Teacher Hub

Meet the teacher - Astamarie Hodgson, POWIIS Tanjung Bungah, Penang, Malaysia

Written by Anna Gower30/10/23

Astamarie has been head of music at POWIIS Tanjung Bungah, Penang, Malaysia for the last 4 years.

The teaching space at the school consists of one large room with a partition that allows it to be opened up to create a larger performance/rehearsal space for whole year group singing or informal recitals.

As the school grew it needed 2 classrooms for music lessons to be timetabled together. So another room was carpeted and taken by the music department to create a 3rd teaching space.

With 3 teaching spaces, these have been organised into rooms for EY/KS1, Years 3 and 4, and Years 5,6,7. In the EY/KS1 room there is plenty of smaller sized percussion and other instruments; the display boards are also positioned lower on the walls to make them more accessible for the younger children.

In the Y3 and Y4 room is a selection of percussion, tuned and untuned, including gathering drums, Wak-a-Tubes, xylophones, traditional percussion instruments, and there is a digital piano and also a smartboard in each room, along with with storage space.

The orchestral instrumental programme uses all of the rooms for teaching and there is also a suite of 6 small, practice rooms which are used for 1:1 instrumental music lessons and for private practice.

Generally the classrooms are well equipped and are a good size, although soundproofing in the practice is rooms needed. Looking ahead, Astamarie would like to add a recording room and studio set up.

The one piece of equipment Astamarie couldn’t manage without is her voice. There is so much that you can do musically using your voice and it’s something you always carry with you and can use for free! Lessons at POWIIS include lots of singing. For those teachers with quieter voices, or needing to support their voice in the classroom, there are a number of portable and easily used amplifiers.

On Astamarie’s wishlist is a performance space, perhaps a small theatre that could be used just for for the arts. They currently have access to a shared space for performances, but this can cause issues when it’s in high demand.

Another issue is with hanging onto chairs as these often get borrowed and are needed for cellos. There are no tables in the department, allowing for more flexible use of the spaces.