There may be some hope for music education after all

I’m sceptical about Cameron’s flagship Big Society plans.

In this age of austerity I fear for  the future of participatory arts and creative learning programmes in schools, those who rely on subsidised music provision will suffer. There is no way a love child of New Labour is going to survive the coalition’s cuts – I thought, but then I read this, (a repeat call for a music manifesto-esque study into music provision for young people, so I’ve been told). Maybe there is a glimmer of hope after all. We shall see.

100 Hour challenge

It’s been a month since I last updated you on this. Well, well, well, haven’t I been good! Wherever there is a piano, I is. I am practicing jazz standards and improvising. I’ve been averaging 2 hours a day and it has positively impacted upon my gigging, I got loads of compliments at Friday’s penultimate tour date, I felt loads more confident. No idea I suggested was rejected in terms of improv, however I was told to turn myself down, lol! Having regular lessons, and my teacher said in just 2 lessons I had improved considerably, yay!

Say, I’d practiced 1 hour a day for the last 4 weeks that would take me up to 89 hours on this old challenge, I know I’ve done more, but let’s just say I’ve done that 😉 We both know after 100 hours this aint gonna end, hooked.
I’m moving this week, so practice is on hold cos everything is being boxed up, but I’m keen to get back on the pedal!

Go me!

Soulful Summer

Just completed a week of workshops for THSH and UFA, project was called Soulful summer.
I helped facilitate sessions based mainly on developing young people’s composition skills. I was blown away by the young people’s ideas and good vibes. Some of the feedback I got was great, and was nice to see some of the younger participants’ confidence really grow!

Here’s some audio:

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Safari Life: written in a day, based on a drum ostinato played in an improvised ostinato exercise I always use.

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Our version of Summer Time, I led the rhythm section, or they led me lol! Huw lead horns, Shereece led the singers.

Thanks to Katy G and Jan P for their assistance and support!

………….Only a few more days to go before I get some time off to develop my own creativity, yay!

Young Music Leaders: Peer to Peer learning in Music

The music manifesto website peeps have uploaded a great video about students (at a secondary school in Surrey) discussing the benefits of peer to peer music tuition.

I think it’s a great idea to have a weekly club where young people can share ideas and mentor one another to achieve music creations!!

I wish some of the inner-city schools I have taught at were as well equipped as the one in the video…

There is so much talent that is being undernourished because music departments have tiny provisions.


The summer term is always quieter work wise. I have been hustling the last few weeks; consequently promotional skills have improved.

2 projects I am excited to be working on are with CBSO Education where composition and creativity are based around Holst’s ‘The Planets’, the second is for THSH’s ‘Pipe Up’ project pivoted around cathedral organs.

During this quieter period I have been networking quite a fair bit, reading about developments in the community music sector and brushing up on my marketing skills.

In an earlier blog post I wrote how working as a part-time teacher would give me further insight into the world of formal education and help me decide whether to do a PGCE.

I suppose applying for the MediaSnackers’ trainer position is pretty much the biggest indicator of my decision not to be a full-time music teacher. I choose community musicianhood!

I really enjoy teaching my students, but I prefer the level of interaction I get working with smaller groups and being able to teach topics that I am passionate about and enjoy. One of several perks has been teaching keystage 4 and 5: individuals who realise the importance of music and are motivated. I had such a blast learning dance steps with students, from pavan and galliard to disco!!

I managed to get some friends into blogging; a pilates instructor and promoter/DJ/producer/cycle enthusiast chum. I was astounded by how keen and quickly they took to it. Why don’t you say ‘Hi!”

My blog has been recommended by the Music Manifesto website!! How cool is that!?!

Lastly, please click for an adventure in exploiting and bullying from Surface Unsigned Festival! In my opinion forcing bands to sell a set number of tickets in order to perform is manipulative, they have also tried to silence the peeps at Created in Birmingham! Tut tut!

Power to the blogging community! May we continue to scrutinise and encourage democracy! (Well maybe let’s not survey all my typos)!!