As Army families, we often look to provide stability in our children’s lives. AFF Education & Childcare Specialist Lucy Scott investigates how you can take music with you wherever you are…
IT DOES not matter how good you are, it’s about how music makes you feel. When my eldest said that he wanted to take up the guitar around the time of his AS Levels, it wasn’t exactly music to my ears. Shouldn’t he be studying? What about the cost?
But I found that it was perfect for allowing him time to relax before exams, and you can always hire or pick up instruments second hand. I bought a bargain guitar on our local Facebook page and he found free lessons online.
Tune in together
Music can be a great social activity. Whether you have tiny tots or teens, there’s usually something music-related going on near you.
In Watchfield, smiling faces arrive for a session of Cheeky Little Monkeys, a sing-along group for under-fives attended by mums, dads and older siblings of different nationalities.
It helps children express themselves and build confidence – and it’s a great way to bring military and civilian families together.
Between the drums and the bells, I chatted to some of the Service families.
“Jack has been coming here since he was under one,” explained mum Felicity. “He now recognises the sounds and when to stop and start.”
Tomi and her daughter Akane are from Japan: “This is a great opportunity to learn British nursery songs, which is helping her with learning two languages,” she said.
Have a go
Music forms part of the national curriculum so will feature in your child’s learning.
Some primary schools include a term of free lessons and extra-curricular activities are often on offer, but there’s sometimes a cost.
Army spouse Alison is the mum of Lucy, who studies performing arts at her local sixth form college. She said: “Lucy has dyslexia and it’s turned out to be an unexpected advantage. She is able to push through her musicality and creativity despite the struggles she has academically.
“Without music, she wouldn’t be the person she is today. It has been the making of her.”
Harmony for boarders
If your child is at boarding school, find out how much extra you’ll need to pay for music lessons as the bill can soon mount up. Check whether there’s a notice period for swapping instruments or discontinuing lessons too.
One school that places music high on its priorities is The Duke of York’s Royal Military School.
“We troop our colour every year and we can’t have a parade without a band. It’s a central part of the fabric of our school,” explained director of military music Major (Retd) David Cresswell.
Pupils also have the chance to try out instruments in the military band and they receive a year’s free tuition funded by the MOD.
Music is something you can take with you and also provides memories that are uniquely linked to each posting.
If you have musical experiences to share, get in touch with Lucy at firstname.lastname@example.org