The Music Education Expo
Posted on 30th November 2015 at 14:00
The Music Workshop Company has found the annual Rhinegold Education Expo an invaluable source of information and inspiration. We catch up with Alex Stevens, Editor of Rhinegold’s flagship education publication, Music Teacher Magazine, as he shares his plans for the 2016 event.
For the 2016 Music Education Expo – the fourth, but my first as its head of content – we are hoping to build on the best of the previous shows by being ever more useful and comprehensive.
Since the first show in 2012, the Expo has quickly established itself as a fixture in the diaries of music teachers in the UK, and as editor of Music Teacher magazine, I know the challenge of providing for all the different types of teacher: from piano teachers to hub leaders, A-level classrooms to early years workshops, bedrooms to conservatoires, the sector is incredibly diverse.
So the challenge is to provide a full and useful programme for everyone – and this year we have worked harder than ever to be comprehensive, with pathways for different types of practitioner and a rigorous approach to the distribution of sessions.
There will be strands for instrumental, early years, primary, secondary and SEND teachers, as well as for those involved or interested in the politics, practicalities and best practice of music education provision.
Of course, if there needs to be something for everyone, there will also be some things for everyone. There can’t be many music teachers who are unconcerned about how we support the music education of our children, and how that ecosystem is sustained: funding for music teaching in all parts of the UK is seemingly constantly under threat, and there have been various responses to this fact. One lunchtime panel will discuss the various ways in which music education is funded across the UK.
In England, the result of May’s general election has given the Conservative party a qualified mandate but unbridled power to pursue its education reforms, with the imposition of an unreconstructed English Baccalaureate contributing to teachers’ fears that music and the creative arts will become less and less a priority for their schools. Another lunchtime panel will discuss how to defend music’s place in our schools.
And at a time when the arts sector is campaigning for STEM to become STEAM, this year’s new addition of the Musical Theatre & Drama Education Show, run in conjunction with Teaching Drama magazine, has the potential to provide some fascinating new perspectives.
For some music teachers, of course, drama will already be a big part of their professional lives – perhaps because they teach across the performing arts, perhaps because they put on the school show each year.
As Sarah Lambie, editor of Teaching Drama and head of content for the Musical Theatre & Drama Education Show, says: ‘The show will also provide a means to explore department-crossover and take in workshops and seminars on subjects which other drama education shows do not have the scope to offer. This is the beginning of a wider community of drama and performing arts teaching staff – with the opportunity to hear from some fantastically inspiring speakers.’
For those who have been to the Expo in the past, this year’s move from the Barbican Exhibition Hall to the bright, airy and spacious Olympia Central should make for a significantly better experience, with more space, plenty of natural light and free WiFi.
And if you have never been, I urge you to come this year: it’s totally free to attend and over three years has become Europe’s largest dedicated music education show.
It’s a great way, alongside hundreds of other music and arts teachers, to maintain and develop your skills, discover new approaches, start conversations, and keep up with the big issues in music and cultural education. I look forward to seeing you there.
The Music Education Expo is free to attend and runs on 25 and 26 February 2016. See http://www.musiceducationexpo.co.uk for more information.
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