Celebrations and challenges

What a week! Last week was a whistle stop tour of networking, conferences and celebrations.

First up was the national Musical Inclusion gathering hosted by Sound Sense. This was an opportunity to get together with the organisations that lead Youth Music’s Musical Inclusion work around the county. There were thoughtful presentations from the Sound Sense team on Strategic Development, Partnership, Influencing and Advocacy and Sustainability. It was an intense day, with lots of valuable discussion and practice sharing. What was clear was that there is a huge amount of quality work going on around the county to engage our most vulnerable young people with music making, but that there is also a lot to do as a sector to ensure that this work has legacy beyond the life span of a funding grant.

Next up was the Music Mark annual conference; Raising the Bar – the highest quality music education for all. Another inspiring event with thoughtful and useful sessions. Perhaps the most interesting and thought-provoking of which was Robin Hammerton’s (HMI lead for music) launch of OFSTED’s finding into the impact of Music Education Hub’s.  Now hubs have only been going for just over a year and whilst it may seem early to be analysing their impact after such a short period of time, I agree with Robin’s comment that a major investment (like the Hub’s) needs to be evaluated from the very beginning.  The report identified some positives elements of hub working – new energy, collaborative approaches and partnerships – but at it’s heart was the assertion that provision is still patchy and that much still needs to be done to ensure all young people have a quality music education. This was a call-to-arms for schools, teacher, hub leads and partners to challenge each other to do things better! We’ll I for one have never backed away from a challenge! The full survey can be found here.

But to end on a high note, the Music Mark conference hosted the National Music Councils annual Music Education Awards where SoundStorm were awarded the Major Trophy (shared with East Ayrshire) and the award for New Music, sponsored by Paritor. This is a huge honour, which I would like to share with all of our delivery partners and schools.

Onwards and upwards…

Claire Lewis

p.s. – we also joined twitter last week – follow us at @SoundStorm_