Posted: 09 May 2016
Emma Goddard Head of Music at a school in Kent explains how music tours have helped boost confidence and morale among students and teachers and contributed to the rejuvenation of her music department.
“One of the first things we put down on our music department improvement plan when both Katie and I arrived at the school in January 2014 was to organise a music tour to Valkenburg in July 2015. This was my first tour as head of department, but Katie had done many before and was confident of the benefits it would have for our students.
“I’ll be honest, I felt dubious – my personal experience as a student of school music tours were heavily based around one high-quality group, such as a choir or orchestra. We didn’t have one of those at our school so who were we going to take?
“Fast forward to Valkenburg in July 2015, and we took 30 students for 5 days. We had small acts, a band here or there and some solo and duet numbers, and a number of steel pan bands.
“The students loved the tour. They were all incredibly excited about touring that first day (at 5am!) and it didn’t matter who was the ‘best’ musician, they all enjoyed being together and starting what was to become a musical family.
“The impact of this first tour on the music department was profound – our tour students were bringing their friends to the music department and working on making music in small groups. Our tour students understood that we were accepting of whatever they could contribute as a musical product, and participation in concerts began to grow from all students, especially at KS3.
“All the students could see we were a warm and welcoming department and were showing us their work, inspired to move on and develop their abilities. We went from the quiet department we inherited in 2014 to being crammed with students in practice rooms before school, at break and lunchtimes.
“This year, we are taking 40 students to Austria from across the school and sixth form from a variety of backgrounds. To help with funding, the music department staff have organised several fundraising activities – bag packing at a local supermarket, concerts as often as we can, cake-selling and tea and coffee-making.
“This has really demonstrated to students the value of hard work and was character building for them as well. This has also gone towards funding additional trips and of course, the tour hoodie!
“We plan to make tours at the school an annual arrangement, the benefits to the music department and the school are well worth the time and effort in organising the tour. Not only does it raise the profile of our school, it allows our students to show off their work proudly to welcoming audiences.”
To talk to our expert music team about your next music tour, call Freephone 0800 496 4996. Or click on the links for more on our school music tours to Valkenburg, our school band tours or all our school music tour destinations.
Anthony Chew, Head of Music, Darwen Aldridge Community Academy, Lancashire.
Jane Werry, Head of Music, Hayes School, Kent.
James Williams, Llandovery College, Carmarthenshire.