Teachers, including principals of the John Rollins Success Primary and Bickersteth Infant and Primary schools in St James, as well as the McIntosh Memorial Primary Schools in Land Settlement, Manchester, have all given the thumbs up to the 'Music, the Perfect Pitch for a Sound Education' programme, which was unveiled in six primary schools in St James, Manchester, and Kingston.
The programme, introduced in October 2011 and funded by First Global Financial Services (FGFS) - a subsidiary of the GraceKennedy Group - is a collaborative effort with the Ministry of Education.
Music teachers were recruited by the schools to teach students, mainly at the grade three level, not only to play music, but to use music to enhance their learning ability and discipline.
The programme ended last October, but teachers want it to continue. Citing remarkable improvement among their students, the principals are asking First Global Financial Services and the ministry to relaunch the project.
"The concept was to use the infusion of music to teach numeracy and literacy, and we are pleased to announce that our grade four literacy is now up to 93 per cent, while our numeracy moved from 67 per cent to 78 per cent, making us proud," said Sheron Anderson, principal of the McIntosh Memorial Primary School.
Anderson said the musical instruments donated to the school by FGFS were being utilised, enabling the school to form a choir and a band, which recently performed for about 7,000 patrons at the Indoor Sports Centre in St Andrew.
Plans are now afoot to have the students enter pieces in the annual Jamaica Cultural Development Commission festival according to Anderson, who added, "We are thankful to FGFS for their contribution towards nation building."
"First Global Financial Services is pleased with the children's improvement, and I am confident that we will make further contributions," said Paul Ebanks, FGFS' business development manager, Mandeville branch.
Theodecia Sonlin is the music teacher at McIntosh. She has now included all grades in the approach using music to enhance student performance.
"In our music literacy programme, I assist teachers by using music to enhance the subjects being taught. I encourage students to spell and call words using rhythms with instruments. This engages the children and keeps them focused. I have seen where the programme has really helped the boys," Sonlin said.