Education Ideas: Learning through music

Date Posted: 09/07/2014

Over 1,600 Sheffield school children, and 80 education providers from around the UK, joined professional musicians together for Music in the Round’s first Music for Early Years event in July,  at the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield.

The day was part of Soundplay, a year-long Youth Music-funded project that aims to improve the personal, social and emotional development of younger children through participation in creative musical activity.

It was led by Music in the Round in partnership with Sheffield Music Hub and ESCAL (the citywide literacy strategy ensuring that ‘Every Sheffield Child is Articulate and Literate’).

The day enabled nursery and primary teachers from across South Yorkshire, arts organisations and musicians to come together to share and discuss the importance of music for three to eight year olds, how they can access hard-to-reach communities, links between music and speech and language, and how to engage parents.

Inspirational performances and workshops

Music educationalist Sue Nicholls gave a speech and taught practical workshops on how to bring stories to life through music.

There was also a video message from composer Paul Rissmann about why children are so switched on to music.

Children also attended inspirational performances of The Lion Who Wanted to Love and Giddy Goat, performed by musicians Ensemble 360 and narrator Polly Ives.

The two stories (The Lion Who Wanted to Love by Giles Andreae and David Wojtowycz, Giddy Goat by Jamie Rix and Lynne Chapman) had music written by composer Paul Rissmann featuring interactive participatory songs and bright image projections from the books throughout.

A teacher commented: “This was the best day’s training I have had in a long time. Really inspiring, great resources, ideas which can be carried out for free and a performance featuring the amazing professionals and a theatre full of children singing their hearts out!”

The Lord Mayor of Sheffield said: “This is a wonderful event… to see so many different communities coming together through music.”

About Music in the Round

Celebrating its 30th anniversary this year, Music in the Round, based in Sheffield, is dedicated to presenting the best in small-scale classical music in an informal atmosphere.

Music in the Round now promotes more than 100 concerts a year through its three main series, in autumn, spring and during May.

This autumn’s series of concerts will be announced soon.

For more information about Music in the Round, future conferences and concert tours across the UK and free downloadable resources, visit

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