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MT | MUSICAL FUTURES © Emile Holba / Musical Futures The future’s bright In April, Musical Futures announced its independence from the Paul Hamlyn Foundation: after 12 years of financial support, the organisation which was founded to help make music lessons in school more engaging is now going it alone. Rhian Jones charts the movement’s journey to date, and discovers what’s next W hen Anna Gower arrived at Monk’s Walk School in Hertfordshire in 2003, music lessons were pretty dull. ‘You’d have Year 9 boys walking into the lesson with headphones on listening to their favourite music, and then they’d be playing Ode To Joy by Beethoven with one finger on the keyboard. There were huge issues with motivation and behaviour and the department was really poorly resourced,’ she explains. GCSE Music was taught as one class outside of timetable and Year 9 was on a carousel. However, in the ten years since Monk’s Walk started using the Musical Futures approach, a school orchestra of 60 students has launched, alongside choirs and extra-curricular music clubs, and more than 20% of students now take instrumental lessons – approximately half of which are funded through pupil premium, with free lessons for every student that opts to take GCSE beyond KS3​. ‘The kids are singing all the time and there’s a piano in the canteen that’s always being played. The school has a really different vibe about it. Everywhere you go you can hear music,’ says Gower, who is now director of community music at Monk’s Walk and director of development at Musical Futures. There are three classes » MUSIC TEACHER | JUNE 2015 23