How can we make Whole Class Ensemble Teaching more inclusive? Part 1: questions

Ukuleles inclusive whole class tuition - hocketing

How can music services’ work around Equality, Diversity and Inclusion inform their Whole Class Ensemble Teaching (WCET)? In this blog, Michael Davidson, Programme Lead for Changing Tracks, and Head of Rock, Family and Community Music at Hertfordshire Music Services, outlines some thoughts ahead of a discussion with the National Music Services Working Group on Inclusion.

We will be publishing the results of our National Working Group conversation in a future blog or resource. If you are a senior leader of a music service and would like to join the conversation on Tuesday 14 June 1-3pm on Zoom, please contact

Towards the end of a recent Youth Music FUND C meeting, conversation turned towards how the benefits of the targeted inclusion work with Children in Challenging Circumstances offered by community music organisations might inform a more universally available offer, for example as part of the Core Roles of music education hubs.

Learning from Changing Tracks has suggested this might be achieved by bringing an outcomes-approach to instrumental music teaching. This means focusing on a wider purpose of music teaching – to include personal and social as well as musical outcomes.

A trauma-informed creative musical nurture group model

The Changing Tracks musical nurture group model was developed originally by a Hertfordshire tutor with a community music background, who had identified pupils in his WCET session whose social emotional difficulties might benefit from smaller group work.

Changing Tracks developed this into young-person-led creative musical nurture groups beginning with a pilot with 8 primary schools in Stevenage, followed by dissemination across Herts, and with 16 services nationally from 2021. Instrumental teachers, curriculum teachers, or community musicians ran weekly sessions and reflected together monthly on progress. Tutors captured outcomes by writing case studies and reports, with input from young people and school SENCOs. Learning suggested that this raised the profile of music in schools and LAs and that being trained in this approach could benefit teaching quality more widely, by improving WCET tutors’ capacity to differentiate to include CCC.

More creative approaches to WCET: questions

Changing Tracks’ recommendations for the NPME2 included developing more creative approaches to WCET. Next Tuesday 14th June 2022, the next Changing Tracks’ National Music Services Working Group on Inclusion will focus on how we might take this forward. Service leaders and inclusion managers will explore the following questions:

  • How do we currently define ‘inclusive WCET?’
  • How do we currently define ‘quality’ in WCET?
  • How might both of the above be limited by our existing progression routes for WCET?
  • What types of musical practice and pedagogy could support more inclusive WCET?
  • What other types of progression pathways could support and benefit from these?
  • How do we currently evaluate the success of WCET?
  • How can we demonstrate the full value of WCET without ‘white-coating’ evaluation?
  • How might this link to a more inclusive musical curriculum?
  • How can music services’ CPD best support this?

In the meantime, we’d love to hear your thoughts and experiences. Do you have an inclusive form of WCET? Are you interested in knowing more? Do you have particular challenges you’d like to find support with? Please join the conversation on our social media channels, or email us: If there is enough interest we will set up a task and finish group to create a resource to help.

Further reading

Inclusive First Access resource – includes blogs: An inclusive, creative, social model for whole class ensemble teaching; How I use hocketing in my whole class ensemble teaching.

Changing Tracks’ recommendations for the NPME2

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