The early chapters in the book devote much space to the lack of singing that characterises many schools, a frequent theme of criticism from OFSTED.
It may be that there is little or no singing because vital concepts such as audiation are not understood by school managements who, with some justification, see little value in “just singing”.
Undoubtedly, though, both teachers and pupils often find difficulty in overcoming their inhibitions about singing. Singing anxiety is a key theme that crops up in several chapters. Here are two extracts to ponder. The first concerns teachers’ anxiety, the second pupils’
P 156 A subtle revelation of a teacher’s own anxiety;
pp.55-56 Students in a state school with outstanding singing give their opinions on TV Talent shows.
I gave this lecture A Friday afternoon singing with Y8: what’s not to like? to PGCE music students at my own university. It pulled few punches about the damage that is done by TV Talent shows and there was no dissent from students encouraged to think critically about the consequences of music lessons based upon the entertainment value of humiliation.
I visited one of the “good practice” schools surveyed in the book to film what I regard as the antidote to singing anxiety
Hello Y7, it’s what we do here . . .
JUST GET ON WITH IT!
This is a Y7 class where there is strong leadership of singing. Purposeful music making begins at once. There is no procrastination and consequently, little opportunity for the pupils to develop anxiety. The children were asked to give their honest reflections on whether singing was enjoyable or made them anxious.