Autumn Term

Back to work and I am involved with a couple of exciting projects in a few schools around the West Midlands.

I am working as joint project manager (with the school’s music teacher) to ensure the cohesion of “Bass Culture”- a project that explores black and urban music. It gives young people the opportunity to learn about the history of a music that is yet to be taken seriously in the academic world- in the UK there is no course at university level that explores black music on its own, you may get blues and jazz shoved in with popular music but that’s it.

I am digressing. Participants also learn music skills such as improvisation- composition and different instrument techniques. So far we have explored the beginnings- from Blues to RNB to Funk. We shall start using Logic to make our own Disco beats to work our way round the music software package.

I am also working once a week as a part time music teacher- in those beautiful 7 hrs I teach all secondary keystage levels 3-5. The most difficult thing for me is the behavioral side. I don’t want to turn into a draconian, shout-a-lot teacher- but, you have to be behaviorist or kids will take the Mickey. I have to pretend that some of the witty yet challenging student’s comments aren’t funny when they blatantly are.

Out of all the levels I teach, AS level composition is the most fun due to motivated students and a higher level of discourse.

I am saddened that the arts are still not taken seriously in some schools where I work; music and drama are taught fortnightly, if at all, and students that are exceptionally talented at the subject are discouraged from studying it at higher levels because it is not respectable. Prevalent issues I am sure.

I am trying hard to find ways in making my lessons fun and engaging, whilst showing the students that music is a valid, academic subject- integral to day to day life.
The Respect Programme has been down then up- Peer Mentors have been changed, but, hopefully by moving to the safe infrastructure of a school it should be easier. This is because teachers have access to parents, home addresses and usually know what is happening in their students’ lives. So far I have met the new participants twice and their energy and enthusiasm is great- I really hope I continue to motivate and inspire them to do right by themselves- will our 6 months together really have a lasting impression? I am being naive here?

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