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Last Updated: Thursday, 12 April 2007, 10:12 GMT 11:12 UK
Primary teachers too shy to sing
School assembly
Children at primary schools usually have an hour of music a week
Half of primary school teachers in England are unconfident about singing in front of a class, research suggests.

Most primary school pupils spend just an hour doing music, with just 13% learning an instrument, a study by the Institute of Education says.

Music is compulsory up to the age of 14 but many primary teachers receive just a few hours of training.

Earlier this year the government launched a £10m scheme to boost music education, especially school singing.

Professor Susan Hallam of the Institute of Education said it was shocking that one in three primary school teachers had received no training in teaching music and singing.

She said: "Teaching music is about so much more than learning to play an instrument or spotting the protégés of tomorrow; it's about developing social skills, team work, confidence, co-ordination and creativity.

"Today's research findings revealed a worrying lack of confidence in our primary school teachers when it comes to helping children benefit from music lessons, so we now need to evaluate the direct effect this is having on our children."

The study involved the analysis of questionnaires given to 350 trainee primary teachers.

Powerful learning tool

Professor Hallam will lead a new study looking at how primary school children progress in music when their teachers have had specialist training in the subject.

The study is being funded by EMI Music Sound Foundation an independent music education charity established by the music giant ten years ago.

The government says it is committed to improving music education, especially school singing.

A spokesperson for the DfES said:"We introduced a new £10m package of measures earlier this year which includes increased investment in training for teachers and music leaders.

"We have appointed composer and broadcaster Howard Goodall as the Singing Ambassador and choir schools will work in partnership with local schools and other music providers to boost local singing.

"We recognise that as well as being a worthwhile activity for its own sake, music is a powerful learning tool which can build children's confidence, teamwork and language skills."

The researchers recommend a number of ways of improving school music, including more music training, using specialist music teachers in primary schools and more professional development opportunities.

Why is singing good for learning?
17 Jan 07 |  Magazine
School music gets extra funding
16 Jan 07 |  Education

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