“Music for Life” is our motto at the Len Tyler Music School. Read on to find out what first got me passionate about teaching here and what drives our ongoing quest to be the best we can for the benefit of the children that come to us.
This article was first published by Nadja Flowerdew @ Weaving Rainbows on 12 November 2018. To read more of her articles, make your way over to weaving-rainbows.co.uk.
I first came across the Len Tyler Music School when I was running a natural parenting support group at my local children’s centre. Len came and did a free music session (available to all local parent and toddler groups), and I was hooked. I loved the pace, the dynamics, the beautiful sound we were creating and I knew this was for the keeping.
As I began attending classes with my oldest two (both boys, one aged two, the other a newborn), I really fell in love with this way of teaching music. What particularly impressed me was how aware the teachers were of each individual child. My oldest was and still is a spirited child, he would amplify the mood in a room by a factor of x100. If kids were bouncy balls then when other kids bounced a foot, he would hit the ceiling, both in his excitement and his frustration. So taking him to any sort of class was a challenge, especially with baby brother in tow.
But at the Len Tyler classes, that was fine. The combination of a very varied and active programme with lots of movement, story lines woven into the session, changes of mood and the teachers’ ability to respond sensitively to the individual children kept him engaged. Added to that was a good dose of positive discipline – respectful treatment of instruments, turn-taking and sharing – and I realized very soon that not only were my children learning to sing, and sing well, they were practising vital social skills! Yes, some sessions were hard work (if you’re the parent of a spirited child you know what I’m talking about), but in the long run, we have benefited all-round. Six years on, all my children still love their music classes!
Now, teaching is the highlight of my week. I love the connection that I get to have with all the lovely little people that come to my classes. I love finding out what makes them tick, what captures their attention, what makes them want to engage. Their enjoyment is my success.
And I love the fact that this is the same for every teacher on the team. Their knowledge and experience, their passion for the children – I feel very privileged to work with such a fantastic bunch of people and keep learning from them, while being encouraged to develop my own style of teaching. Joy is the driving force behind what we do and when we plan lessons, while we want to cover certain material we know that teaching it imaginatively is the way to go!
Underpinning all that we do is a system of teaching music that is intuitive, powerful and inherently logical. Kodály, the mastermind behind this approach, had a real knack for doing things in the right order. He was ahead of his time, harnessing the power of experiential and multi-sensory learning, long before this became the vogue among educators. The great thing about it is that the children get it. They really can do the things we ask of them and many instrumental teachers that work with children that have attended our classes confirm this. For me, personally, as a teacher, this is great news, it keeps me motivated, buzzing.