Working with children at Hackney New Primary School

In October, Katie and Alice visited Hackney New Primary School to work with children from reception and year 1 classes. The children and staff have just moved into their new building which was under construction during the past two years whilst the school were in temporary accommodation.

Children in the Hackney New Primary School playground

Hackney New Primary School are a unique school who put music at the core of their curriculum for all children, starting in reception at ages 4-5 years. 

KS1 student during a music class

Alice and Katie have been asked to evaluate the impact that the daily music training is having on the children’s development across the primary years.
During this months visit, the team began this work by piloting two different aspects of evaluation: understanding the musical curricular and working on new ways of measuring children’s musical skills between ages 4-6 years.

A year 1 student with his violin

This research will continue over the coming years. Updates and findings will be published here – please sign up to our newsletter to keep up-to-date!

SMPC conference in New York

In August, I travelled to the US for the Society for Music Perception and Cognition (SMPC) conference at New York University.

The conference featured lots of the latest research happening around the world in music cognition and perception. 
I won a Sempre conference grant to attend the conference as well as to learn more about the research of ‘Learning Lab‘ in Oregon.

Learning Lab have been using LENA audio software to analyse the home music and language environment of over 100 infants in the US. Jenny Mendoza, a lead researcher on the project, presented some fascinating preliminary data on music in everyday infancy. After the conference, I met with Jenny to learn more about the work happening in their lab and discuss a possible collaboration. 

I was also very happy to see colleague Beatriz Ilari, who is a music research colleague based at the Thornton School of Music, University of Southern California.

Beatriz presented some of her most recent research: parents’ views of their children’s participation in music programmes, which links to a longitudinal study Beatriz and colleagues are doing in collaboration with the LA Philharmonic orchestra. 

Beatriz and Alice outside NYU

Katie and I are currently co-authoring a paper with Beatriz on a joint study that looked at executive function and prosocial skills in pre-schoolers. This paper will be published in Spring 2020.

Orchestras for All: ‘Modulo’

Modulo groups at Cecil Sharp House, Camden

This month Alice and Katie visited the Orchestras for All London and Manchester ensemble meets to learn about the benefits both students and teachers experience from the ‘Modulo’ project.

The programme is designed to support teachers to establish or develop a small ensemble – a Modulo – of between 4 – 10 young people aged 11-18. Players can be of any instrument skill level or experience and everyone comes together twice a year to rehearse for some performances. Katie and Alice spoke to 10 teachers and 8 pupils about their experiences of the programme, here are a few snippets:

“Orchestras for All make our job as music teachers really easy and the performance deadlines keep the ensemble going – it’s great!”

“Being part of the big ensemble makes you feel the music more and hear how each part makes up the whole.” (student)

“The modulo teachers are so friendly, and the conductor is great – she gets things done quicker [than in our school rehearsals], it’s really well organised.” (student)

We couldn’t believe the quality of the music, especially considering the instrument groups are not your traditional mix and students had been playing their instruments for less than a year! Listen to the Modulo rehearsal and Facebook livestream here.