"Not only can the approach allow anybody to take part in musical activities – regardless of their experience – it allows them to understand and break down the language of music."
Greg, Secondary Music Teacher.
We do not single out musically talented individuals but use our expertise to equip everyone with the tools to enjoy and explore music to the depth they would like, and to stretch them to the extent of their individual ability. We have a philosophy of being open, accessible, flexible and creative, which goes for our administration and general outlook as well as our approach to music – so please get in touch if you have any questions or to let us know what you think!
Children benefit from starting music-making when they are very young with activities that are suitable for the age group. Research shows that musical activities contribute to a vast array of developments, emotional, cognitive and social. The activities we use allow pupils to develop their musicianship skills without necessarily having the added difficulty of the technical demands of the instrument.
Once children have started learning an instrument we maintain a high level of musicianship. We encourage all children who learn with us play in ensembles. Our Integrated Music Programme ensures that children gain a sophisticated level of musical understanding.
Singing whilst accompanying oneself by using movement or percussion stretches pupils beyond what they will be achieving on their instrument in terms of musical content, ability to listen and tune to one another and multi-tasking as they are required to demonstrate (play and sing) two or more parts at once.
This section is with reference to individual lessons because exams do not usually apply to group or school classroom teaching. Exams are not a necessary part of learning an instrument, although we recognise that they can serve a useful purpose, particularly as schools or universities sometimes request proof of ability as part of their entrance requirements. It is left to pupils, parents and teacher to decide whether an exam is appropriate. As an organisation DaCapo takes a neutral stance, aware of the potential advantages and disadvantages to the individual pupil. Going through an exam can be a worthwhile process, but it is rarely a focus at DaCapo.
Regular performances, either at our Saturday Music Centre or at school in assemblies or concerts give incentives for preparing pieces without the pain of being judged for what is performed, and hopefully without inviting too much nervousness. We aim to build confident and relaxed performers who focus on their current and future achievements, not on one single event as being indicative of their musical ability or inner musical life.
Practice and Progress
We try to think what is realistic for a child to be doing with their music-making at home. We think about the family’s daily routine and working parents, siblings and other after-school activities. We also consider how much a parent can realistically help their child. Some will have musical expertise, some won’t and it is important to recognise this.
It also different for each age group; the youngest children cannot realistically ‘practice’ but they can try to show you what they have been doing in the lesson. Older children can be left to work on things and then perhaps perform for you when they are ready.