yearly survey, we asked teachers what activity they most looked forward to returning to once the restrictions were lifted. 95% of teachers included singing in the classroom in their answers.
We worked closely with schools last year and, along with the advice of Dr. Luke O Neil, we found a solution to the singing restrictions in classrooms. Our advice was to minimise the time spent doing the actual singing, and to make use of school halls and outside space if possible. At the time of publishing this blog post, the Department of Education has not given any new advice or guidance in this area. We hope that they will recognise the importance of singing in the classroom, particularly with younger classes, and change their advice before the school year starts. You can read our advice HERE.
To prepare teachers and children for more singing in the near future, we have added a range of new singing tutorial videos, songs and warm-ups for each class. This series of videos is designed by a children’s choir expert and graduate of the Kodaly Institute in Hungary, Julie Shanley. We hope that singing in the classroom will make its return this year and that these new resources will help teachers and children sing in full voice once more.
Last year we developed a teacher's manual to accompany and complement our online lessons. Each of our online lessons now include a one-page summary with information designed to help teachers prepare for each musical activity. This includes details on the estimated time for the lesson, the resources required, and useful hints and tips based on our feedback from teachers.
Last year we tested the teacher's manual across all classes and our teacher survey showed that it was already proving useful in the classroom.
Music is a subject that is more important than ever after the last 18 months of disruption to children's lives. Through music we can connect with others, improve our own confidence and self esteem and have positive shared experiences with others. We hope our updates and improvements make music more accessible and fun for teachers and children alike.
If you would like to give DabbledooMusic a go this year, you can try out our free trial: