Creativity and music education part 1

This year I submitted the session outline copied below, to the Music Education Expo, Manchester and was fortunate to have been chosen to deliver this presentation alongside fellow freelance music education consultant Alan Cameron at the event in October.

I didn’t end up giving the presentation as I was working elsewhere, but I am looking forward to wrapping this work into a new creativity pilot project that I will be working on in 2019.

As I was reading Martin Fautley’s latest blog and subsequent comments and discussion which calls asks for some consideration of similar points in the context of KS3 music in the UK, I was reminded of this report and the presentation and workshop I had planned to give.

It got me thinking about how much attention we pay as music teachers to how we can create and nurture an environment in which both students and teachers can explore creative approaches to music education – both in teaching and learning – and navigate the barriers that are thrown up along the way.

So I’m off to tackle my farily extensive ‘creative education’ reading list for the Christmas holidays. Any suggestions for what should be on it?


The 2014 UNESCO report entitled Nurturing creative thinking (Kampylis and and Berki) identifies the following suggestions for ways in which creativity in education can be re-examined:

  • what students learn (e.g. a diverse range of skills and subject content following their own learning pathways);
  • how they learn (e.g. learning approaches and methods such as problem-based learning, constructivism, self-organised learning, instructional design, game-based learning);
  • where they learn (e.g. in any location within school buildings, foyers, lounges, common spaces and corridors, home, a youth club, or indeed in the street);
  • when they learn (e.g. after formal school hours and at any age);
  • who they learn with (e.g. not only with teachers and classmates, but also with a range of other people, such as peers, experts, and people near to or far from them, and by themselves with self-organised learning methods, etc.); and
  • for whom and why they learn (e.g. not just for themselves or for future employers, but also for their fellow citizens, society and industry, and for the world as a whole).

As part of a new partnership announced in 2018, Musical Futures International and Soundtrap have been exploring their shared vision for expanding opportunities for teachers and students to better embrace creativity and collaboration that starts in the music classroom but that isn’t limited by location, space or how people engage with music learning.

A synergy of hands on, engaging, practical music workshops and new ways to collaborate creatively online using cloud-based platforms across a range of devices has opened up new ways to embrace self taught learning within the more formal structures that traditionally exist within music education.

This session will explore through a practical workshop some of the points raised in the UNESCO report and model ways to start to acknowledge, use and nurture them in the classroom.

2) A practical workshop will establish key musical ideas from within the group and model the building blocks of composing and improvising. This will then lead to a practical example of how these can be supported and built upon using music technology both within the classroom and in students’ own time.

3) Delegates will be provided with a resource to use with their students to build on the learning from the session. There will be an opportunity for discussion and the sharing of ideas for how this might have an impact on classroom practice and to address some of the challenges that are raised by the UNESCO report.

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