x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

New lesson will be music to pupil's ears

Primary school teachers have welcomed a decision by the Ministry of Education to increase music and arts instruction - in particular, Arab music - in schools.

ABU DHABI // Primary school teachers have welcomed a decision by the Ministry of Education to increase music and arts instruction - in particular, Arab music - in schools. The ministry announced at the weekend that, from the start of the next academic year, it would be introducing classes on musical theory and practice as well as artistic criticism and Emirati heritage for Grade 4 pupils. The decision follows the success of a similar programme for students in Grades 1-3. "My pupils are from small towns and villages in Fujairah," said Aziza Yousef al Mulla, the principal of Fatma bent Outba School in Fujairah. "They don't hear too much about music, and arts in general, so this special package for the lower grades last year helped them, and my school, to grow." Humaid al Qattami, the Minister of Education, highlighted the importance of incorporating local music heritage into the curriculum, according to the state news agency, WAM. There will be a focus on folk tunes and authentic Arab melodies. Although music and art are already compulsory subjects for Grades 1-5, teachers said the extra focus would be beneficial. "Music is life," said Mrs al Mulla. "No one can live life without music, and learning about it makes a complete person. It adds to the cocktail of subjects which contribute to a student's progress." The principal of Al Bayeraq Primary School in Al Ain, Mohammed al Hammadi, said it was a "pleasure" to hear the ministry's decision. His school, like most in Abu Dhabi, follows the curriculum set by Abu Dhabi Education Council not the ministry, but he said: "We want more Arabic and Emirati national music in our classes. We want something about our own culture. There is so much education about the whole world but nothing for us, nothing about the Emirates." Music teachers from private schools, where musical education is much more entrenched, agreed such classes are important to a child's development. "Every subject can relate back to music," said Mathew Curtis, a woodwind teacher from the British School Al Khubairat, in Abu Dhabi. "Maths, language, history and geography are all touched on when someone learns about music. Also there have been many studies showing that if you learn music, even for a few weeks, it can help your learning in every other way." aseaman@thenational.ae