Archbishop Ilsley School Music Workshop Session 1

I have started the first of 10 music workshops with year 8 students at Archbishop Ilsley School. We had loads of fun. We explored pulse, pentatonic scales and got to know one another. I was exhausted by the end. The Music teacher at the school has been brilliant!! Really supportive, open to new ideas and has given me lots of valuable advice!

Their Space DEMOS

I have been reading Their Space; a recent publication by DEMOS. It explores the breakdown in relations between young people and adults in regard to digital technologies. For many young people digital technology has effortlessly become a part of habitual life but or us oldies t’internet is often treated with distrust and suspicion like many a politician.

The fact that my two teenage sisters had myspace accounts before me, know how to attach html to blogs and webpages, are knowledgeable about: Bebo, Flickr, IRC, Piczo, Podcasts, Facebook and Wikis made me realise I am a digital dinosaur.

If parents fail to become PC literate they can often loose touch with a large part of their child’s life. Should the responsibility of monitoring young people’s Internet usage fall onto the schools? I think not, and too many parents are not being active enough in this digital domain. My parents have only recently started to ‘get into’ PCs. My mum made her first email account last year to communicate with an overseas cousin.

This study investigates and addresses myths and misconceptions about digital technologies. It explores issues of moral panic and digital faith such as:

The Internet is too dangerous for children
Junk culture is poisoning young people and taking over their lives.
All gaming is good.
All children are cyberkids.

The most beneficial part of the study suggested that schools could address educational issues if they tried to blur or bridge together formal and informal learning contexts. This is because they would be key to creativity and assisting in ‘new models of learning such as peer- to -peer exchanges’. It stated that we need to have greater confidence in the skills young people possess since they have greater levels of self-reflection and awareness then we realise.

I think that through community music and as a practitioner working alongside music teachers I have greater freedom to address some of the key issues mentioned in this study in my music workshops:

Exploration of the relationships between students and their formal education experience, helping schools to make this more meaningful and engaging.

Helping schools understand the deeper relationship young people have with social networks outside of school.

Helping to bridge the two worlds of formal and informal learning and assisting in connecting the two different learning experiences.

I think music can be a great tool in linking formal and informal learning.

GTP vs Community Musician

So far, every school I have delivered workshops to has tried to get me on their Graduate Training Programme- a course that turns you into a teacher, but more hands on than a PGCE. Obviously there is a real shortage of music teachers, but, I did not realise it was this bad!!

To date, 3 out of 3 schools have asked. I shall see if anymore try and rope me in!!

Waverley School Chinese Music Workshop 29.03.07

I did my first secondary school workshop since passing my Flying Start course. It was interesting, challenging and good fun!!

I did a lot of things that I shouldn’t have: not given enough ground rules about using instruments etc. I did manage to get quite a few things right. I learned about classroom management, how challenging it can be to handle a class of rowdy teenagers and the pressures of trying to get things done within a very tight time limit. I also had do a lot of improvising, stuck around later than I was meant to, become music director and so forth. I was shattered by the end.

I did achieve most of my objectives; I got 20 key stage 3 students to write a piece of music based on Chinese harmonies and melodies, and after gallons of sweat poured manged to produce after 3 hours a piece presentable for 400 people to watch!

Many thanks are needed for the support and advice from music teacher Catherine Broadway for her support and help!