“The Gigajam technology combined with access to state-of-the art facilities at the CLC has enabled students from three schools to develop an understanding of what it feels like to play any one of four instruments as a member of a group.”
Alim Shaikh,CLC Centre Manager


Yellow submarine


Ob La Di, Ob La Da


One love


Oh when the saints

Ealing City Learning Centre

Needs

  • To expand the range of music-based ICT resources
  • To provide musical instrument tuition to whole classes from a number of participating primary schools
  • To host a ‘Wider Opportunities’ initiative with Ealing Music Services
  • To explore the potential of blended learning to support whole-class teaching of music

Alim Shaikh, CLC centre manager: “The Gigajam technology combined with access to state-of-the art facilities at the CLC has enabled students from three schools to develop an understanding of what it feels like to play any one of four instruments as a member of a group – an opportunity that students would not have had but for the empowering ability of ICT.”

Solution

Ealing City Learning Centre has a very good working relationship with surrounding schools and was interested in supporting and hosting a wider opportunities initiative together with Ealing Music Services. Ealing CLC already had a music technology programme for pupils from local high schools but these programmes utilised music sequencing software predominantly. The CLC wanted to support more schools in the area and to provide access to real instruments to large numbers of students. After trying out Gigajam with an initial short-run project, the CLC decided to continue, and has since been awarded Accredited Gigajam Interactive Music School status for the skills the team, along with Ealing Music Services, has applied and demonstrated with the first roll-out of the project.

Alim Shaikh, the centre manager of the CLC, led the Gigajam project with the support of Suzanne Miles the Centre Director. Ealing Music Services appointed two peripatetic music teaching staff to run the sessions with the pupils. After the initial sessions were run, Gigajam provided an additional training session to aid the understanding of the delivery, technical set up, teacher involvement and lesson structures.

It was decided to run the Gigajam lessons in the CLC’s existing ICT suite, as the technical set up was very robust from the outset, and was capable of supporting the Gigajam-recommended equipment. There were some gaps in technical knowledge and understanding, which were resolved with an additional training session, including involvement of the classroom teachers and with the assistance of the CLC Curriculum Consultant, Gina Reeves.

Users

Berrymeade Primary School, Grange Primary School and Montpelier Primary School use the facilities every Monday. Each session lasts for an hour and a half and accommodates between 25 and 30 pupils. Before the arrival of Gigajam, the schools could not have considered teaching them all how to play an instrument.

The use of the materials was successful amongst pupils at the top end of Key Stage 2. The methodology and pedagogy was followed and applied, and the Curriculum Consultant played a significant role in developing the skills of the music services staff enabling them to be able to deliver the lessons to whole classes, a new and demanding skill. When linked with their ability as musicians they became very powerful teachers and had increasing impact. They were then able to help the students learn to learn so that they could follow the lessons interface, work through the lessons by reading and listening to the instructions, viewing the multimedia, practising the exercises, recording, listening and analysing their performances. The music services team were then able to encourage the students to perform their skills with others.

Alim Shaikh, centre manager of Ealing City Learning Centre said: “The project has ultimately been well received and successful, with a great deal of willingness to continue and extend the work that has already begun. A strong link has been created between Ealing CLC and the Music Services providing a centre that has proven ability in delivering music with technology.”

Drawing on the success of its first Gigajam project, the CLC is currently planning its next Gigajam season with staff from the local music services and a high school which has just received Specialist Music College status.

Gigajam

The participation of the classroom teachers, as well as the musical abilities and strength of the Music Services team, ensured a positive outcome for the project with two of the schools coming together to put on a concert in March 2006 for family, friends, head teachers and a number of CLC guests.

The children used the skills they had learned from the Gigajam course and played arrangements created by the classroom teachers of the following tunes:

  • Yellow Submarine – The Beatles
  • Ob La Di, Ob La Da – The Beatles
  • One Love – Bob Marley
  • When the Saints

Brian Greene, director of Gigajam and concert attendee, said: “I was deeply impressed by the children and also with the way the music team and classroom teachers had worked with the CLC technicians and curriculum team to make this work. Teaching whole classes to play musical instruments is a very new concept and has not previously been possible on such a scale.

“The use of Gigajam at Ealing CLC is meeting the aims of the Music Manifesto by providing young people with more opportunities to broaden their musical interests and skills by providing them with a structure to do so. Technology makes it possible but not without skilled and dedicated professionals demonstrating their competence in teaching and learning, and embracing technology.

“Embedding technology is about appropriateness of use. Computers cannot teach. Teachers teach and enable learners to learn using the right tool for the job. The staff learned that you use Gigajam to enable more students to have an instrument in their hands. The computer delivers the repetitive elements of musical instrument tuition very effectively and efficiently, whilst providing the student with the opportunity to practice in an engaging and supported way.

“Once students have demonstrated some understanding and control of their newly developed skills, the staff have done brilliantly in blending traditional applications of those skills – playing songs together as a band – brilliant!”