New Matlock board game strikes a chord with youngsters

A MATLOCK musician is set to launch an innovative board game in a bid to help youngsters hit the high notes when studying music theory.

Mark Percival, 30, who has been a music teacher for ten years, wanted to create a fun way to teach pupils how to read music and learn about musical terms and instruments.

He has now developed Musical Trixstar, which will be launched in schools in February, and has received the backing of music leaders across the country.

He said: "I was fed up of the lack of music teaching in schools. Music is seen as very hard to teach but it has to be included in the curriculum. Often it gets over-looked.

"The consensus is music is difficult but it doesn't have to be if taught well."

Mark has been working on the game since April, with help from his wife Jo, and has funded everything himself.

So far he is in the process of producing 2,000 games with orders from schools across the country.

The game, aimed at children aged seven and older, contains questions to help read music and develop general music knowledge. It is based on the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music and Trinity Guildhalls exam syllabuses and can be used by beginners or children studying music theory. It can also be played as a family board game.

Pupils at St Giles' Primary School in Matlock, one of 30 Derbyshire Schools to be awarded the Quality Mark for music making, have tried out the game.

Head teacher Julie Stanton said it was a must for all schools.

The game has also been praised by Philip King, school improvement advisor with responsibility for the city and county music partnership, Chris Wormald, former Classic FM Teacher of the Year and James Murphy, director of communications at the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain.

Mark added: "I always wanted to create something that could make a difference. I've put everything on the line to do it. The response I've had from children so far has been great. Hopefully it will make music more fun and help to break down some teaching barriers."

The game costs 39.99; for more information go to