Yamaha partnerships provide many schools and music services with access to top-quality instruments with minimal capital expenditure. Host schools can then provide Yamaha courses outside school hours for their local community and the shared income covers operational costs for both Yamaha and the school. An alternative business model is also available, which allows schools to generate profits to help fund their music departments, if that is their preferred option.
Of course, during the school day, the quality of the Yamaha instruments also adds greatly to the quality of learning within the curriculum.
Yamaha also currently provides highly effective, progressive whole-class primary school programmes for keyboards and drums. Guitar and vocal content is to become available later this year. Our pioneering programme with Sandwell Youth Music now sees over 800 students learning keyboards across 14 Sandwell primary schools. Teachers and heads experienced a huge up-turn in interest in music making when the scheme was introduced in 2008. They have noted that the scheme has seen pupils developing much-improved social skills, behaviour and learning attitudes.
I had the delight of visiting a very exciting project in Warrington today. Warrington Music Service, under the direction of Janice Pounds, has been running a project in which Yamaha Music School teacher, Fran Sixsmith (from Dawson's Warrington YMS) is giving 10 weekly 60-minute whole-class KS2 keyboard lessons with 65 of the authority's 72 primary schools.
The organisation of such a project is worthy enough of our awe but the very high standard of teaching, the complete joy and engagement of all the children for the whole session and clear evidence of learning, were a tribute to Warrington Music Service, Fran, Dawsons and of course to the participating primary schools and their staff. Further details of this project will be featured in the Summer 08 edition of Yamaha's YES magazine.
There are many such projects in operation around the UK's primary schools at present, in response to the national focus on whole class instrumental and vocal teaching at KS2. It would be great to hear of your experience of similar activities in your area. Please respond briefly to this blog and let us know what your project's aims were, whether it achieved them and what lasting benefit it has left behind.