Personal reflection on Music in Secondary Schools
‘An enormous congratulations to all involved in what was an unforgettable night last night. Six schools joined hands in a triumphant performance at the Barbican Centre to celebrate almost 10 years of hard work achieved by the Music in Secondary Schools (MiSST) programme – which brings high level music education to thousands of children in schools in the London boroughs of Islington, Newham and Waltham Forest, completely free of charge. The diligence, consistency, honest work and perseverance shown by every teacher was deeply inspirational – many of us on and off stage had to keep our emotions in check. The trust and admiration all the students have for their teachers was equally moving to witness, as was seeing each child stride on to the Barbican stage with confidence. Not just play-acting confidence, but the kind that comes with knowing you’ve put in the hours and are capable of doing a good job.
I would like to give a special mention to the extraordinary Trud
a White, founder of MiSST, ex-headteacher of Highbury Grove School and all round force of nature. Her no-nonsense but full of love approach is infectious and I learn a thing a minute being around her. She is someone who thoroughly understands how to maintain high standards without sacrificing the numbers of children taking part. It is an ongoing honour knowing and working with her.
I was tasked with closing the evening with a few words and spoke about music and its place in education.
I said that music shouldn’t be seen as just another subject added to the already overwhelming school day, but instead as the one subject that permeates all the others. It deals with matters of soul and spirit, and impacts the very core of who we are individually and collectively.
Learning to listen, feel and care – these are qualities we should be walking away from school with. ‘