National Plan for Music Education: recommendations from Changing Tracks’ learning, Jan 2022

Three ripples in a pond

[First published as a password-protected blog in January 2022]

Following are the recommendations provided to the panel convened for the refresh of the National Plan for Music Education, on behalf of Changing Tracks. We hope they’re of interest and use to a wide range of music services, hubs, funders and policy makers. They could be used as a tool for discussion in meetings and working groups.

We’re keen to hear your feedback, either on our social media or by emailing Michael.Davidson@hertfordshire.gov.uk

Changing Tracks focuses on embedding musical inclusion practice within music services, as the core local infrastructure for instrumental music tuition, and as leaders/members of hub partnerships. It draws on Michael Davidson’s doctoral research at SOAS, which offers the following suggestions towards the NPME refresh:

Strategy & funding

  1. Promote learning music as a skill for life-long flourishing citizenship.
  2. Promote the value of music services to local authorities, as part of a multi-agency solution to challenges facing children and young people.
  3. In particular, align services/hub leads with local authorities’ preventative health and inclusion agendas, to benefit pupils at risk of school and social exclusion.
  4. Link services/hub leads into LA/schools/academies’ broader Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) planning and resource provision.
  5. Require services to embed EDI action planning within business planning and to support hub commissioning processes.
  6. Set a requirement for the monitoring of engagement, retention and progression of vulnerable young people within hub monitoring.

Workforce and organisational development

  • Encourage services to employ a more diverse range of instrumental music teachers, broadening workforce demographic profile, skills and experience, in order to diversify pedagogy.
  • To support instrumental teachers to adapt their practice to the needs and interests of all young people, encourage an outcomes approach within CPD and quality systems, embedding critical reflection and communities of practice.
  • To support tutors to diversify their practice, encourage services/hub leads to develop alternative and creative musical progression routes, including within schools, local community settings and venues, and into HE and creative industries.

Pedagogy

  1. Encourage the development of improvisation and composition within WCET, and of progression opportunities for these. See our blog about inclusive WCET / First Access.
  2. Encourage ‘joined-up working’ between instrumental music, curriculum music teaching, and school pastoral teams, in particular developing conversations with SENCOs to support differentiation.
  3. Encourage instrumental teacher research as a catalyst for development, promoting the value of drawing on ecosystems beyond conservatoire models.
  4. Encourage international/national networks of instrumental music teacher researchers.

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