I am looking round my classroom as I read this and yep, there are plenty of key words on the walls!

Music Education Now

In 1976 Raymond Williams, the Welsh cultural theorist, published the book ‘Keywords, A vocabulary of culture and society’. (1) It was revised and expanded in 1983. It is shortly to be republished. Raymond Williams had gathered his keywords and researched their provenance over a period of thirty years following the Second World War. The word ‘culture’ unsurprisingly has one of the longest entries. Each entry is in effect a mini essay through which Williams shows how words change their meaning over time and across contexts. Others have asked: how is it that words can have meaning? After all, many words can only be defined in terms of other words. (2) Rarely can definitions provide the meaning of a word or term. In this view reducing words to labels is the final act of meaninglessness.

In England it was about 1995 that words started appearing on music room walls. When asked…

View original post 408 more words

Teaching Music in the 21st Century

I have five suggestions for how we might improve our situation in schools and at the same time help students become independent, life-long music makers, capable of making creative musical decisions on their own-David A Williams via Musical Futures

Musical Futures


Experiencing music today is often very different than it was one hundred years ago. We have an abundance of new musical styles, we have new musical instruments that are capable of producing new sounds, and we have new concert venues that include the internet and in-ear listening. The musical landscape of the early 21st century is vastly different than it was at the turn of the previous century. Today music is everywhere at all times, there is almost instant access to any music you would care to hear, and personal music making can take on a variety of different forms regardless of skill level or previous musical experience.

Yet even with the evolution in music and musical involvement in society little has changed in the way musicians are educated and developed in school music programs, especially in the United States. Our models originated when music making was a vastly different…

View original post 417 more words

Key Words, Key Words, Key Words


I wrote this blog back in Feb 2014 after  we welcomed candidates for interview for a Head of Music post at our school and as part of the interview they were asked to teach a lesson. During the formal interview in the afternoon, they had the opportunity to feed back on how they felt it went and three of them expressed surprise that our students “don’t know their key words”.

Continue reading

What is good feedback in music?

DSC_1701I wrote this blog following  a marking review in school that involved every department in the school  submitting work from selected students to be reviewed by panels of staff from different subjects who responded to a set of questions from SLT. Of course when I arrived for my panel session there was a box of exercise books and the questions were clearly geared around what you might expect to find inside these.

Continue reading