Music is big on the Market Place School curriculum this term as a pilot scheme enables children to play a mediaeval instrument.
Primary 4 and 5 pupils have been learning the chalumeau, an ancient French reed instrument, while P3s are learning the guitar, which came about because parents were keen to initiate it.
Head Teacher, Amanda Davidson explained that while the guitars were purchased from school funds, the chalumeau initiative is funded by the Scottish Youth Music Initiative. She added: “I think music is a great way for the children to be involved and be creative. It has so many applications in all areas of learning and it gives the children a positive attitude and something to be proud of. Some of the teachers are also learning, so it shows children that adults learn too, and it is also a way of getting parents involved.”
With an interest in the mediaeval chalumeau, Louise Harlow, whose child attends the school’s nursery, is giving the children some extra support in addition to their normal Monday lesson.
She explained: “The chalumeau is the forerunner of the clarinet and it doesn’t have keys, just holes. It is quite delicate and the children are learning how to put the reed in carefully and then place the collar over it.
“It is an ideal way for children to progress from the recorder, although they can go straight on to it. It is different from the recorder in way the mouth is placed over the reed and the way this is done is known as “embouchure.””
Louise said the way the instrument is played provides a natural pathway for those that want to go on to learn clarinet and saxaphone.
Speaking about the children’s progress, she said: “At the moment they have learned two notes and this term we aim to learn all the eight notes in an octave.”