An independent school in New Milton has introduced a new activity to tutor time to contribute positively to pupils’ wellbeing.
Ballard School has introduced a Drop Everything And Listen (DEAL) programme following the success of Drop Everything And Read (DEAR), which encourages pupils to stop what they’re doing and read a book.
Once a week during tutor time, a chosen piece of music is being shared with each class across the school. Each week will see a different genre of music explored.
To mark the start of Black History Month, week one of the initiative saw pupils listen to Nina Simone’s, I Wish I Knew How it Would Feel to be Free.
Pupils were given information about the genesis of the song and the artist’s background as a piano prodigy and civil rights activist in order to spark class discussion before and after listening to the track.
“The benefits of listening to music for mental health are widely documented and we hope that encouraging our pupils to stop and really listen to a piece of music during the school day will contribute to their wellbeing,” said Victoria Gray, director of music and performing arts at Ballard School.
“We are all so used to being busy and multi-tasking, and music especially is often consigned to being the backdrop to another activity. ‘Drop Everything And Listen’ is the perfect antidote to that, for pupils and teachers alike, providing a little oasis of calm, focused attention, inspiration and joy.”
We are all so used to being busy and multi-tasking, and music especially is often consigned to being the backdrop to another activity. ‘Drop Everything And Listen’ is the perfect antidote to that – Victoria Gray, Ballard School
Other songs to be shared before half-term include Nigel Kennedy playing Brahms’ Violin Concerto, Stevie Wonder and Samuel Coleridge Taylor’s Hiawatha’s Wedding Feast.
Headmaster Andrew McCleave, said: “This new initiative from our creative and brilliant music department is another way for our school to enjoy the considerable benefits of music.”
Ballard School encourages all pupils to participate in music lessons and to learn to play an instrument. Children have lessons with specialist music staff from reception upwards.
The school has an Instrumental Starter Scheme which sees pupils in years three to five paired up with an instrument, a free term of individual one-to-one lessons and the loan of the instrument.