To read or not to read: that is the question! How important is it to read?
As a primary school teacher, nothing thrills me more than teaching children to read. Reading is a great achievement and a vital lifelong skill. However, reading music can actually be a barrier to making music. How many class teachers can’t ‘read music’ and therefore assume they can’t help their class to play instruments? Singing is fine; playing an instrument involves reading music… or does it?
On the Royal Festival Hall stage, the children in the Montagu School Ocarina Group listened eagerly to the adjudicators as they prefaced their comments with “we don’t know how difficult it is to play an ocarina, so it hasn’t been easy to assess this performance”.
This is an ongoing issue with Ocarinas. Are Ocarinas too simple? Do children learn music ‘properly’ with these four-hole wind instruments? Is reading from tablature as acceptable as reading from staff notation? People get hung up on the instrument and its teaching methods, overlooking the quality of music performed – the very thing that should mark a child’s musical progress.
When driving into Rutland, England’s smallest county, you are greeted by the sign “Multum in Parvo”. The phrase means “a lot in a little” or “a great deal in a small space” and if you know Rutland, you’ll know that this is an apt description. The county may be the smallest, but it’s a little gem and not to be missed.