Music-based initiative a masterstroke at Villa Road
It has long been said that music is the greatest tool for teaching, and only recently - in fact in just three years of implementing the First Global Bank-sponsored-Ministry of Education-backed 'Music, Perfect Pitch for a Sound Education' initiative, the Villa Road Primary and Junior High School in Mandeville, Manchester, is witnessing a renaissance of sorts.
Where once upon a time students were performing poorly in the various academic areas, through the initiative, the school is seeing improved grades, so said music teacher Novelette Neil during the recent second anniversary staging of Music Day.
Music Day, a follow-up to the initial music programme, is celebrated annually at all 12 schools involved in the programme in St James, Manchester, and Kingston, which sees full participation by students who demonstrate their knowledge in reciting numeracy and literacy facts to rhythms.
"We have used the instruments given to us by First Global Bank to get the students interested in their lesson, especially as a number of the students here are really slow learners," Neil said.
"I think it has helped in their classes that music is predominantly used. They are more eager to be part of these classes, while all the time learning the subject areas using a dynamic and fun approach," said Neil.
She said as a school, they are targeting at least a 50 per cent success rate under this new programme but noted it would take some time. Nonetheless, she was optimistic about what the programme would achieve long term at Villa Road Primary.
"In one particular class, we have seen great improvements. Of the 100 per cent in that class, there was a 55 per cent improvement in the various academic areas as a direct result of this new approach," she said.
She added that over time, there is no doubt that the programme would churn out even greater success. She urged First Global Bank to continue to expand the programme to reach a wider cross section of students like those at Villa Road Primary and Junior High School.
"Music is a very handy tool to have, so twinning the music with mathematics, language arts, and science, and reading is a masterstroke from First Global. It is a wonderfully crafted idea and we welcome such a partnership for the betterment of our children," Neil said.
Villa Road Primary and Junior High School students display some of the instruments donated to them by First Global Bank as part of the Music, Perfect Pitch for a Sound Education initiative, which is celebrating its third anniversary. At the back (from left) are music teacher Novelette Neil, Andrea Gayle, First Global Bank's Mandeville branch manager; Paulette Sutherland (teacher); and Kerrene Grant, business development officer, First Global Bank (Mandeville Branch). At the front (from left) are Dominique Thomas, Rushard Wilson, Dijannai Daley, Kemar Ford, and Asheka Porter.