Case Study: Primary School

Southdale Primary School, West Lothian

Multiple Classes P1-7

Traditional vs. Technological

Southdale Primary School is a council run school in Bathgate, part of the West Lothian District. Soundbops was trialed for a day to see how children would interact with our instrument in comparison to traditional early years instruments; and to see if our materials could make teachers more comfortable teaching music.

Sheet Music Made Simple

Over the course of the session the kids got an opportunity to play with the Soundbops, testing out the various different teaching materials. “I think it’s really interesting, actually, using this… to see how they follow the Soundbops (music sheets) and how they’ve been investigating the different sounds and chords.” It was felt that the setup of the simplified sheet music helped the children get to grips with the songs: “The children will get a lot out of it because they get an instant sound coming out and a simple colour code to follow, and of course with the words going underneath they can sing-a-long as well.”

Instant Success

The tactile nature of the Soundbops engaged the children from the start. “I think there’s that feeling of instant success, that a lot of them will like, which you wouldn’t get from a keyboard; which is a million keys that all look the same, whereas here, they can see straight away if they are hitting the wrong one.”

Intuitive Play

During the trial the children were asked about whether or not they found the Soundbops fun to play and easy to learn, they responded with a gleeful affirmation. “I can remember when we were in music before and we were using… the glockenspiel and the xylophone, and it took us a lot longer to play a little bit of a tune to play than it took you today to play three different tunes… So it was nice to see that.” It was felt there were interdisciplinary benefits to learning music from the notes up: “I like how they’ve been using the different letters of the alphabet to play about with sounds.” 

Creating Confidence

It was felt that Soundbops could adapt fairly well to different classroom situations: “It would be good for paired work and things like that, one looking at the book and one looking at the keys, the buttons, and then swapping over as well.”... “I love all the different choices of instruments and things like that, volume up and volume down, which will be good for teaching in a class as well, wee bit louder or quieter depending on how many kids would be working on it”

The simplified and bright nature of the Soundbops and its surrounding material also allowed for the teachers to become a little more comfortable with music teaching. “I’m not very confident in teaching music, and I think something like that really would make me feel more confident. It gives me the notes so I can hear the sounds, but also I can model it properly to the children and not feel embarrassed… I enjoyed it.”