We read a lot on twitter about awful things are in the Music Education sector, and they are I guess. The Ebacc hasn't been great for us and budgets are being cut left right and centre. It is a tough job and a hard sector.
But the thing is, I love it! I love teaching music and I just love being in a classroom or in front of a school choir/ensemble. So, I just wanted to put some positive vibes out there in the hope that they might encourage someone.
I totally agree that we need to flood twitter with the news reports about the value of the arts, but I am just getting a little bit bored of just reading those and I want to read more about what is going on in schools that is positive. I want to read about inspirational stories and I want to be fuelled and feed by that inspiration. We all need that and we all need to remember why we do it. No study or news article is going to suddenly make me want to "teach more" or "do more" because I am already doing a job I love. But when I am having a hard week or feeling like it is such a big mountain to climb, I want to read about fellow music teachers that have kept going and who have stories to tell.
So here is my contribution to that new narrative, I love teaching music and it is great. It is hard, but I find that every day something spurs on to the next day. I have seen numbers involved in weekly groups rise and I have good numbers at both GCSE & A-Level. I love the new specs and I am finding that students are really wanting to get involved in music. I have faced staff cuts and budget cuts, but I have just tried to keep going, always looking forward and ensuring I am future proofing the department. What has been hard is working on my own. I now have a colleague, but all of last year I was a one-man department and it was tough and draining. But what I did was encourage students to get more involved in supporting me and leading groups. This year has been amazing as those students are now leading ensembles, taking rehearsals when I can’t be there and generally ensuring that music keeps going. They have a sense of pride in the department and want it to do well. They want the younger students to find their place and they want everything to just be amazing!
I get so much wrong and I learn new things every day. But I guess I have always had passion, vision and drive. I have always wanted music to be a pillar of the school and I have worked hard to get there. I haven’t changed jobs and I haven’ moved up and on in terms of my career. And yet I have seen growth and I have developed in my role – so that has been great.
I believe that what we need most is to shout from the rooftops about where music education is going well. The articles and the studies are all great but let’s get those real life examples out there and lets all agree to help share them. AS teachers we need to use twitter and other forums, a bit like this, to share good practice and build others up. We need to know that we are not alone and that it is possible to see music grow in a school even in the current climate. It isn’t easy, and I have had a tiring week yet again. But I look back on it all and I end the week proud of all that we have achieved.
I don’t fully know what the future holds but I know what I want to build. I still have vision for music and I am not going to let anything get in my way. Struggles will come and go but what will remain in me is a dedication to music education that has got me this far and will get me where I want to go in the future.
And if you want to read more about what I do then please visit my blog:
I look forward to engaging with this site more!
Director of Music – Windsor Learning Partnership