Music is back with a bang!
The Wells Academy pupils say “thank you for the music” after school funds free instrument lessons
Students at The Wells Academy have been benefiting from free musical instrument lessons.
Normally families would pay around £14 for a half-hour individual instrument lesson for their children, but at The Wells Academy in Mapperley, students are benefiting from them for free.
Currently students at the school are learning the piano, drums, strings, brass, woodwind and guitar. So many have taken the school up on the offer that there is now a waiting list.
Fears have often been raised by musicians that the art of playing an instrument is in danger of becoming elitist because less affluent families cannot afford lessons. At The Wells Academy, the free instrument lessons are being offered to any pupil who shows commitment.
School music teacher Sadie Baxter, who is a brass instrument player herself and plays in a band, said: “This makes music not just for those who can afford it but gives an opportunity for everybody to learn an instrument. Lots of our students are wanting to do this. A lot of them are self-taught and they are now trying to start to read musical notation.
“I think it’s really important to have opportunities that are for all students. It’s so important that every single student gets a chance to express themselves.”
One school pupil who has taken up the offer of a free instrument lesson is Ricardo, 13, who is learning the drums.
He said: “Playing music makes me feel good about myself. I can express all my feelings through the drums.”
Miss Baxter said some students at The Wells Academy were taking up an instrument again having started lessons in primary school, while others were starting out from scratch.
Due to Covid, some students who had previously been receiving tuition had not been having lessons for a few years, she added.
As well as offering free instrument lessons, music is also now on the curriculum at The Wells Academy as a subject for the first time. The school started life in September 2020, having previously been a campus of Nottingham Academy, and because of Covid, music has not been offered in its first two years of operation.
Miss Baxter said students were very much enjoying their music curriculum lessons.
She said: “The students are really wanting to do it. I’ve got some students wanting to take home resources to do at home, and do extra work. It makes it a really positive exercise.”
The school’s music department has also noticed that the subject is particularly enthusiastically taken up by students whose first language is not English.
“Music is amazing for people whose first language isn’t English,” said Miss Baxter. “It’s another form of communication for students to be creative without having that language barrier. We have some students who are not quite fluent in English but they have the ability to engage in the lessons.”
Academy vice principal Rebecca Moors said: “Here at The Wells Academy we think it’s very important to remove barriers to learning as far as we are able. Music is an important part of the curriculum and to a child’s education, and we don’t want the cost of instrument lessons to stand in the way of a young person learning to play the piano, the trumpet or whatever they would like to. We’re very proud to have been able to offer free instrument tuition to our students and delighted to see so many of them have taken us up on the offer. Learning music is a skill for life, not just for school, and it’s great to hear it having started up at our school once again.”