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Lifemusic In The Classroom


Lifemusic TRAINING for Primary School Teachers


The LIFEMUSIC Workshop for Primary School Teachers, developed over many years at the University of Chichester, offers a unique and well-tested approach to help non-specialist & specialist primary school teachers facilitate practical, creative music sessions through play & improvisation.

Primary school teachers are understandably cautious when introducing live music making into their classrooms. Indeed teachers may prefer to avoid such a potentially chaotic activity. The rewards for doing so are many-fold if the teacher is prepared to grasp the nettle. Music can be noisy and awkward to manage, especially when 30 or so young children are involved. This would be the case when rehearsing well co-ordinated musical structures including singing, so encouraging children to be creative with sound or to improvise presents even more dilemmas.

The Lifemusic method however, provides ready-made and easy to access structures called ‘holding forms’ many of which can be employed successfully in the classroom as vehicles for creative improvisation.


As suggested by the descriptor, a ‘holding form’ is designed to maintain the coherence of a musical idea even as it is being developed and performed – instant composition. This is
the essence of improvisation, the primary source of all music making.


Improvisation means, literally, ‘unforeseen’ which can sit uneasily within a planned curriculum. But unforeseen does not mean unplanned, so to improvise is to be fully prepared for all eventualities; not a bad thing to encourage in young children.

Lifemusic is unique in that it can be learned and used by both musically trained and untrained individuals. 

The Lifemusic Workshop provides teachers with the kind of activities which can ensure that all members of the classroom are involved whilst allowing for creative exploration and improvisation.


Chaos and cacophony are avoided through the use of the holding form. At a later stage, when trust has been built up and students begin to understand how musically rewarding it can be to listen with attention and to improvise with intent, then holding forms become more and more background features of music making and the creative improvisation occupies the foreground.


Eventually this work can lead into performance and there is nothing quite as satisfying as inviting witnesses to share the experience – an audience in fact.

Everybody is musical

There are no wrong notes in music

Every sound has a meaning

Making music is an act of trust

can be learned and used by both the musically trained and untrained.

The Lifemusic training will equip you to:

  • Facilitate a 60 minute classrom session according to the Lifemusic method

  • Manage the session effectively

  • Initiate group music making

  • Help develop student communication skills both non-verbally and musically.

  • Design and deliver sessions which focus on the needs of specific educational needs.

  • Evaluate your work in terms of well-being, group awareness and class/school community building.

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