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Politics/Current Affairs

£10M To Get Children Singing

Thursday, January 18th, 2007 at 09:32 by Rhys Wilcox

What would you do if you were Education Minister and you were told that primary school SAT results were falling well-short of expected targets? Announce that these pupils will have to stay at school for two years of detention? Check. Stick you fingers in your ears and sing a song to yourself? Better yet, try to get everyone else to sing along too.

During Alan Johnson’s announcement of the campaign launch, he quipped, “A better musical education for pupils can also help them hit the right note in their studies.”

But, not if they’re singing instead of learning how to write.

Apparently, “music is a powerful learning tool which can build children’s confidence, teamwork and language skills.”

But, not if they’re rubbish at singing. Seriously, have you heard children sing? It is, generally, horrible.

Perhaps Johnson has seen the future and it’s not composed of a world of educated employees but of thousands of reality TV talent shows and he is laying the first slabs along the path of success for our children.

Johnson has allotted £10M of the Department of Education’s budget for the project and handed it over to TV presenter and composer Howard Goodall to come up with a new national songbook. This will be made up of a mix of genres including classical, pop and folk but will also feature a number of songs nominated by teachers and pupils.

Obviously if this had been targeted at secondary school level we would no doubt get suggestions of 50 (Two-For-A-Dollar) Cent, the latest X-Factor 15 minuter and Eric Prydz’s desecration of Pink Floyd’s Another Brick In The Wall.

However, here’s the current Top 5 Primary School Playground Tunes! (Cue the Alan Freeman countdown music).

Dropping three places to number 5, but still sung by kids holding on to a better time, is Jingle Bells, Batman Smells (Uncle Billy’s Willy Remix).
Holding fast at number 4 is a take on a German classic, Twinkle Twinkle (My Mummy’s Rusty Car Remix).
An ‘Old Skool’ favourite re-enters at number 3 with Scooby Doo, Where Are You? (Halfway Down The Toilet).
Challenging the top spot at number 2 is every sycophantic note from High School Musical.
But still at number one for the hundredth consecutive week is Crazy Frog’s, Axel F.

Yeah, I’ve just seen a glimpse of the future too.

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6 Comments on “£10M To Get Children Singing”

  1. Sharon Says:

    “Seriously, have you heard children sing? It is, generally, horrible.”

    So maybe that’s why he’s suggested singing lessons? After all, paring down the curriculum to concentrate on ‘Core Skills’ such as maths, reading, writing & science doesn’t seem to have worked all that well, does it?

  2. Rhys Wilcox Says:

    It’s not so much the curriculum that’s not working but more the issues of understaffed and over crowded classrooms.

    I’d much rather the £10M went towards diminishing class sizes to allow teachers more personal time with their children than precious class time wasted by the whole school sat in an assembly room singing Kum-By-Bloody-Ah whether it be note perfect or not. That’s not going to help anything at all apart from raising a lot more disillusioned pop-wannabes for Simon Cowell to exploit.

  3. fiona Says:

    ye god’s! its bad enough at the christmas concert once a year listening to the little brats for an hour…..but my children are note perfect of course *cough*cough*

  4. Sharon Taylor Says:

    Perhaps if Mr. Wilcox did some research, as Mr. Johnson appears to have, he would know that singing does have cognitive, physical, and emotional benefits. One of the worst things the Baby Boomer generation has done to the next is convince it that if it can’t be “World Class” (whatever that means), it shouldn’t be doing anything. The purpose of singing at any age is to build community, share enjoyment, and help people relax.

    Talk to people who lived through the Blitz, or grew up during the Depression. Singing was sometimes the only way to get through the night. In her 90s, my grandmother could sit down with a group of contemporaries she had never met and spend hours singing songs they shared. I had to bring songbooks and a big bottle of wine to get a group of people my age to six Christmas songs together.

    It’s ironic that Mr. Wilcox brings Cowell into the mix, while supporting his main contention: that only those who can make money for some large corporation have the right to open their mouths.

    And we wonder why youth are passive and apathetic. Get told to shut up often enough when you are young, and chances are eventually you won’t bother to open your mouth.

  5. Rhys Wilcox Says:

    I would reply now but American Idol is on and I really enjoy taking the mickey out of those people who can’t (and probably shouldn’t) sing.

  6. Rhys Wilcox Says:

    The good thing about research is that it can justify the means to anything.

    If I did ‘the’ research I could probably claim that making children go to school with plastic bags over their feet would make them more responsive to learning.

    My research into this, and my real main contention, is that classes are overpopulated and understaffed. Maybe, just maybe, if that issue was addressed directly then children might do better.

    Our youth are passive and apathetic because the people who are supposed to be in charge are the last people to actually do anything constructive to solve matters.

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