Spotlight on Poppy
Poppy joined the Modulo Programme in 2017 as a trainee music teacher at Willowfield School in Walthamstow, East London. She participated in the Modulo Programme and Conductors for Change to support her development as an ensemble leader.
Poppy’s teacher training route, Teach First, threw her in at the deep end, with a timetable of classes and extra-curricular activities to manage from the very beginning. Poppy found the role incredibly busy: “It is fair to say that music teaching is in no way limited to the classroom and extra-curricular responsibilities form a significant part of your role.” As with all new teachers, the pressure on Poppy was intense: “having to cope with teaching for the first time is hard enough and so it was important my extra-curricular responsibilities did not become another burden or cause of stress.”
Poppy signed up for the Modulo Programme in order to gain practical support with these pressures. The inclusiveness of the programme was key to kickstarting music-making at Poppy’s school: “The [Modulo] resources were truly tailored to all instruments and abilities and so all pupils have a part they feel they can play, ensuring the sound they create as well as the atmosphere in rehearsals is always positive. Pupils who have never picked up an instrument before play alongside pupils who are sitting grade five and six exams in their instruments”.
The programme also enabled orchestral and non-orchestral instruments to integrate: “Guitarists, keyboard players and percussionists can all join in too, which has certainly created invaluable opportunities for pupils who play instruments that typically are quite isolated”. Unexpectedly, the programme also increased interest in playing orchestral instruments, something Poppy was able to proactively support by creating an instrument library for pupils who came to rehearsals to watch friends and ended up joining in.
The programme actively improved the reputation of and participation in music at Willowfield: “Only two students came to my first rehearsal… by the end of my first term I had 12 pupils in our Modulo. I get new pupils trying to join every week and have had to now organise after-school rehearsals due to its popularity!”
For Poppy, involvement in the programme has proved invaluable in enabling her professional development: “as a young teacher who walked into a new school for the first time in September, I’m sure I couldn’t have run such a successful extra-curricular offering at my school without the Modulo Programme. Modulo takes all the worry out of organising an ensemble and rehearsals – I never have to worry about finding scores, what to practise and whether it’s suitable or if the pupils would like it – my pupils love the arrangements!”