The Music Handbook (Beginners)
Teaching music skills to children through singing
By Cyrilla Rowsell and David Vinden.
Published by Jolly Learning Ltd, 2008.
ISBN: 978-1-84414-112-8 (Handbook), 978-1-84414-113-4 (Big Book)
Reviewed by Christine Wrigley (Autumn 2008)
In The Music Handbook, the intention "to give primary school class teachers ...a well-planned music curriculum" is admirably fulfilled.
Here is a book in which quality material has been carefully selected, imaginatively linked and beautifully put together in a series of 30 lesson plans designed for use with four to seven year old children. There is also a Jolly Music Big Book to supplement The Music Handbook, containing the words and pulse indications of the song/rhyme material.
Within this secure musical and pedagogical framework, which itself inspires confidence, the learning opportunities afforded by every song and rhyme are maximised. Each step in the teaching process is logically sequenced and clearly described, by two authors whose deep knowledge, both of their subject and of the likely developmental stage of this age group, shines through at all times.
When I first read the book, I was reminded of my many fumbling attempts to teach a song with quite complicated associated actions, and the feelings of failure because my children did not seem able to walk in a circle or clap the required pattern with a partner; I realised that what I had thought of as step 1, was actually more like step 10! Had I possessed The Music Handbook, I would not have had to spend the next six weeks back-tracking, trying to work out just how best to present the song so that both my success and, more importantly, that of the children, was ensured. During that enlightening first reading, I lost count of the times I thought "A-haa! THAT’S how I should have done it..."
Any teacher who follows these lesson plans will be working towards drawing the very best responses from their pupils, leading them along the path towards musical independence and a positive, strong musical identity.
Very highly recommended.
This book can be ordered through BKA book service.