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What to See at the Rhinegold Expo

As a change to our normal guest blog, this month we’ve prepared some tips on which stands to visit at this week’s Rhinegold Music Education Expo. As the Expo has moved to Earl’s Court this year with new zones we thought we’d signpost some interesting stands…

ABRSM is the UK’s largest music education body, one of the largest music publishers and the world’s leading provider of music exams. Founded in 1889, the first exams took place in 1890. Now the board offers assessments to more than 630,000 candidates in 93 countries every year. ABRSM exams cover over 35 subjects as well as offering range of resources. Find out more at stand G7.

AQA is an independent education charity and the largest provider of academic qualifications taught in schools and colleges. We met their team at last year’s Expo and Sarah Perryman wrote our first guest blog back in May. AQA is proud of its music qualifications: exams focus on practical skills such as composition and performing but allow students the freedom to focus on any style or genre. Read Sarah’s blog about how AQA qualifications are changing.


Did you know…? AQA set and mark the papers for around half of all GCSEs and A-levels taken every year. Visit their stand I20 to find out more.

BBC Ten Pieces is a project led by BBC Learning and the BBC Performing Groups. Its aim is to open up the world of classical music to a new generation of children. The project selected ten pieces for children of primary age and ten pieces for students of secondary age, aiming to inspire young people to explore classical music and develop their own creative responses to music.

Read our response to the project here and visit stand M18 to talk to the BBC Ten Pieces team.

Handel House Museum is currently celebrating the two famous musicians who lived at Brook Street: Handel and Hendrix in London is a new project that builds on the work of the Handel House Museum and opens Jimi Hendrix’s flat to the public. Check out their new website and visit them on stand M11 to find out more about these exciting developments. And look out for our forthcoming Handel House Museum blog!

Howarth of London will be at stand C16. As an oboist, MWC’s Maria is a big fan of Howarth with both a Howarth oboe and cor anglais. Howarth of London has a dedicated music education team and have designed a range of Junior Instruments to help young beginner musicians. As well as being specialists in oboes and cors anglais, they also supply bassoons, clarinets and saxophones.


The ISM is the Corporate Sponsor for the Music Education Expo. Do visit them to find out about their membership benefits and their campaigns. Read our blog on their EBacc campaign here.

The Musicians’ Union will be on stand G1. Visit them to find out about the range of membership benefits they offer and the wider work they do. With over 30,000 members the MU support musicians from a wide range of backgrounds.

Our friends at NST Travel create bespoke concert tours giving school music students unforgettable experiences. Sheena Orchin gave her tips on creating a memorable tour in our guest blog in September. Read more here and visit NST Travel on stand C18 to discuss your tour ideas.

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Rhinegold Publishing is well known for its music and performing arts publications. Titles include Music Teacher, Classical Music, Opera Now, International Piano, Choir & Organ, Early Music Today and Teaching Drama. Alongside these magazines, Rhinegold also publish a series of directories including the British & International Music Yearbook and the British Performing Arts Yearbook. They also produce a range of supplements and free guides which give details of scholarships, summer schools and competitions.

Schools Printed Music Licence (SPML) allows schools to legally make copies of sheet music. The SPML was introduced by Printed Music Licensing Limited which is owned by the Music Publishers Association (MPA). Visit their stand to find out more about the SPML Licence being introduced in April covering print holdings for Music Hubs and Services for schools.

If you want to know more about the Expo, our November guest blog from Rhinegold’s Alex Stevens gives the perfect intro.

And if you haven’t yet registered for the Expo which runs between February 25th and 26th, click here to book your free tickets. MWC doesn’t have a stand this year, but the team will be visiting the event, so do say hello!


The Music Education Expo

The Music Workshop Company has found the annual Rhinegold Education Expo an invaluable source of information and inspiration. We catch up with Alex Stevens, Editor of Rhinegold’s flagship education publication, Music Teacher Magazine, as he shares his plans for the 2016 event.

Alex Stevens_cropFor the 2016 Music Education Expo – the fourth, but my first as its head of content – we are hoping to build on the best of the previous shows by being ever more useful and comprehensive.

Since the first show in 2012, the Expo has quickly established itself as a fixture in the diaries of music teachers in the UK, and as editor of Music Teacher magazine, I know the challenge of providing for all the different types of teacher: from piano teachers to hub leaders, A-level classrooms to early years workshops, bedrooms to conservatoires, the sector is incredibly diverse.

So the challenge is to provide a full and useful programme for everyone – and this year we have worked harder than ever to be comprehensive, with pathways for different types of practitioner and a rigorous approach to the distribution of sessions.

There will be strands for instrumental, early years, primary, secondary and SEND teachers, as well as for those involved or interested in the politics, practicalities and best practice of music education provision.

Of course, if there needs to be something for everyone, there will also be some things for everyone. There can’t be many music teachers who are unconcerned about how we support the music education of our children, and how that ecosystem is sustained: funding for music teaching in all parts of the UK is seemingly constantly under threat, and there have been various responses to this fact. One lunchtime panel will discuss the various ways in which music education is funded across the UK.

In England, the result of May’s general election has given the Conservative party a qualified mandate but unbridled power to pursue its education reforms, with the imposition of an unreconstructed English Baccalaureate contributing to teachers’ fears that music and the creative arts will become less and less a priority for their schools. Another lunchtime panel will discuss how to defend music’s place in our schools.
And at a time when the arts sector is campaigning for STEM to become STEAM, this year’s new addition of the Musical Theatre & Drama Education Show, run in conjunction with Teaching Drama magazine, has the potential to provide some fascinating new perspectives.

For some music teachers, of course, drama will already be a big part of their professional lives – perhaps because they teach across the performing arts, perhaps because they put on the school show each year.

As Sarah Lambie, editor of Teaching Drama and head of content for the Musical Theatre & Drama Education Show, says: ‘The show will also provide a means to explore department-crossover and take in workshops and seminars on subjects which other drama education shows do not have the scope to offer. This is the beginning of a wider community of drama and performing arts teaching staff – with the opportunity to hear from some fantastically inspiring speakers.’

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For those who have been to the Expo in the past, this year’s move from the Barbican Exhibition Hall to the bright, airy and spacious Olympia Central should make for a significantly better experience, with more space, plenty of natural light and free WiFi.

And if you have never been, I urge you to come this year: it’s totally free to attend and over three years has become Europe’s largest dedicated music education show.

It’s a great way, alongside hundreds of other music and arts teachers, to maintain and develop your skills, discover new approaches, start conversations, and keep up with the big issues in music and cultural education. I look forward to seeing you there.

Music Expo 2016 logo.inddThe Music Education Expo is free to attend and runs on 25 and 26 February 2016. See http://www.musiceducationexpo.co.uk for more information.




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