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MWC at the Expo – Maria’s Story

The Music Workshop Company Artistic Director and Founder Maria Thomas and the MWC team enjoyed a productive and inspiring time at the 2015 Rhinegold Music Education Expo. The Expo, which was held at London’s Barbican Centre on March 12th and 13th, gives music educators, teachers, workshop leaders, musicians and practitioners and all those involved in music education a chance to come together and share ideas and information.

Here’s Maria’s account of the Expo…

The time we spent at the Expo was brilliant. We had a fabulous time chatting to current clients, friends and colleagues as well as meeting new people.

Adelia and Jewande2

Our stand was placed right at the top of the stairs on the way in, directly opposite the Rhinegold Theatre where lots of talks and workshops are held, so we were often the first people the delegates met on their way in. We often found ourselves pointing out directions to the cloakroom and the seminar rooms, but this gave us a great opportunity talk to people and to find out what they do. It was so exciting to hear about the various projects being run in schools, music hubs and music centres, with community groups and other organisations.

One of the highlights for us were hearing the Friday morning warm up session in the Rhinegold Theatre led by Sing for Pleasure’s Catherine Beddison. It was a great start to the day!

We had set up Top Tips Live sessions, consultations for clients, and these led to some interesting discussions including giving advice on finding tutors to run drumming workshops, advice on how to get started as a workshop leader and top tips on setting up an Arts Festival.

Jo and Alson7Several of of our workshop leaders were there too. Ollie, who contributed to our January blog about Body Percussion, stopped by to say hello, and Jo, our spoons expert gave Alison, our Projects Manager an impromptu introductory lesson how to play the spoons [add photo]. To get a taste of Jo’s work, check out the video at the end of this post…

1_ISM_logoIt was lovely to see our friends at the ISM and to hear about their important work. If you are not aware of the ISM, they protect and support their members by providing them with expert advice, insurance and specialists services as well as offering access to a community of like-minded professionals and the status that comes with being a member of a professional body.

We caught up with Matt Parry, writer, director and producer of The Opus Pocus. We first met Matt at the 2013 Music Education Expo when he was launching his Kickstarter campaign to raise funds to turn his version of Sheherazade into a graphic novel. He had recorded the music of Rimsky-Korsakov’s Scheherazade with characters voiced by actors including Brian Blessed and Rory Bremner and was looking to raise money to commission a graphic novel to go with the recording. The Kickstarter campaign was successful and the graphic novel is now available from the Opus Pocus shop. The Opus Pocus went on to win the Intuit StartUp Britain Competition which has enabled Matt and his team to develop the website. Matt has exciting plans for the future including an Opus Pocus app and live shows!

All in all, the Music Education Expo is a great opportunity for us to meet face to face with current and potential clients and to find out what they want from workshop providers. This enables us to tailor our offering to suit their needs. It creates a space for us to sit down and have a really in depth conversation about their requirements and past experiences. It’s also great for networking; to find new workshop leaders, develop new partnerships and to keep up to date with changes to music education; for example, the forthcoming changes to GSCE, AS and A-Level.

Since the Expo we have been talking to several organisations about contributing to our blog, and are really looking forward to being able to share their expertise with you. Watch this space!

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