Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

Coronavirus in schools: Creative measures to keep Dundee pupils learning music as face-to-face lessons are restricted

(stock image).
(stock image).

Face-to-face music lessons have been halved for pupils in Dundee as coronavirus limits the number of schools instructors can visit each week.

Scottish Government guidance limits the activity in schools unless a safe two metre distance can be maintained and instruments are not shared.

Wind, brass and singing instruments are not permitted at all because of the respiratory aerosols exhaled during playing.

The city’s instrumental music service would see pupils at least once a week before the pandemic.

But their movement around the city has been limited and they can now only visit one school per day which means lessons have been cut back to once a fortnight, supplemented with online ‘blended learning’.

A similar picture is present across Scotland as the largest teaching union EIS expressed concerns travel restrictions faced by teachers and the impact limited playing time would have on pupils with upcoming exams.

They still need to be preparing for the exam climate and when the time comes that we’re able to start physically teaching again it means pupils haven’t lost their skills.


Derek Potter.

Despite the setbacks, tutors are developing creative ways to ensure pupils can now continue learning an instrument.

The purchase of electronic chanters, which mimic the sound of pipes using finger movements, has enabled bagpipe tutor Derek Potter to continue teaching.

The aim, he says, is to teach pupils the key elements of playing while they’re unable to blow into the instrument.

“The electronic chanter has allowed us to carry on teaching and helping pupils which is really important to pupils who will be doing exams,” he said.

“They still need to be preparing for the exam climate and when the time comes that we’re able to start physically teaching again it means pupils haven’t lost their skills.

“We’re making sure that these instruments can be sterilised after each use and we’re following the rules with ventilated rooms and two metre distances between instructor and pupil.

“We’re just trying to engage with the children and keep them motivated amongst the fact that they can’t physically play in schools.”

Bagpipe instructor Derek Potter.

Tutors are also supporting pupils digitally on the week they’re unable to attend school by uploading tutorials and encouraging students to record their practice sessions at home.

Senior instructor Phil McGregor said the city’s music service is working hard to ensure pupils are not disadvantaged ahead of the 2021 exam diet.

He said: “Although things have changed for us, we’ve tried the best for our pupils. They still have a lot of contact with the instrumental team in Dundee and we feel that’s very important for their progress.”

Aside from pupils learning wind, brass and singing, pupils with exams are still receiving a lesson every week.

We hope the guidance for our wind and brass pupils will change very soon.


Phil McGregor.

He added: “We hope the guidance for our wind and brass pupils will change very soon and if not we’ll try and bring in some online lessons so we can see them in school and teach them via video conference if we need to.”

Primary school pupils are also focussing on rhythm and composition instead of learning an instrument this year.

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “Guidance produced by Education Scotland, based on scientific advice from the advisory sub-group on education and children’s issues, encourages a precautionary approach to the learning and teaching of music during the pandemic for public health reasons.

“Local authorities and schools should exercise their judgement when implementing this guidance, to ensure the safety and wellbeing of their children, young people and staff, and taking into account local circumstances as well as the positive impact that learning a musical instrument can have on wellbeing and attainment.

“The advice and guidance is being kept under review and will be updated in response to changing circumstances and the latest scientific evidence.”

Already a subscriber? Sign in

[[title]]

[[text]]