The children I am working with are responding to positively. They are very keen to learn new music and don’t not feel threatened to play. They enjoy the ‘have a go’ and ‘just play’ strategy.
Well, another busy week at MFHQ! Our official Music Learning Revolution countdown began this week with the arrival of Ken Owen and Ian Harvey, directors of Musical Futures Australia. They are supporting the UK team with various developments and tasks, and it is wonderful to have them here, even though their sense of humour makes us groan on occasion…
We had a full board meeting on Monday with MF Chair Anita Kerwin-Nye (@anitakntweets), non-executive directors Regis Cochefert, Martin Ainscough, Katherine Zeserson (@KaZeserson), Tim Plyming (@timplyming) and David Barnard, as well as the staff team. It was an opportunity to honestly reflect on what Musical Futures has achieved, learnt and the challenges we have faced since independence from the Paul Hamlyn Foundation, and have a workshop session around business modelling some of our new ventures going forward, starting with the rollout of Just Play. Watch this space!
Head of Programmes Anna Gower spent the rest of the week in Norfolk with Ken, visiting Flegg High School to see Associate Teacher Fiona and her students using Musical Futures successfully.
On Wednesday Anna also made a Just Play presentation to the music hubs of East of England in Cambridge. The next day, Anna and Ken then visited Wymondham College to visit Associate Teacher Kitt and his students, getting involved in a Year 8 blues improv session. Anna then also ran a Just Play taster session with some other students.
Chief Executive Abi had an exciting Skype call with Robby Krieger from The Doors over in LA, to discuss ways to connect education with the music industry. Some really inspiring conversations will continue to be had with the team over there!
Abi also met with Labour MP Kevin Brennan (@KevinBrennanMP) on Tuesday, Shadow Minister for Business, Innovation and Skills. Kevin is a self-taught guitarist and is passionate music and music education. He even brought out his guitar to showcase his talents!
Projects Officer Alex also visited another of our Just Play pilot primary schools, taking a look at how our amazing generalist teachers are getting on with the project, material, resources, instruments etc. There was some fabulous music-making happening, with students engaging with the resources, learning from each other, and even some improvisation going on! Another excellent start to the project.
On Wednesday Alex and Head of Fundraising Kevin went to see some secondary Musical Futures work in Morpeth School in Bethnal Green, an MF Champion School (@morpethmusic). Head of Music Peter Romhany showed them around the department, which includes fantastic facilities such as multiple rehearsal/practice rooms, recording studio and performance spaces. They then observed and supported a Year 7 Musical Futures lesson, which saw the students put together a song in small band groups using keyboards, drums, bass guitars and ukeleles. The results were outstanding, with every single student engaging musically and creatively to work to a performance.
And to end the week, we closed the bookings for the Music Learning Revolution today! Nearly 400 delegates from across the sector will be coming to The Brewery in London on the 23rd October for a day of professional development, debates, performance, networking and turning words into action. The team, led by Events Manager Zoe, are busy beavering away in the background with last minute arrangements. It’s going to be a fantastic event and one of which we are incredibly proud.