Routes Into Teaching – July 2015 – Review

MusicNet East devised and ran a ‘Routes Into Teaching’ day on 9th July 2015, to help local musicians discover more about types of music teaching available for music services.

The day began with an opportunity for the delegates to network over coffee with tutors and managers from Hertfordshire Music Service and MusicNet East.

James Dickinson, Head of Hertfordshire Music Service, spoke about how the development of Music Education Hubs had invited music educators to consider differing ideas of Quality, in recruitment, teaching practice and in assessment. These would underpin the aims of the day.

Paul Burroughs from the Musicians’ Union spoke about the benefits of musicians combining music teaching with their own performance practice, and outlined the need to be in a union, partly to manage risk of false allegations, which Paul said amounted to an alarming average 2 in each tutor’s career. Union membership also offers insurance cover for teachers as well as performers, and is open to musicians from all types of music traditions. James indicated the Music Service always recommended that tutors belong to a professional association or union.

For an Icebreaker activity, delegates were invited to choose a position within the hall reflecting where they are based within Herts and to introduce themselves to neighbours. They were then invited to divide around the room by informality/formality of musical style on one axis…and by experience on another. Finally delegates we invited to move to where they would like to get to.

In the Routes Into Teaching session, HMS tutors and managers spoke about how they had learnt music, begun working for the service, and about their current roles, and what continues to inspire them. A strong theme was the need for tutors to maintain their own playing or creative practice to maintain their own wellbeing, to maintain energy and enthusiasm for teaching, and how the parallel strands or teaching and playing can interweave to add value to each other.

In the Recruitment session James Dickinson and Lesley Webster spoke about what they look for in a CV, how it is important to have a teaching rather than a playing CV, to write it to reflect the job description, to foreground teaching experience, to keep it to one page, and to not provide too much detail on specifics of playing careers.

James and HMS managers then spoke about what we look for in an interview. How applicants should choose a piece that demonstrates their ability to communicate well, not necessarily the most difficult piece they can play, and to ensure play the bit of it they really want interviewers to hear! James said it was often surprising that interviewees looked surprised when asked if they have any questions for the interview panel, that it shows interest in the position if they have researched the organisation and arrive with some questions. Interviewers also discussed the benefits of inviting applicants to deliver a demonstration lesson at interview. They are also invited to submit video of themselves teaching with their applications, and these have proved effective in being invited to interview.

After coffee, Lyndall Rosewarne gave out and spoke about the Youth Music Quality Framework, which Youth Music developed from frameworks from the Ofsted and Arts Sector. Delegates reflected on the personal and social benefits to young people participating in musical learning and activity.

Mark Howe from MusicNet East ran a relaxed and joyful Community Junk Percussion session, helping delegates learn how to work together make music from found objects. Mark emphasised he saw ‘play’ as an essential part of the workshop, and ‘taking care’ of ourselves and each other as both important aims and enablers of the music making.

You can watch Mark’s Top Tips for workshop delivery in the video below:

Some of the delegates commented it had challenged limiting ideas of musical identity by suggesting that anyone could make music out of anything.

Delegates shared their feelings on the value and quality of the workshop, which included:
– “Good way to get everyone on the same level”
– “Made me realise how people hear things differently, rather than a pre-conceived level….enlightening!”
– “The most relaxed I’ve felt all day”, “confidence!”
– “It was good to think about the ‘ARC’ of the workshop, warm up, main activities, feedback, consolidation of learning, plenary…”
– “Inclusivity…challenged limiting ideas of who’s a musician…”
– “I was energised by music and play, great to see everyone smiling and having a go!”
– “Good to be reminded how difficult it can feel as a learner, and it works on different levels, deep, gentle listening, and bashing the hell out of it!”

Lesley Webster briefly mentioned the HMS ‘self-review’ tutor quality moderation system, and how it drives our CPD programme, before the session broke for further networking over lunch.

Delegates felt the day had been helpful in raising their awareness of opportunities available to work as a music tutor, and of how to make effective applications. They also planned to investigate opportunities to shadow teaching.

HMS felt that the day had been highly effective in informally bringing together people in a group as part of the pre-interview process, and hopes to offer it as part of annual HMS’ ‘open day’ activities. HMS is interested to develop the session as a replicable model that can tour FE and HE institutions.

Delegates used this form to evaluate the day – Routes Into Teaching Day – Evaluation

For more information, please contact

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