The Gallions music programme has many benefits to the children who take part. Through the discipline of learning an instrument, levels of concentration significantly improve and thinking skills are enhanced. Looking after an instrument gives a child a sense of responsibility and ownership. Children gain confidence through performing and feel proud of their achievements. Learning a string instrument has many benefits for the children; huge discipline is required, concentration improved and thinking skills and coordination developed as several different areas of the brain are in use simultaneously whilst playing an instrument. We also find a marked difference in their confidence and ability to work collaboratively.
We know that our programme has a direct impact on the school careers of our leavers. Based on the demographics for Newham, the educational attainments for the pupils leaving Gallions, should be below average. However, our latest SATS for year 6 in 2019 were as follows:
- In Mathematics 87% of our children reached the expected standard (above the 79% national score). Of these children, 34% reached the higher standard
- In Reading, 80% of our children reached the expected standard (above the 73% national score). Of these children, 25% reached the higher standard.
- In Writing, 81% of our children reached the expected standard (above the 78% national score). Of these children, 28% reached the higher standard
- In Spelling, Punctuation and Grammar (SPAG), 83% of our children reached the expected standard (above the 78% national score). Of these children, 38% achieved the higher standard
- 68% of our children achieved the expected standard in Reading, Writing and This is above the national score of 65%.
Emotional Impact and Confidence
Playing together helps create empathetic team players. As the children are exposed to performances by professional musicians and have the opportunity to work alongside them, their hopes and dreams for the future grow. Children at Gallions frequently comment that music is their escape; a way of calming down when feeling stressed, unhappy or angry, and a language through which to express their emotions.
“Playing an instrument makes me feel energetic and powerful.”
Through playing an instrument, an ever-increasing number of children are able to access out-of-school schemes run by organisations including the Newham Academy of Music, London Symphony Orchestra and Academy of St Martin in the Fields, through which they perform regularly, learn new skills and make friends from across the country. Last year alone, several Gallions children received music scholarships to outstanding secondary schools, and in the past 18 months 2 young double bassists and a violinist have each won 4-year scholarships from the Mayor of London’s Fund for Young Musicians and another 2 children have been awarded places in the National Children’s Orchestra.
Whilst we cannot attribute all of this success directly to the music programme, we know that the time invested is repaid tenfold in terms of the children’s ability to concentrate, as well as their enjoyment of school. The following is a list of specific outputs from the programme in 2019-20. (2020-21 was an atypical year!)
- 546 children have begun or continued learning a stringed instrument
- 86 children have participated in the junior school orchestra
- 46 children have participated in the junior school choir
- 72 children have participated in the senior orchestra
- 64 children have participated in the senior choir
- 43 children have participated in bass attack (an ensemble for cellos and basses)
- 83 children have participated in KS1 Choir
- 46 children have received additional bursaries towards their individual instrumental lessons
- 590 children have participated in Bangla workshops as part of our Eastern Influence project
- 4 children have received musical scholarships to excellent secondary schools
- 2 children were awarded places in the National Children’s Orchestra of Great Britain
- 4 pupils received bursaries from the Mayor of London to continue their musical studies
- 320 children have participated in workshops run by professional musicians from a wide array of orchestras, jazz bands and contemporary music groups
In terms of beneficiaries, we currently have 620 pupils in the school who benefit from the programme and 3 ex-pupils who are continuing their instrumental journey thanks to support from the Gallions Music Trust.
“I never realised how much I loved my cello lessons until lockdown. I can’t wait to get started properly again!” Aleesha
Gallions Music Trust gives children from a very deprived area better life chances. They have the opportunity to enhance their academic achievements through the focus which learning a musical instrument requires. Whilst the latest academic studies back up our approach, it is the personal stories that most influence our desire to continue and expand our music programme. If we continue to inspire these children and the community around them, who knows what they will be able to achieve in life?