Research Project Info 2021-22

We are looking for schools with P4 or P5 classes who haven't received a lot of classroom music education over the last 18 months, to take part in a research project delivered by Glasgow Caledonia University.

The research project will involve your P5 class doing a straightforward (and really fun) series of 1 music lesson a week for about 5 weeks. These lessons can be run by any teacher - musical skills/confidence are not required.


You will get 12-months free subscription for ABC Creative Music Online resources, worth up to £300, for your whole school.

So as well as a really fun project for your P5 Class to do - including free online CPD training for your P5 teacher (and any other teacher who wants to run the research project with your P5 class)- your school gets full access to ABC Primary Online resources.

Space is limited and will be allocated on a first-come first-served basis.

If you are interested or need more info please call Tom on 07974 983701

Or read on...


In 2021 ABC Creative Music conducted a pilot in the Western Isles for using a classroom creative approach for a pre-instrumental course for children about to start instrumental learning. This had very promising results in using creativity to develop rhythm and notation skills in children at the beginning of their journey to learn music.
Here is a quote from:

Gavin Woods, Instrumental Music Teacher & Chair Western Isles IMT network

I recently had the good fortune to be asked to deliver an eight-week pilot of the ABC Creative Music course to P5 classes in the Western Isles. A large part of the course is delivered using a software programme ideally from a whiteboard.

The software proved invaluable and simple to use, not only illuminating the concepts I was delivering, but also making them easier to explain and fun to participate in. The course also utilised creativity and role play to engage pupils in real musical activity and as a result students learned from doing rather than just listening. 

Perhaps the most impressive technique was using shapes to introduce rhythm.  The effectiveness of this method led to an entire P5 class correctly notating a series of random rhythms clapped by myself from the front of the class and being able to read and play a piece for chime bars from a musical score. 

The results, even after just 8 weeks were quite amazing and, the kids, class teacher and I loved it!

To see a series of short videos explaining ABC's pre-instrumental
learning approach go here.


Main Elements:

The approach is based on the following components:

1. Creative Group Work & Performance Role Playing in the Classroom:

Children have fun doing simple rhythm composing activities in groups, which they then perform to their classmates using a very structured audition process reminiscent of Britain's Got Talent/X factor . Lots of fun is had and engagement is very high and learning is very fast - rhythm skills, performing skills, conducting skills plus risk-free experience of creativity in groups.
We would summarise this approach as - Baby C Creativity* creates Enjoyment and Engagement which Drives Learning.
Baby C Creativity is creativity using carefully designed on-screen interactives and pre-designed handouts where it is impossible for children to have a negative or unsuccessful outcome.
For more info on the theoretical basis and research underpinning this work go here.

2. Use of Shape Notation:

Shape Notation- Say/Clap/Play the shape name .(Square = 1 syllable = 1 crotchet, Circle - 2 syllables = 2 Quavers, Shh + 1 beat audible rest)

Here is a short video explaining simple shape rhythms.


Below are examples of shape rhythms being converted to conventional stave notation.

Shape Notation allows :

  • rapid acquisition and improvement of rhythm skills - in performing and notating,

  • is very non-specialist , child, and handout friendly,
  • easily converts to conventional notation - shapes grow one stick per syllable.


3. Use of Online Interactives and Videos:

The online interactives are clearly laid out and have loads of choices for children - a range of funky backing grooves, and different sounds giving them lots of control and allowing them to hear their compositions in way that is exciting and inspiring. " We want to learn to play what we have composed!"
The interactives and online videos make teaching simple, and easy and learning fun and exciting.
And shape can be turned into conventional notation at the touch of a button! 

To try out the on-screen interactives used in ABC's pre-instrumental
learning approach go here.


Next Steps:

We are looking to continue research work we have been doing with Glasgow Caledonian University on academically evaluating the outcomes of our educational approaches and are looking for schools and local authorities interested in taking part in this research project.  

This will be part of a bid to the YMI Strengthening Fund-
application deadline September 6th.

How Could You Be Involved:

We are looking for schools with P4 or P5 classes who haven't received a lot of classroom music education
over the last 18 months, to take part in this research project.

Local Authorities:

We are interested in recruiting schools to take part on the research project and the project can be run by:

  • Non-specialist classroom Teachers

  • Interested Classroom Music Specialists

  • Interested Instrumental Music Instructors
  • Or any combination of the above.

We would provide your staff with free online CPD training - which would be 2x 1 hour sessions before the start of the pilot and then 2x 1 hour sessions during the pilot. Then staff would run 5x 45-60 minute lessons ( or more shorter lessons according to their timetable/preference). This could take anywhere between 3 weeks and 5 weeks according to the Classroom Teacher/school preference.

There would be evaluations of the children before during and after the programme. We may also request that some classes are videoed. This research would involve a standard ethics application by Glasgow Caledonian University researchers,


This project can be run by a non-specialist classroom teacher who doesn't have to be musically confident but would need to attend CPD training and be willing to take part in the research, Your staff will receive online CPD training for your participating classroom teacher plus free access for your school to the full ABC Creative Music resource for 12 months.

We will be selecting a limited number of schools to be partners in the funding bid - participating schools will receive the free access to ABC resources by taking part in the bid, and this access will be available to your school for 12 months whether or not we are successful in gaining the funding.

Project Start Time:

Due to the timing of the YMI funding deadlines and decision making. This project can only start in January 2022.


If this is of interest please call Tom Bancroft on 07974 983701
or email him at