In a week of very bad news for music education, it was good to see Virginia Haworth-Galt interviewed in The Guardian about the creation of Music Mark, the merger of the FMS and NAME. Still can’t get use to the name though (and no-one has been able to explain to me either).
Here’s something for all you young popular musicians to enjoy: the Love Music Trust spring pop school, run in conjunction with UCan.tv, the RNCM, Roland UK and Rock School. Click here for the booking form and here’s the flyer:
Happy new year to all readers of my blog! I hope you have had a good Christmas break and a restful New Year?
It would be nice to start this year on a positive note. Yesterday, I enjoyed interviewing some of the first applicants for our PGCE in Music and PGCE in Music with Specialist Instrumental Teaching courses. The day before I enjoyed working with our current cohort in a couple of sessions. Meeting new potential students, and working with current ones, reminds me what a privileged position I’m in to help shape the music education workforce of the future. The long-standing links between my university, MMU, the the RNCM have stood a barrage of political changes in recent years but are still strong. Our course, with around 30 students every year (down from 64 a few years ago), is still the largest in the country and I’m privileged to play a role in contributing to its continuation.
In the other part of my job, I’m very fortunate to be able to work with talented researchers and writers on a regular basis. This year, I’m planning to write three books (all for Routledge). Will Evans and I are writing a book on using your local area as a source for curriculum development; Clive McGoun and I are writing a second book on the themes of collaborative creativity with new media; and I’m also writing a book on lesson planning. So, lots to do and think about in my new shed made out of recycled pallets! (If you are interested, click here to see the work in progress and here to see something approaching the finished shed).
On a more negative note, the current trend to favour Teach First in our media continues. Today sees the publication of an article that really only subscribes to the prevailing narrative of Teach First as an overwhelming success for initial teacher education. I’ve made a few remarks about this in a comment but I’m continually frustrated by the lack of criticality in the debate. I know that it isn’t just me that has these concerns or criticisms. But so many other people I talk to are just frightened to speak out (and with good reason given the new contractual situtation that they will find themselves in post September 2013 if Teach First win the tender to manage their own courses). Journalists, who ought to know better, fail to read and understand the wealth of public information out there that shows how expensive Teach First is in comparison to other routes and constantly cite Teach First’s own figures for this, and retention, without questioning them rigorously.
This, combined with the continued lunacy of Gove’s educational policies, make me feel that we are in for another tough year in education. I will try and keep positive and apologise in advance for the odd rant. But, these aside, I wish you all a very prosperous and happy New Year.