Musical Bridges: transforming transition is a national initiative that helps schools improve their students’ transfer experiences into secondary school. With a focus on students’ engagement in music-making, the initiative brings primary and secondary music teachers together to co-develop lesson plans, curriculum materials and shared repertoire to create pathways which support their students’ musical progression into their secondary schools.
Following a four year development phase, funded by Paul Hamlyn Foundation, Musical Bridges has produced a raft of free online resources for schools to use. These include specially commissioned music pieces in a variety of genres that can be adapted for use by upper primary and lower secondary school students. There are also tools to help schools assess the effectiveness of their transition procedures and case studies showing how transition has been ‘bridged’ by schools in a variety of contrasting environments.
More broadly, Musical Bridges is based on an adaptation of a research framework called Five Bridges of Transition. This emphasises the importance of joining up students’ administrative arrangements with their need for pastoral support, a shared approach to the curriculum and pedagogy and, last but not least, the value students themselves attach to using their musical experience as a practical and emotional ‘bridge’ to support their move to secondary school.
The Musical Bridges online resources, tools and research are embedded in Music Mark, the recently formed national organisation for music education.