One way in which I try to achieve the Full Pitcher aim of widening music access is by supporting non-specialist teachers through resources made available on the website. This includes online playback of all the music, simple software to deliver my own teaching materials and activities, tried and tested over a long career teaching a wide range of ages and abilities (my avatar photo has been around for a while! ), classroom projects, creative activities for children, songs to share
Online playback enables teachers, unable to read music or play an instrument, to learn new repertoire. Where they are able to access the internet in the classroom, they can explore the online activities with pupils and use the playback as accompaniments. The website is available worldwide, 24/7, and this is particularly helpful where teachers are working in isolated or poorly resourced settings. The music is available as pdf downloads, of which a significant proportion are free. If the music is too high, too low, or needed notated for a different instrument, I am happy to respond to requests for adaptation.
GridPlay is a non-editable version of MIDIgrid, a remarkable piece of authoring software, which I have used to support my own teaching, from pre-school to adult education and with all abilities. GridPlay Level 1 (3-7) Level 2 (8+) and Carers/Teachers (severe special needs) are not prepackaged lesson plans, suitable only for one situation, on one occasion. Rather they are ‘tool boxes’ of repertoire, virtual instruments and activities which have resourced my own teaching and which I now make available to others.
As I have done all the work ‘behind the scenes’, it is not necessary to have any special knowledge of computers or music to get ‘hands on’ with the software although, of course, some musical experience can enable wider application. Nor are these intended just for use seated around the computer, although they can be used in that way. The accompanying e-books suggest how each activity can be carried out away from the computer and integrated with singing and acoustic instruments. The latter is the preferred way of using the resources. GridPlay Creative Explorations Level 1 and Level 2 comprise virtual instruments, lyrics of songs, some with sheet music and all with backing tracks, teacher notes suggesting individual and class activities for each grid.
Songs and Activities
There are numerous songs for which lyrics and playback are provided online,often associated with free PDF free downloads. These songs, located on the Seasonal and Kids’ Pages of the website, are all accompanied by simple creative activities.
The “Creative Classroom” projects pages cover all key stages. There are also teacher notes for non-specialist teachers with copious suggestions for using the Easy/Classrooms Ensembles as a basis for improvisation.