21st June marks World Music Day (or ‘Make Music Day’), celebrating the power of music to bring people together. It started in France in 1982, to unite communities from across towns and cities and provide an opportunity for people to create and perform music together. Since then the festival has grown in popularity and is now celebrated in over 700 cities in 120 countries around the globe.

World Music Day is a valuable opportunity to consider why music is important to us, but you may be wondering how to celebrate World Music Day…. This post shares some simple ways in which it can be celebrated by everyone in school.

Without John Williams, bikes don’t fly, nor do brooms in Quidditch matches, nor do men in red capes. There is no Force. Dinosaurs do not walk the earth. We do not wonder, we do not weep, we do not believe.

Steven Spielberg

1. Teachers’ Favourite Song / Album

Get colleagues involved in World Music Day by asking each teacher to name their favourite artist / song / album and then display posters around the school site or on their classroom door (“My favourite song is…” or “Today I’m listening to…”). It’s a sure way to prompt conversations between teachers and students and adds a fun dimension to the day.

2. Music-making Around School

Although we want to encourage music-making all year round, World Music Day is the ideal opportunity to shake things up a bit – try these ideas for maximum impact:

  • If appropriate in your setting, place pianos / keyboards or other suitable instruments around the school and encourage pupils (and staff!) to play at break and lunchtimes.
  • Set up a karaoke area in one of the music rooms.
  • Organise a lunchtime concert.
  • Find out which colleagues play instruments and encourage them to bring them in – how about a staff jamming session?!

3. World Music Day Class Playlist

Ask each tutor group to create a class playlist and collate on a suitable streaming platform. Pupils could choose a track individually or in pairs and share why they chose that particular piece. Then share the lists between classes and use as a focal point for a themed assembly.

4. Celebrating Cultural Diversity

Ask students to share musical traditions from their family / ancestral backgrounds. They may wish to bring in and play an instrument or sing a song, share a YouTube video or talk about a special festival.

5. External Workshops

Image credits: InspireWorks ‘Drumbeatable’ programme (L) and Beat Goes On workshop (R)

If you have the budget, bringing in an external provider in to deliver a workshop can be a fantastic experience for students and a great way to celebrate World Music Day. Why not end the day with an informal concert for parents to attend?

Organisations such as Beat Goes On (Body percussion), InspireWorks (World Music and Dance specialists) come highly recommended from UK teachers.

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