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I am fascinated by Play and music education and that is handy because my Youth Music funded work is dependent on Musical Play. I also struggle with accounting for what I do because facilitating musical play is not an "exact science".
Last year I attended Gloucestershire University’s Playwork study day “Creative Accounting: Playful Rhythms, relationships and response-abilities”. It was led by Lecturers Wendy Russell and Stuart Lester and post graduate Playwork students as part of a series of seminar days for Playworkers, Urban Planners and assorted University students. Dr. Susan Young, creator of the MA Ed(Early Years Music) at CREC in Birmingham, used to tell us to read outside of our discipline and Playwork, which places itself as complementary to a conventional educational offer whilst not exactly “outside” was, for me at least, conveniently “next door” both conceptually and geographically.
“The most important reason for going from one place to another is to see what’s in between, and they took great pleasure in doing just that.”
Norton Juster, The Phantom Tollbooth

Calling all men working in early years music education

An article by Kaisle Grai, an electronic musician and Wired4Music member.

This story is a summary of Jim Minton’s (London Youth) keynote speech at the upcoming Catalysing Change: Sound Connections Challenging Circumstances Music Network Conference, taking inspiration from Dizzie Rascal’s debut album!

‘Music is the best thing I do.  My favourite memories are centred around music, as well as my closest friends met through it.  Writing and performing is an incomparable experience and I am so grateful that it is part of my life’.

‘I have always been in love with music and without it I think I would be lost’.

‘I love music - because homework ruins my life, and music lets me escape’.

These are just a few of the things that children and young people told us about music making as part of Take Note, a county-wide consultation with children and young people about music making.  769 children, young people, parents and carers took part in the consultation through focus groups, written questionnaires, an online survey, one to one interviews and case studies. 

Written by Sound Connections Programme Coordinator, Zoë Carassik-Lord

Sound Connections was out in full force at the Musicians’ Union Professional Development Weekend which took place at the Laban Centre and was skilfully hosted by Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance. 

Amber (21) is a volunteer and part of the Youth Music Reprezent training programme, has written from the heart about classism, austerity and how grime music's relation to poorer areas has been to some degree weaponised by journalists to belittle tragic loss.

Following the deaths of two young aspiring musicians from South East London, a minority of journalists chose to use these deaths to provide a context for articles that were arguably written to cause controversy, sell papers or bait for clicks.

Reprezent works with a lot of young people from these areas who are aspiring artists and have been a starting point for several high profile careers (Stormzy, Novelist, Lady Leshurr, Section Boys). Whilst grime music has elements of 'realness', it is questionable for a journalist to use one persons aspirations to succeed as a musician as an indicator that they were more likely to die than someone else.

Anyway, this is Ambers story...

On Thursday 29 September 2016, Wired4Music teamed up with Sonos Studios to host an extra special drop-in; an evening designed to enable 16-25 year olds from across London to come together to network, collaborate and seek guidance and support from professionals.

Back in 2011, the National Plan for Music Education was published, with great aplomb.  It stated that ““children from all backgrounds and every part of England” should have “…equality of opportunity … regardless of race; gender; where they live; their levels of musical talent; parental income; whether they have special educational needs or disabilities; and whether they are looked after”.  

Last year’s Peer Learning Scheme – a series of one-day work-shadowing placements undertaken by practitioners and hosted by CCMN member organisations – was a huge success, with extremely positive feedback recieved by guest learners and host organisations alike:

“We left the meeting with new ideas and potential avenues that we could pursue alongside practices that we could map onto our current scheme of work.”

“I have no ongoing work with young people currently, but this recent experience will help my prospects in this area.”

As the Scheme proved such a hit, and with demand for one-to-one work-shadowing growing, we are continuing to offer placements on a rolling basis. A review of the Scheme last year lays out the universal benefits of the opportunity – as much for established music managers and directors of organisations as for emerging practitioners looking to get a foot in the door.

If you are interested in applying to be a guest learner on the Peer Learning Scheme, click here to download the application form.

I have been travelling to the biannual conference of the International Society of Music Education - https://www.isme.org/ - for 6 years now and have come to see them as an opportunity to learn from the international education community and also focus my own learning and share it with peers and colleagues. For the 2016 event in Glasgow it seemed obvious to bring my involvement in the development of Music Education Hubs to a wider audience.