Our Schools Outreach programme keeps on growing. Since the start of this term, Fingal Academy of Music (FAM) has been delivering guitar, ukulele and singing programmes in Holywell Educate Together National School and Powerstown Educate Together National School. Instructing ten classes in each school, FAM has been making a musical impact in the lives of over 400 students from both schools.
Bit by bit, word is spreading about the great work being done in these schools.
FAM Cadence Director Sarah May Rogers is now teaching violin in St. Colmcille's Girls National School, Swords, and is teaching fiddle Tyrrelstown Educate Together National School near Blanchardstown. Both of these schools applied to Fingal County Council Arts Office for funding, which in turn introduced them to the Outreach team at FAM.
FAM is also delivering Continuous Professional Development (CPD) in each of these schools, as an integral part of the Schools Outreach programme.
We believe it is absolutely vital for classroom teachers to feel more confident and to feel supported by the visiting musicians. When it comes to teaching music to their children, an external expert is powerless in the long-term without the full support of the classroom teacher. (Dónal Kearney, FAM Co-Director)
FAM has been working with local principals to make sure their teachers feel supported by our programmes. It is important that it isn't only the so-called "music teachers" in national schools who have to bear the weight of ensuring the music curriculum is delivered to every single student in the class. It is the obligation of every classroom teacher to introduce music into their lesson plans.
We understand how time-consuming and draining it can be for non-specialist musicians to become comfortable with communicating the fundamentals of music education to their students. This is exactly why we put the teachers at the centre of our programmes. Our music team does not want to oust the classroom teacher and remove them from the equation; we are here to help them to help their own students make music in the classroom. (Michael T. Dawson, FAM Co-Director)
FAM offers free singing workshops to every school in Fingal, and the feedback from teachers and students alike has been fantastic.
We look forward to running Schools Outreach concerts in Swords and Blanchardstown in spring 2020. Watch this space.