Routes Into Teaching – Raising the profile of careers in informal music education

The rapidly changing landscape of music education is changing expectations of the peripatetic music tutor, offering opportunities for informal and community musicians to obtain regular work for music services, and a need for existing tutors to develop their skill-set. This is particularly true in the recent developments in instrumental teaching that have brought musical inclusion practice often previously commissioned from community musicians into the regular work of music services. During the Youth Music funded Musical Inclusion programme, MusicNet East (MNE) held a Workshop Leader Convention to bring together experienced workshop tutors and trainees for a networking day to share practical tips and effective practice, and to find out about developments and local opportunities in informal music education. It was held at Homerton College, Cambridge in December 2014. It raised much enthusiasm and suggested future development. You can read the review of the day, here. In Summer 2015, Hertfordshire Music Service (HMS) expressed interest in working with tutors who had been unsuccessful with applications to work for the music service, linking this to conversations with the Musicians Union about raising awareness of careers in education and how teaching can be developed alongside performance and composition work. MNE developed the model of the Workshop Leader Convention to provide a way of re-engaging and working with applicants to help them make successful applications and succeed at interview. An experimental session branded Routes Into Teaching ran in July 2015. HMS managers, tutors, and a community music tutor spoke about how they had learnt, then begun and developed their teaching career, and how these had worked in parallel with their performing/creative practice. James Dickinson spoke about how to make the best impression with CV and at interview and participants discussed quality frameworks and reflective practice. A full review of the day and the evaluation system used is available here. The model was then used as a way to recruit and train tutors for our expanding First Access programme. A second session in October 2015 offered community musicians, trainees and existing HMS practitioners a carousel of activities that included junk percussion community music practice, community singing and behaviour management tips from HMS leader for First Access, and a Ukulele First Access workshop based on African Hocketts that bridged the informal and formal aspects of the other two workshops. A plenary session discussed quality frameworks, making applications to teach for HMS and for shadowing opportunities. Participants suggested offering the opportunity to showcase part of their practice in this supportive environment would be beneficial in subsequent sessions. One HMS tutor progressed to future shadowing opportunities to prepare him to work on the HMS SEND Arts Award project in Spring 2016.. A practical session of ethnomusicologist John Blacking’s ‘one person-one note’ Ukulele Hockett activity for first year BA Music students at SOAS further suggested applications of African music studies to whole class teaching, and future development of local teaching practice as extension activities for the students in the faculty. In November 2015, MNE then ran a Routes Into Teaching day with Essex Music Service and the Musician’s Union at Colchester Institute for students on the teaching module of the Institute’s Popular Music BA. Practical activities interspersed with panel discussions about development of teaching careers linked to discussions of MNE models that offer employment to different types of music tutors to meet the changing needs and interests of schools and vulnerable pupils. The model suggested the value of co-producing training with local organisations to make it relevant to local interests, to make the most of local knowledge and experience and to build capacity for sustainable inclusion work. The MusicNet East strategic partnership of Essex, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire Music Service is discussing development of the model targeted at FE colleges and to local community musicians, with the potential of developing an accredited training course offering shadowing, lesson observation, planning opportunities, leading to mentored teaching practice. MNE is also looking to develop workshop leadership as part of our progression routes for informal music, especially for vulnerable learners.

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