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Hertfordshire Music Service Partnership with MusicFirst Fosters Student Collaboration and Learning

Connections enhance remote learning during the pandemic

January 6, 2021 – Hertfordshire Music Service (HMS) has partnered with MusicFirst to provide easy-to-use, cloud-based audio solutions that enable anytime and anywhere learning, keeping students engaged and connected during the pandemic. Soundtrap for Education is included in the service, enabling students to access an online audio recording studio for music and podcasts in a safe environment.

With generous support from Arts Council England, MusicFirst is currently being used in 35 schools in Hertfordshire, nearly half the secondary schools in the county. 

Ben Stevens, Director of Music at HMS, pointed out that Soundtrap is an important facet of the MusicFirst offering that is resonating with students on many levels.

“We’re finding that with the right tools like Soundtrap, we can have a much bigger impact on the mental health of young people, the social isolation of young people, and re-engagement with general education as well,” Stevens said.“Students and particularly pre-teens and teenagers know exactly what music software and technology is out there and they’re desperate to use technology in their studies. They’re all over it.”

At Simon Balle School, one in three students learn an instrument from Year 2 to Year 13. Mark Taylor, Director of Music at the school, noted: “Music is at the heart of what we do. Soundtrap engages students because they’re able to work at home and collaborate with other students remotely as a result of it being cloud-based and integrated into Google Classroom.” 

Taylor added that students gravitate to various Soundtrap features including songwriting, recording, and beats options that enable them to build a song from scratch.

Another benefit of Soundtrap is that it is helping keep students, even those who are disillusioned with school, engaged in learning. In this way it serves as both a prevention and intervention tool. 

“We found that music ─ songwriting, in particular ─ gives students a way of expressing themselves and it helps them re-engage with education and the ability to express themselves. It’s them. It’s their own lived experience in a song,” Stevens said. 

On the prevention front, the goal is to provide a shared experience for young people where they can collaborate with other students and create their own music at home to keep them connected to school.  

On the opposite end of the spectrum, at education support centres attended by students who have been expelled, Soundtrap and music serve a similar purpose.

“We engage them through music. It’s essentially an intervention but it’s a mixture. It’s therapy. It’s education,” Stevens said.

About Hertfordshire Music Service

Hertfordshire Music Service (HMS) is the lead organisation in the Hertfordshire Music Education Hub. HMS has been delivering outstanding music tuition in Hertfordshire for decades, and today over 450 staff teach more than 26,000 pupils every week. Its vision for 2020-30 is to ‘Enable all young people in Hertfordshire to discover or develop their own unique musical voice and express themselves through the language of music.’

About MusicFirst 

MusicFirst, the Digital Education Division of  Wise Music Group, was founded with one mission: to offer music teachers and their students easy-to-use, affordable, cloud-based solutions that enable music learning, creation, assessment, sharing, and exploration on any device, at any time, anywhere. The MusicFirst team is made up of current and former music educators with decades of experience with integrating technology effectively into the music curriculum. 

About Soundtrap 

Soundtrap, a part of Spotify, is on a mission to make music creation and storytelling simple and collaborative for everyone. Soundtrap for Education is an online audio recording studio that enables students and teachers to collaborate in a safe learning environment, using any device, at any time, from any location. Soundtrap is headquartered in Stockholm, Sweden with offices in New York and Los Angeles. For more information, visit http://www.soundtrap.com/edu

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