For the past year or so I have been developing a topic guide for primary school teachers to teach children in P5-7 about the music industry.
Since music has such an influence on modern society, I think it is important to teach children the basics of how the industry works. My hope is that the topic will inspire children to take a greater interest in music, and even consider one of the many career paths the industry has to offer.
My guide is based on Curriculum for Excellence experiences and outcomes at level 2. I have created lesson plans across the curriculum that cover expressive arts, health and welbeing, languages, mathematics, religious and moral education, sciences, social studies and technologies.
The main focus of the topic is to look at how record labels discover, produce and promote music acts. The children actively follow this process by forming their own bands; among many other tasks, they write, produce and record their own original songs, have a photoshoot and make a music video.
So far I have piloted the topic at Notre Dame Primary and Hyndland Primary. The children’s songs were produced and recorded by the children on an iPad Mini using Apple’s GarageBand app and IK Multimedia’s iRig Mic.
I put the songs on iTunes and other digital stores worldwide as a bit of fun to see which band could sell the most records. When I read the sales reports, I was surprised to discover that their music had in fact gone worldwide – they made money from downloads and streams in the UK, America, Sweden, Netherlands, Spain, Australia, Norway, Germany and France!
I as part of the topic, I arranged Q&A sessions with producer and songwriter friends Jud Mahoney (Michael Jackson) and Natalie De Lucia (Britney Spears), as well as a performance and Q&A session with local emerging artist Lucia Fairfull. I rounded off the topic with a trip to The Boombox recording studio, where the children recorded cover versions of their favourite songs.
This year, I will pilot the topic one last time in both P6 classes in Hyndland Primary. My plan is to then finalise the guide and have it licensed or published so that is available to all primary school teachers in Scotland.