Ofsted today released a report criticising the lack of music making in school music lessons.
According to inspectors too often writing and reading work takes precedence over practical activities, with music technology under utilised across the country.
Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector, Sir Michael Wilshaw launched the report, stating:
“Inspectors looking at music teaching in nearly 200 schools saw quality ranging from outstandingly good to extremely poor. Too often, inspectors simply did not see enough music in music lessons.
Too much use was made of non-musical activities such as writing without any reference to musical sound. Too much time was spent talking about tasks without teachers actually demonstrating what was required musically, or allowing the pupils to get on with their music making. Assessment was often inaccurate, over-complex or unmusical, particularly in secondary schools. All this limited time for practical music, detracts from pupils’ musical improvement and enjoyment.”
To accompany their findings, Ofsted offered a number of recommendations for schools currently falling below the expected standard.
The report recommends schools focus on giving more time for developing aural awareness and musical understanding, and ensuring that pupils’ practical skills, creativity and understanding of music are given priority.
Issues of sustained participation and musical achievement of specific groups of pupils more inclined to struggle or become disinterested are also highlight in the report.
Inspectors highlighted entire lessons where teachers did not play or sing a single note as particularly bad examples of poor practice.
“In one lesson students sat passively while the teacher spent almost 20 minutes explaining complicated assessment objectives. One Year 9 class completed the copying of information about the lives of Eric Clapton and Johnny Cash but did not engage in musical activity.”
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