21st March 2024

Guest Blog: My Music Education Expo Experience

By Liv McLennan

It was great to be back at the Music Ed Expo after a few years, and even better to see it busy even at 9:30am on day one!

My 6-seminar day kicked off with the team from Wiltshire Music Hub presenting their research on augmented reality in piano tuition, which was followed by a fairly varied programme to reflect my interests as both a freelancer and cluster coordinator. The other sessions included music mindfulness with Chris Woods, the Voices Foundation Primary Singing Toolkit, exploring international approaches to ukulele education with Paul Mansell, an exploration of whether fun can exist without progress and whether progress exist without fun with Rocksteady Music School, and finally some tips and tricks for gaining extra marks at secondary level composition with David A. Stowell.

Although the sessions were varied and for different age groups, there were some overarching themes to emerge from the day: the importance of embodied learning/kinaesthetic learning (particularly for the younger age group), the importance and relevance of exploring new, or more informal, ways of learning, and of course the significance of fun and joy in music learning. As a community musician working with a range of age groups from birth to later life, this was music to my ears!

It was exciting to see multiple approaches to music learning, but I couldn’t help but notice that despite using repertoire from differing cultural backgrounds, I was not always convinced there was a culturally sensitive approach to teaching it. It leads me to ask questions about what we teach and why – and even as we aim to expand diversity within the curriculum, are we actually just reproducing our own cultural norms at the expense of others’?