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Excellent teachers need inspiring

An article by Director of Sound Connections, Philip Flood


I’ve seen some dreadful music teaching during my career, truly awful practice where the so called ‘music leader’ hasn’t a clue. It just isn’t fair – fair on themselves and on the unfortunate young people that they were working with. Thank goodness I have witnessed this only a few times, and this has been far outweighed by high quality and professional music leading and teaching which proves to me that the UK is a world leader in music education practice.

We all know that it’s vitally important to have the right mix of skills, knowledge and understanding in order to ensure high quality music making and learning experiences for everyone that we work with. A holistic and ongoing approach to continuing professional development can achieve this.

The Music Education Code of Practice, developed originally by Sound Sense and Youth Music, with input from Sound Connections amongst others, provides a set of quality statements concerning all aspects of music learning. By adopting the Code, practitioners are able to demonstrate their commitment to quality work. The sixth pillar of the Code is around committing to professional development, something that I feel very strongly about and that is central to what we do at Sound Connections. For me it’s about raising the quality of the work and of the workforce as a whole. It’s about supporting music leaders at the start and, more importantly, consistently throughout their careers. It’s also about giving ourselves time to reflect on our own practice in order to make ongoing changes as to how we ‘behave’ as musicians and music leaders.

Sound Connections recently launched its new training programme with a unique range of courses and masterclasses. There is something for everyone, from early years music, leading choirs, primary music teaching, leading music in SEN settings and much more. We only recruit the very best trainers who are experts in delivering excellence within their individual fields. The training offers the advantage of being able to learn in small groups and gives an excellent opportunity to meet like-minded colleagues and make new connections for the future. You can find out more details here.

As well as courses, seminars and masterclasses we are looking at how we can support work-shadowing opportunities and peer to peer observation. We know it’s important to see the theory in practice and feel inspired to improve the way you work. We are also in discussion with Trinity College London about how we can work with them on enabling more musicians to access the Level 4 Certificate for Music Educators, a new qualification that Sound Connections was involved in developing and a key recommendation from the National Plan for Music Education.

I want to see outstanding music teaching and learning taking place, delivered by confident and competent music leaders regardless of where in the music education field they work, or which phase in a music, teaching or portfolio career they might be. I know that CPD is essential in order to achieve this, and I think you do too.


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