CMU Insights Update

CMU+TGE Music Education Conference 2019: In Context

By | Published on Wednesday 1 May 2019

Book stack with headphones

Last year we presented our first Music Education Conference as part of The Great Escape, the aim being to bring together the music education sector and the music industry to discuss how music educators and music employers could be more closely aligned.

The 2018 event provided a beginner’s guide to music education in the morning and then explored music career options in the afternoon. With a really interesting mix of people – both on stage and in the audience – the conference instigated some great debate and posed a number of important questions. As we put the spotlight back on music education this year, the aim is to come up with some answers.

We also launched a music education focused CMU Insights research project at last year’s event. It felt like there were many different strands to music education which weren’t always linked and therefore navigating everything that is on offer can be very tricky. Meanwhile, we all know that there a plethora of different music career paths – whether people seek to make a living on or off the stage – and we were interested to know how those different education strands intersected with those different career routes.

Since last May, artist manager Phil Nelson and I have been seeking to properly map both music education and music careers via a project that we now call Pathways Into Music. This is a major multi-year venture. In year one we have been putting together a template music education map for the whole of the UK and then applying that template to two key regions, Northern Ireland and the South East. We have also been piloting ways to map different music career routes, assessing the role education plays along the way.

At this year’s CMU+TGE Music Education conference we’ll be reporting back on our work so far. We’ll explain the crucial role we think music education plays in the success of the music business and then present our music education map, including some top line stats from our focus regions. The aim is to then continue this work in the year ahead, in Northern Ireland, the South East and beyond, and we’ll explain how educators and the industry can help.

Of course, we are not the only people who have been researching the state of music education. Since last May really interesting studies have been published by organisations like the Musicians’ Union, the Incorporated Society Of Musicians, Youth Music, the BPI and the Music Commission. Once we have presented the results so far of our own Pathways Into Music research next week, we’ll also speak to representatives of each of those organisations, to identify the key findings and recommendations of their respective reports.

Beyond all the research, we’ll also been staging plenty of debates during our Music Education Conference, in particular asking what the aim of music education should be and what that might mean for the music curriculum, whether that’s a national curriculum, a model curriculum, or music GCSE, A-Level and diploma courses. We’ll also put the spotlight back on the regional music hubs and look at various educational projects outside the classroom, asking how music employers can support all that work.

And then, at the end of the day, an all-important artist perspective. I’ll be chatting to Chilly Gonzales about his take on how music is taught, in school and beyond. We’ll find out more about his ground-breaking Gonzervatory programme, and we’ll look at how making music education more effective and more compelling is partly about building bridges between different musical genres and disciplines.

The CMU+TGE Music Education Conference kicks off the entire Great Escape, taking place on Wednesday 8 May at Jury’s Inn Waterfront from 10am. Click here for the full schedule. It is open to anyone with a TGE delegate or conference pass, plus standalone tickets are available for this day here.