Classroom 200 offers free music, lesson plans and resources

Written by: Headteacher Update | Published:

A new and free music resource aims to help teachers overcome a lack of time, budget and specialist knowledge when planning lessons.

Classroom 200 has been launched by the music education charity and Royal Schools of Music exam board ABRSM and supports music lessons for pupils aged five to 14.

The online resource features 200 pieces of advert-free music – from Rag n’ Bone Man and Aretha Franklin to Welsh language folk and classical favourites.

Each piece has its own downloadable lesson plan, created by teachers, and clear learning outcomes for each age group.

All lesson plans include extension activities, next steps and links to a total of 167 additional resources (from notation to backing tracks), with the intention that they are flexible enough to support different types of lesson and learner.

Teachers using the resource can access the content using four filters: pupil age; classroom layout (desks, floorspace, etc); group type (stage and screen, orchestral, solo, etc); and musical elements (pitch, duration, etc).

All 200 pieces are tagged so that teachers can search on a range of key musical and non-musical terms likely to arise in lessons, such as “12 bar blues”, “harvest”, “glockenspiel” or “war”.

Classroom 200 works for curricula in England, Northern Ireland, Wales, and Scotland and covers the themes of performing, listening, musical skills and appraising. All the pieces selected, however, feature on the Department for Education’s Model Music Curriculum for England.

Non-classical tracks range from Aretha Franklin’s Think to themes from Dr Who, Pirates of the Caribbean and Star Wars, two Welsh language folk songs, Inkanyezi Nezazi by Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Oasis’ Wonderwall, Rag n’ Bone Man’s Human, Paranoid Android by Radiohead, and Ma Rainey’s Runaway Blues.

Classical favourites include Holst’s The Planets, Britten’s Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra, Mozart’s Symphony No 40, Concierto de Aranjuez by Rodrigo, and I Got Rhythm by Gershwin.

ABRSM has created Classroom 200 after the success of Classical 100, its earlier free schools platform which featured classical tracks and lesson activities.

ABRSM’s own recent Making Music survey published last year shows that while more than half of all children are participating in classroom music lessons at school by the age of 11, this drops to one in three by age 14 and just one in 10 by age 16. Its research also shows that the proportion of children and adults currently playing a musical instrument has fallen by 15% and 20% respectively.

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