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What are your Desert Island Discs?
Singing Ambassador Howard Goodall chose his Desert Island Discs this week. What are yours?
Inclusion and the music examination boards
The steel pan is a musical instrument. Why not just add it to the list of instruments examined? Sure, the instrument has a cultural significance, and the adding of non-white culture to the educational spectrum is a kind of recognition that not everything derived from a white heritage, but the pan is also a viable musical instrument which can be played in a range of styles at a range of levels (say Gd 1 to Gd 8?). Some years ago (1994, I think) I co-presented a case to senior members of ABRSM & Trinity for simply creating a syllabus of pieces at different grades and allowing pan players, taught by pan teacher or class teacher, or private teacher, to chase Grade qualifications. Both boards agreed in principle, and the ABRSM actually went as far as to commission sample lists of pieces and scales for each grade. But then they seemed to get over-concerned about cultural heritage, and moved on to Music Medals.
Students teaching students
I am very impressed with the way Guildford County School fosters peer collaboration in their music technology club. Children learn very naturally from one another, and as this msuic director from Guildford say, 'everybody wins'. Similarly, I encourage student teaching through my Music and Keyboard in the classroom course (free sample downloads at In this general music course desinged for KS3, Students who play an exercise particularly well may be granted ‘teacher’ status for that exercise. This allows them to browse the class and assess others. Students love this part of the course and I have been delighted with how seriously they undertake it. This creates opportunities for higher level learning, and for me to observe their interactions closely. I aim to give every student the opportunity to be a student teacher and thus create opportunities for all students to develop student leadership and responsibility.
Creative Learning - The Norwegian Strategy
Today children and young people are growing up in a complex and ever-changing society, and in a more interwoven world than previous generations.

If the education system is to succeed in equipping them for the future, it must be based on a broad definition of knowledge and we must succeed in providing adapted education through varied teaching methods.

To ensure that the new National Curriculum reflects a broad definition of knowledge and the basic competence needed by young people today, the Norwegian Government decided to add a new part called «The Quality Framework». Read more, and download the document, at
Early Years Music
Share your experiences of working in early years music.

What problems and issues have you come across?

What great ideas and activities would you like to share with other practitioners?

Creativity is key at Key Stage 3
I am very pleased to read about the renewed emphasis on creativity in Key Stage 3 music. Not just in the UK, but world-wide there has been a neglect of creative learning opportunities in comparison to listening and responding to music. Yes, creativity has certainly been under-represented in favour of music as a re-creative activity.

For some reason, music students are not always expected to be creative in the same way as students of visual arts, dance, drama or media. We need to address this!

At my school -Dubai British School- the 200 key stage 3 students really enjoy the creative activities presented in my book 'Music and Keyboard in the Classroom: Book 2 -Getting Creative'. Designed for the keyboard laboratory, the ideas can be transferred to tuned percussion and other instruments.

Michael Griffin
Should music lessons be about working hard, playing hard, or both?
In his interview with the Music Manifesto, National Music Week artist Lil' Chris spoke of his frustrating experiences in school music lessons. He insisted music learning should be about having fun, whereas his teacher always advocated hard work. Who would you side with?
The Manifesto's five priorities
The Music Manifesto Partnership and Advocacy Group has announced its five priority areas for the campaign. Read the story

The five priorities are: An awards scheme to celebrate good practice; Workforce development; Transition; Crossing boundaries between in-school and out-of-school sectors; Special educational needs and inclusivity.

What do you think? Do you have experience in these areas that you would like to share? Do you have ideas, opinions or resources that could help inform the work of the MMPAG? Share your views.
Music Manifesto Report No 2
Comments and reactions. Tell us what you think of the report's recommendations.
The Choir: Boys Don't Sing
Are you watching the new series of The Choir? Tell us what you think of Gareth Malone's latest TV challenge.


Related Information:

What's so great about music? #5

Writer and musician Andrew Peggie meets a prodigious 16-year-old percussionist for whom the music never stops.

Do you believe in cultural democracy?

Could cultural inclusion be the key to social inclusion? Music therapist Dr Gary Ansdell thinks so...

    • MusicLeader West Midlands DNA sessions
    • Devon Schools Music Festival
    • Teaching Music Effectively (TME)
    • Grand Union Orchestra
    • Yamaha Education Friends