Students at Rivers Academy West London recently learnt about the power of music to express their feelings and enhance their learning.

From helping them to boost their mental wellbeing to combining different
subject areas, Year 8 students at the secondary school unleashed their creativity for a special song writing and album cover exercise.

English teacher Lauren Campbell provided the inspiration for the assignment, titled Express Yourself, having successfully co-written a hit song for British country star Danny McMahon.

The musician treated the students to a virtual concert which was well-received and left them inspired ahead of the launch of the project.

Almost 200 students took part and in addition to penning songs they also produced artwork for album covers to accompany their work.

They were encouraged to write about subjects that are meaningful to them and
themes ranged from climate change through to the Black Lives Matter

Students examine the work produced in classrooms transformed into record shops

Express Yourself was an opportunity to acquire knowledge through Applied Transdisciplinary Learning which combines different subject areas.

In this instance, students had elements of History, Music, Art and English sewn into their learning. ATL is a unique aspect of the curriculum at Aspirations Academies Trust, which Rivers is a part of.

ATL revolves around a driving question to channel learning and for this
initiative it was: How can we use the creative arts process to express ourselves?

English teacher Lauren Campbell

Miss Campbell, who last year peaked at No 2 in the iTunes UK country chart with her song Best Worst Habit, said: ‘’The students loved the virtual concert with Danny McMahon, it was really positive and it really left them inspired.
‘’He discussed the song writing process and they were able to ask lots of questions. It showed then that anyone is capable of writing a song.
‘’Some of the students used the topics they have been learning about as the starting points for their songs.’’

Students examine the work produced in classrooms transformed into record shops

Classrooms were turned into record shops upon completion of the 6 week project and students were given the opportunity to look at all the pieces produced and vote for their favourite.

Luke Homer, Vice Principal at Rivers, said: ‘’it was a very powerful
project and taught the students a number of skills from collaboration, how to research independently, to art and design. They also learnt the importance of re-drafting their work and the importance of it. The feedback from the students has been overwhelmingly positive.’’