Bespoke music-making package for students at home

A NETWORK of industry professionals is helping to create bespoke home-learning programmes for young musicians.

Cristin Casey, director of performing arts for the BMAT group of schools in Harlow, Epping and Stansted in Essex and Newham in London, brings opportunities to her students via her links with a range of outside organisations.

She works closely with Disney Education, Royal Opera House Bridge, Essex Music Hub, Harlow Cultural Leaders Group and other community networks.

During the school closures due to the Coronavirus, Mrs Casey is calling on her contacts to help her schools continue to provide lessons at home.

Working with Charanga VIP Studio Sessions, Mrs Casey has developed a bespoke programme which enables students to create live beats at home.

She said: “We have had a working relationship with VIP for five years. We have embedded it by putting music production into our curriculum.

“When the school closures were announced, VIP approached me and asked what teachers needed to keep lessons going remotely. They have developed what we need, so students can continue to make progress on their current work and pick up new projects during the closures.

“Children have learnt how to make beats in class, but now they can carry on their work at home, write the lyrics and have a well-developed and stylish piece of music. They can mix it, release it and promote it which teaches them about careers in the music industry.

“They love music such as grime and hip hop and now they can create it themselves from home and get feedback from VIP’s professional producer. Many practical subjects are struggling for work and are often limited to the work to be completed at home as there is nothing as accessible and personalised to our needs online for them to produce such high-quality work.

“Our children need something creative to do. We do not want them sitting at home and worrying. This platform means they can push forward and continue to make progress with their learning. They are not able to engage with their classmates in the same way, so this is a fun part of their new school day. They are really excited about it.”

In return for the work VIP is doing for BMAT, Mrs Casey has given her resources with the studio to be shared with their teacher community.

Max Wheeler, author and programme director at VIP, said: “It is really incredible what is going on with BMAT schools! We have seen students perform live beats with orchestras and go on to get record deals. But, this online work in the current crisis is some of the most inspirational yet. It’s been really heart-warming to see students creating music from home in the last few days.

“We want to make resources which make music accessible. By building beats and technology into the curriculum, Cristin has opened it up to a whole new group of students and her GCSE uptake shows this.

“What we never expected was that it might flourish outside of the classroom like this, especially bringing much-needed positivity in such difficult circumstances.

“Amazing stuff!”

Students are being set exam questions via Instagram to further keep them developing their music knowledge.

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