Music Learning Revolution, 23rd October 2015, The Brewery, London
I am here because I will leap outside of my comfort zone if it helps to get more kids playing music. I passionately believe that every child and young person should benefit from the value of participating in music. It is because of them that I do my job, and I remind myself of that every day.
I am not alone. I represent Musical Futures, which is a movement of thousands of teachers worldwide who have stepped outside their comfort zones to transform music education in their schools. This moment marks the launch of our new Musical Futures.
We have gone from being a special project of the Paul Hamlyn Foundation, to a not for profit organisation with ambitious aims to extend our successful pedagogy, professional development and resources into new areas – within and beyond schools – and to ensure that the many, not the few, benefit from meaningful music making opportunities.
I’m excited to be able to share our newest programme Just Play, an initiative for any teacher or practitioner who wants to make music with students, particularly targeted at primary, generalist teachers. Musical Futures is stepping outside its comfort zone of working mainly with music specialists. We are testing our theory that with the right pedagogy, tools, resources and a community of support, facilitating creative practical music making opportunities for young people is something that any individual can do. Today, you can experience Just Play in three workshops delivered by our partners Musical Futures Australia.
We are a changing organisation. We will keep core elements of Musical Futures open source, and freely available. But we have to find ways of sustaining our work in challenging times. Once again, we must step outside of our comfort zone. We are committed to not only finding innovative and creative ways of engaging young people with music, but seeking out innovative and creative ways of sustaining an organisation that is ‘owned’ by so many thousands of people.
We stand on the shoulders of inspiring individuals. I want to pay tribute to our extraordinary patron Lord Claus Moser who we sadly lost last month. Claus created Musical Futures due to his drive to reshape music education, and millions of young people have benefitted as a result.
Also to David Price, who steered Musical Futures through its formative years, and helped create and shape the Music Learning Revolution. David is unwell and cannot join us today, but his creative input is present everywhere. We have in the room many of those who took a risk and were instrumental in forming and developing the pedagogical approach that Musical Futures represents – including Professor Lucy Green, Ian Burton, Sean Gregory and heads of music who were our early adopters, plus highly valued teachers and colleagues from overseas – Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the USA, Finland and South Africa are joining us today.
But critically, we have all of you. You are an audience of experts. This conference is filled with 400 changemakers. Collaborating and learning from and with each other is key to making what we do in our working lives more effective and sustainable.
We created the Music Learning Revolution in direct response to what teachers told us they wanted: professional development; debates around key issues; bringing together education and industry; and showcasing young musicians from UK classrooms.
We listened, and here it is. This is your space, and your time. The Music Learning Revolution is an opportunity to turn words into action, to learn from each other, to test and try out new ideas, to talk, maybe to argue, to make some music, to create some memories, to laugh, to feel good and to be inspired.
The Music Learning Revolution also represents a call to action around Musical Futures. Be part of our solution. Collaborate with us, help us shape new programmes and professional development, sign up to our website and join our emerging, evolving, diverse community of practice. Tell us what works and what doesn’t. Point us in the direction of solutions that we might not have thought of yet.
My title is Chief Executive. But behind this, I am simply a musician who passionately believes that learning music positively benefits people’s lives. Please share with those around you the passions and motivations behind the titles on your name badges, and join me and Musical Futures in stepping out of our comfort zones, and making a positive movement into actions that will help ensure the sustainability of music education.