Anne Stearns with Grade 6 students
  • Program will help improve students’ academic standing and learning development
  • All Grade 6 students will learn an instrument during the academic year
Anne Stearns with Grade 6 students

Sharjah: The Victoria International School of Sharjah (VISS), a premium school offering the Australian Curriculum and IB diploma, has become one of the first schools in the UAE to introduce band lessons for all Grade 6 students.

Starting this academic year, all Grade 6 students will take instrumental lessons as part of the curriculum. The program will help provide insights into the impact learning an instrument has on education and how valuable it is for students’ academic development.

By launching the band program in Grade 6, the school is looking to prepare students for IB Music, which VISS will soon introduce as a core subject in their IB curriculum.

“Our aim with this program is to not only raise the level of the students’ musical abilities, but we also want to help them improve their personal, creative and cognitive skills,” said Anne Stearns, Director of Music at VISS. “As students learn how to play the instrument and overcome the challenge of experiencing something new, it will help build discipline, persistence, and self-esteem. We want the students to see the relevance of learning an instrument, and how much value it can offer as life-long learners who are open to new experiences.”

During the program, students will explore various elements of music by learning different styles and technical skills. Each student will learn how these elements are used to communicate ideas and they will test these skills to compose and perform music either independently or within a small group.

“I’ve had my saxophone for four weeks,” said Aysha from Grade 6 who plays the saxophone. “I can play three notes. The program is really fun and I also know it’s very good for our knowledge. At the end of the year, I want to be able to play all the notes.”

At the start of the year, students had the chance to practice and play an instrument from one of the three music instrument groups – woodwind, brass or percussion. After careful assessment of the student’s musical and physical ability, the teachers allotted each student with an instrument for the school year. Throughout the program, students will have access to a text book, video and audio material specific to their instrument to practice and improve their skills.

“By incorporating a band program into our middle school curriculum, we are giving our students the opportunity to develop skills beyond the classroom,” said Dean Pyrah, Principal of VISS. “We are committed to providing our students with the best learning practices that will nurture them to become the leaders of tomorrow.

“With this program, we are looking to align with the government on their vision to introduce creative arts within school curriculums.”

Several studies have also proven a positive link between musical training and executive function.

According to Dr. Anita Collins, Assistant Professor of Music and Arts Education at the University of Canberra, who spoke on the topic of How playing an instrument benefits your brain at the Ted Ed’s ‘Lesson Worth Sharing’, music is the best form of exercise for a child’s brain as it  improves on math, language, and reasoning skills. Dr. Collins highlighted different neurologist studies that prove how the artistic and aesthetic aspects involved in playing an instrument also helps enhance memory.

About Victoria International School of Sharjah:

The Victoria International School of Sharjah (VISS) – a school which seeks to be the leading school in the region – was established by The Ruler of Sharjah; His Highness Dr. Sheikh Sultan Bin Mohammed Al-Qasimi, in conjunction with the State of Victoria, in Australia, to provide students with an excellent all-round education so they can become responsible global citizens as the leaders of tomorrow. At VISS, we are committed to providing each student with powerful, lifelong learning tools in an ever-challenging and personally rewarding environment. To be a student at VISS means to access opportunity – the opportunity to learn, develop and excel.