Outdoor music classes hit the right note with school pupils

Schoolchildren in Dundee are blowing the Covid blues away by playing woodwind instruments in the playground.

Dundee school pupils are blowing the Covid blues away by learning to play woodwind instruments outdoors in a new musical education initiative.

For safety reasons, P5 pupils at Fintry Primary take to the playground with modified instruments – clarinets, flutes and saxophones. 

These lightweight instruments, known as Doods, Toots and Jays, are easier for young children to handle and play.

Traditional mouthpieces and reeds are used, so the pupils are leaning all the technique and skills they would otherwise but on instruments where smaller hands can better learn fingering positions.

The ‘Doods, Toots and Jays’ session the students receive is split into two parts – practical and musical skills.

In the practical part they learn outside in small groups.

While in the musical skills part of the lesson, the children work on pulse and rhythm, tying in with what they will be working on that week in the practical section.

As well as the in-person delivery, lessons are backed up with short videos of the various instrument specific skills for that week.

Dundee City Council children and families services convener Cllr Stewart Hunter visited Fintry Primary on May 19 to see the lessons in action.

He said: “This is yet another fantastic example of the innovation and imagination that is being applied in our schools across the city.

“For many years now we have used the power of arts and music and to engage with children and improve their learning.

“The idea for the Doods, Toots and Jays class was built on the existing sector leading work of both the council’s Aspire Dundee Music and Kodaly teams. 

“Pupils are learning to work as a team, building an ethos of trust and having fun at the same time.”