A north-east teacher has created a unique online programme that allowed primary school pupils to enjoy music classes during the pandemic.
Donna Minto, from Kingswells in Aberdeen, is behind Miss Minto’s Musical Moments – 200 specially-created activities based around music.
The idea started as a new package every weekday, in support of her primary class teacher colleagues and in so doing offering music access for primary school pupils to sing along and learn.
The online resource – available to schools across the UK – started during the first Covid-19 lockdown in the summer of 2020.
Each of the moments features links to videos of people playing instruments as well as facts about famous musicians.
They include a choir belting out Queen’s iconic Bohemian Rhapsody, a performance of Highland Cathedral by a flute band from Germany, Stornoway’s Peat and Diesel and a recorder cover of Bad Guy by Billie Eilish.
Donna, who is vice-chairwoman of the Scottish Association for Music Education (Same), has even added some of her own songs as she plays piano and violin.
Some of the topics covered by the musical moments include countries, animals, body percussion, beatboxing and Westerns.
There are also seasonally connected items such as fireworks and Guy Fawkes, Christmas, spring and Robert Burns.
All 200 of the musical moments have been used by schools across Aberdeenshire and they have featured in the lockdown curriculum in schools south of the border.
Donna, who works as a visiting music specialist teacher at five primary schools for Aberdeenshire Council, said she wanted to make music that was still part of the classroom for young children during the pandemic.
She said: “It started at the beginning of lockdown when most of the teaching was done online.
“I was teaching full-time at that time and I had to come up with something to support the schools.
“I put something together specifically for children. It was a general look at music but after a while, I wanted to do more musical moments so it is a mix of all kinds of music.
“It is actually a very good way of continuing to provide music in primary schools. A lot of schools used and they have even spread to some schools in England.
“I don’t have time to produce new ones so I’ve stopped at 200 and people can dip in and out of them if they want.
“I’m very happy they have proved to be useful at a time when everyone was doing the best they could.”
Miss Minto’s Musical Moments are a ‘lasting legacy’
A spokesman for Same said that Donna had created a “truly lasting legacy” as a result of her efforts.
He added: “Donna’s work, and indeed that of Same offers support to primary school learning and to teachers in an era where music teaching and learning has lost out with the disappearance from many areas of the once well-supported and financed system of visiting specialists.
“Superstars and jacks-of-all-trades as primary teachers are and have to be, many value the support and materials such as Donna has provided.
“Congratulations to Donna and a massive thank you as she reaches her notable 200 mark. A great achievement and a truly lasting legacy.”
All 200 of the musical moments can be found here https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1VamygZtyJkAJ0Cf3upZ7swublnP_kgzp