Music Mark Conference 2018 – Youth Voice

On Thursday 22ndand Friday 23rdNovember 2018, Kenilworth welcomed music educators from across the country to Music Mark’s 2018 annual conference to discuss the theme of “Youth Voice.” MWC’s Maria Thomas was there…

With sessions on topics such as Whose Music Education is it?, Trust the music – connection with young audiences, Youth Governance, Ensembles and young people, and Reaching out to Young People – Shake up your marketing and communications strategy, one key message was engaging young people in the music education discussion.

But there were also discussions on the gender gap in music – currently across the UK only 14% of music creators (composers and songwriters)  registered with the Performing Rights Society (PRS) are women – increasing investment in and access to musicmaking for deaf children and young people, mental health and wellbeing support for teachers within music services and hubs, careers in the creative industry, music workshops designed to support the development of speech and language  and wellbeing for children and young people.

Of course, with so many interesting workshops and discussions taking place, it is difficult to choose which to attend! So here are thoughts from a couple of sessions.

One session, led by Philip Flood from Sound Connections explored routes into music education as a career, with a particular focus on instrumental teaching and workshop leading. Three music hubs described their work in supporting early career educators and CPD.

Adam Hickman from Services for Education, Birmingham and Luan Shaw from the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire discussed how they work together to offer Conservatoire students training and experience as instrumental teachers both at Undergraduate and Postgraduate level. They also reflected on how this has helped with wider CPD through the development of an online resource pack including videos.

Michael Davidson and Ije Amaechi talked about how Hertfordshire Music Service are focussing on diversifying their workforce of instrumental teachers and workshop leaders bringing together both teachers from a traditional teaching background and community musicians to share good practice. Ije talked about her journey from a participant on a songwriting course to being a workshop leader herself and highlighted how reflection sessions after workshops has helped her develop her skills.

Open Mic attracted me & then songwriting workshops were more appealing than grades. I’ve since performed at the Albert Hall & became a trainee tutor, shadowing across different projects & groups was useful to me, and reflecting after each session. 

Ije AmaechiTim Shephard from the University of Sheffield talked about his relationship as Chair of the Sheffield Music Hub, and shared his experience of working with Ian Naylor, Head of Music Education at Sheffield Music Hub to create opportunities for students to get involved in outreach through Music in the City and Music for Youth. It has also led to the development of a BA Music Education where Sheffield Music Hub offers training and opportunities to the University of Sheffield students.

An interesting question was raised in the whole room discussion:  

When are people good enough as tutors / workshop leaders?

This is particularly relevant to those who come to music education through non-traditional routes, and so the question was asked, “If a qualification is needed, how could it be completely accessible?”

One of the afternoon sessions, chaired by Youth Music’s CEO, Matt Griffiths explored inclusion in music education. As Matt stated at the beginning of the session, the debate has moved from, “Is inclusion needed?” to “How do we embed inclusion?” The first presentation was by Holly Radford of Midlands Arts Centre (MAC) who explained how music hubs around the Midlands had come together, facilitated by MAC and led by Phil Mullen, to explore how inclusion can be embedded in their work. The feedback from participants in the room demonstrated how useful the process had been for engaging with a range of local bodies such as local councils to develop support for music education.

The second presentation was by Michael Davidson of Hertfordshire Music Service discussing the work of MusicNet East, a collaboration between 4 music services (Hertfordshire, Essex, Cambridgeshire and Norfolk), supported by Youth Music who are all exploring inclusion in different ways. Michael talked about the work of Hertfordshire Music Service and how they are developing projects to fit the needs of educational bodies and participants, for example their work with Pupil Referral Units and their Songwriter programme. Delegates from Cambridge and Essex also shared their experiences of how these programmes are helping to get the value of music education as an aid to inclusion on the wider education agenda.

As Matt Griffiths, CEO of Youth Music tweeted at the end of the conference:

Main observation #MusicMark2018 was a collective will to innovate & change. Informed by & with young people, their lives in music, and acting on the school challenges we face. We can stand still, observe & moan or step up & transform. I’m totally for the latter #musicalinclusion


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MWC at the Music Education Expo

The Music Workshop Company team enjoyed a productive and inspiring two days at the 2014 Rhinegold Music Education Expo, which was held on February 7th and 8th at London’s Barbican Centre.DSC_0049

The Expo gives music and teaching professionals the chance to network, share ideas and browse stands from the top contributors in all spheres of the world of music education, from the ABRSM and Trinity College London to the Incorporated Society of Musicians, Musicians’ Union and Schott Music.DSC_0048

Speakers this year included flautist Sir James Galway, educationalist Paul Harris (author of over 600 books including the Improve Your Sight-Reading, Improve Your Scales and Improve Your Teaching series’ familiar to instrumental teachers), Richard Hallam, chair of the Music Education Council and Carol Reid, Programme Manager at Youth Music.DSC_0046

The Rhinegold Theatre hosted keynote debates, discussions and workshops covering topics such as the Ofsted Report Music in Schools, The Future of GCSEs, Music, Dyslexia and the Mind, Essential Leadership and body percussion warm-ups.

The MWC team met literally hundreds of people and had the chance to talk to music teachers, head teachers, community group leaders and musicians. Over 120 people signed up to the mailing list and 900 people took away one of our free Music Workshop Company pens!

DSC_0029Maria Thomas, who set up the Music Workshop Company in 2002, says, “It was wonderful to see how music education in all settings is alive and well in the UK and abroad. It was great to have the opportunity to talk to current and potential clients. Because we design our workshops around the specific needs of our clients, it was really helpful to talk to people face to face and discuss ideas.”

MWC is now busy working to assimilate ideas discussed with clients during the Expo. The team is also developing some exciting new workshops with newly recruited musicians and workshop leaders. Watch out for details of these in our newsletter and upcoming blogs…OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

In the week since the Expo, MWC has had new enquiries every day. We’d love to hear from you to discuss your Music Workshop needs. It looks like 2014 is going to be a busy year!

And if you missed us this time, we’ll be back on stand J2 at next year’s Music Education Expo.

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