Hello and welcome to Music at St Wilfrid’s Catholic Academy!
My name is Mr Balzarano and I am the music teacher here at our school.
Music is a universal language, and I believe it embodies one of the highest forms of creativity. I have always been passionate about music. I am fortunate to have been given many opportunities to excel in the subject because of having such creative and inspiring music educators during my school years. I have always harboured a want to ‘pay it forward’ and provide the same musical encouragement and enjoyment to children that I received at their age. I have had a long career in piano and electronic keyboard performance in addition to my teaching. I have worked with professional touring bands in my native Australia, and have received many accolades that include passing the Australian Guild of Music Professional Performance examination with high distinction; gaining a Diploma in Music (Hons) from the Australian International Conservatorium of Music; being a four-time state champion, three-time national runner-up, and Australian representative in electronic organ/keyboard competitions run by Yamaha Music; and completing both my Masters Degree and Doctorate (PhD) in Music at Keele University here in Staffordshire.
What does a music lesson look like at St Wilfrid’s?
The music education at our school engages and inspires pupils to develop a love of the art and their talent as musicians, leading to an increase in their self-confidence, creativity and sense of achievement. As pupils progress with their learning from Nursery to Year 6, they develop a critical engagement with music, allowing them to perform, improvise and compose, and to listen with discrimination to a broad range of musical styles. To observe a music lesson here at St Wilfrid’s, regardless of the year group, you would enjoy an integrated, practical, exploratory and child-led approach to the musical learning being undertaken. All in an open, innovative, and fun atmosphere!
Our Music curriculum ensures that all our pupils:
· Perform, listen to, review and evaluate music across a range of historical periods, genres, styles and traditions, including the works of the great composers and musicians
· Learn to sing and to use their voices, to improvise, create, and compose music on their own and with others, have the opportunity to learn a musical instrument, use technology appropriately and have the opportunity to progress to the next level of musical excellence
· Understand and explore how music is created, produced and communicated, including through the inter-related dimensions: pitch, duration, dynamics, tempo, timbre, texture, structure and appropriate musical notations.
As a class project, Year 4 composed a Rap Song to celebrate Anti-Bullying Week. They performed it in school to a professional backing track!
In addition to their weekly curriculum lessons, opportunities to learn a musical instrument as a whole class and/or small ensemble group are offered in our school. Each class have enjoyed learning to play the glockenspiel as part of their weekly music studies. Year 3 have also had the opportunity to learn the increasingly popular ukulele as part of their lessons, requiring them to learn how to not just strum chords but sing along at the same time! A challenge I know they have all enjoyed and excelled at. With the recent acquisition of 15 Yamaha Portable Keyboards, Year 5 have been given the chance to learn Mr Balzarano's primary instrument as part of a weekly keyboard workshop too.
Each year the school is involved in both small and large scale musical events allowing the children the experience of performing live. These include Christmas and summer concerts held every year in our school auditorium and with other collegiate schools at St Margaret Ward Catholic Academy for families to enjoy, the annual Young Voices choir spectacular, choir collaborations with Lichfield Cathedral School, and performances within the local community such as singing at local nursing homes and Christmas carolling. External music specialists also visit our school to provide a range of interactive workshops, offering the children experiences within a broader catalogue of musical styles.
What the children say:
“Music at St Wilfrid’s makes me feel relaxed and I feel good when I let my mind explore through all the different elements of music. Each Friday I look forward to hearing a new song and learning about its style and genre”.
“In music, I love to improvise and listen to different songs. I like the creative side of music and when we were writing raps I really enjoyed it as it was about expressing our identity”.
“Whilst studying music at St Wilfrid’s, I have mostly enjoyed creating my own compositions. I like doing this because it gives me the chance to express how I feel which is fun and makes me feel happy. I also enjoy listening to new music each week. Music is powerful to me, I feel as if some music can speak to me and get me up if I’m feeling down”.