All the international news from Musical Futures
8/13/2018 0 Comments
, In June 2018, teachers from Australia, New Zealand, America and Asia arrived at the fantastic music space at The Melbourne Graduate School of Education in Melbourne's CBD for 2 days of workshops, discussion and networking for the 2018 Musical Futures International Conference The Big Gig.
The conference opened with a welcome from Director Ian Harvey placing The Big Gig in the context of "keeping the future in Musical Futures" followed by an energetic vocal and body percussion session led by Ollie Tunmer from Beat Goes on UK.
Workshop sessions included an introduction to our new Musical Futures Studio approach to music technology led by Steve Jackman from Shrewsbury International School Bangkok, exploring some new keyboard resources from Little Kids Rock delivered by Scott Burstein, Hip Hop for everyone led by Rapper and Poet Optamus from WA and more!
We also shared outcomes from our recent pilot project with Trinity College London and new workshops from Stephen Sajkowsky and Anna Gower from the MF International delivery team which will form a key part of our workshop program in Asia and Australia in 2018-19 (read more here).
Our panel session entitled 'beyond the 12 notes' included presentations from Nick Beach, Mandy Stefanakis and Tim Patston.
We hope that all of our 200 delegates had an enjoyable, stimulating and challenging time with us at The Big Gig, we look forward to seeing them again at one of our workshops soon.
You can keep up to date with all our new developments, pilot projects and news by joining Musical Futures to receive our newsletter and updates.
The development of video resources to complement Musical Futures teacher development workshops marked a new departure for the organisation when they were first introduced as part of Just Play. Although it isn't the first time that Musical Futures has provided resources to support our approaches, (see Musical Futures UK 'transition project' and Find Your Voice), the video play alongs were originally inspired by the work of Little Kids Rock. Our visit to take part in their workshops and to visit schools showed us how these were a great tool to support teachers and students with first access for popular music education. They help to get students playing together, provide a safety net for students and teachers to experiment with whole class music making and allow students to self-differentiate, ie everyone can take part, regardless of prior musical experience. If you haven't seen the play along videos, this video provides a useful overview of what's involved and how these resources work.
The inclusion of play along videos as part of Just Play had the following aims:
Feedback from teachers has been incredibly positive with regard to the resources and how they help to get all their students playing, skilling them up through playing and learning as they play.
But once they can play what next? Wait for Musical Futures to make and share the next play along? Make your own? Or explore how play alongs are just the start when it comes to getting a little deeper into the real-world approaches that Musical Futures is built on, whilst balancing the need to deliver the depth and breadth of content, knowledge and skills that is surely essential to a 'music education'?
Just Play, Non-Formal Teaching and Informal Learning
At The Big Gig teacher conference, my session looked at moving on from play alongs and into informal learning and non-formal teaching, the approaches to learning and teaching music that are the heart and soul of Musical Futures.
We started by playing a song together along with a video play along. The song I chose simply repeated 4 chords throughout and the video consisted of a simple bass line, a suggested comping rhythm that fitted with the original track and as experienced musicians and teachers, delegates could play it easily. Too easily. Some people started to look bored, the performance lacked energy and didn't do justice to the quality of the musicianship in the room. Whilst some players embellished their lines slightly, most just played what was instructed in the visual cues in the video.
We then reflected on the experience starting by looking at the 3 core strands of Musical Futures, (recently revamped with help from Emily Wilson, PHD student from MGSE). The focus was on understanding the pedagogy that underpins each strand, the role of the teacher in each of these approaches and to put Just Play, the play alongs and what we had just done as a group into the wider context of Musical Futures.
Playing along, musical knowledge and the 5 principles of informal learning
Next we explored the balance between musical skills and knowledge in the context of the diagram above.
There are many papers and chapters that explore what musical knowledge is and how it manifests in various approaches to music education in different contexts. For the purposes of this session, I borrowed a slide from the recent webinar led by Gary Spruce for the MF international teacher community where Gary shared the descriptions below of different musical knowledge types.
This is a great starting point to reflect on what students are actually learning when they engage with a play along. If Just Play is to build foundational musical skills and engage students with music through playing, how can other aspects of Musical Futures (and other approaches) help to move students towards a deeper understanding of what/why/how they are playing and engaging with music and where this could lead?
The next reflection point was how Lucy Green's 5 principles of informal learning fit with music taught through a play along. Thinking about our performance as a group, we worked through each principle and dug a little deeper by reflecting on what we had just done.
On first glance, our whole group performance looked to tick off quite a few of these.
Learning with friends? Well we are all friends in Musical Futures! Learning by listening and copying? Well there was a track playing so therefore that must be how we learned. Students chose the music? Well that's just not possible when it comes to whole class music making, plus you have to choose songs with chords that can be played on the instruments available. Integration of listening, performing, composing and improvising? Well kind of......Maybe a bit.....
However, when we discussed what we had just done as musicians as we played as a band with a play along video, we realised that actually the actions of following the visual cues in the video had probably been more significant than picking out the main elements of the song by ear.
Our conclusions were that although on the surface Just Play 'sort of fits' there may be other ways to explore the same song that get us a little closer to informal learning in a whole class situation than using a play along.
Could we answer questions about the piece we had just played?
Finally I asked the group 3 key questions:
1) Can you sing the bass line from the song (which was a riff rather than just based on the root notes of each chord)
2) Can you clap the key rhythmic patterns on which the groove was based?
3) Can you sing or play any of the 12 melodic riffs that appear in different forms within the song?
This activity revealed that despite us playing the song and claiming to have listened as we played, most groups were unable to answer the 3 questions very well. Exploring the song through a play-along meant we could play it, but we had really only scratched the surface in terms of understanding it.
Classroom workshopping and the place of notation in Musical Futures
Using the same song as a start point we then put together a whole class workshop. With the track playing we worked through the following activities (and others as they happened) before setting up a groove based on the original chord sequence and subsequent musical ideas that had developed from within the group.
Finally we played the original song again with the play along video. The performance had so much more in it with people singing, improvising, adding harmonies, far more of the original riffs and even the groove itself had far more energy!
Beyond the play along...
As we revisited each of the discussion points again, knowledge types, the informal learning principles and my 3 questions about the piece, the following emerged:
If you would like to give this workshop a go as a participant (and find out which song I used as the basis for the session), I will be delivering it as part of our Musical Futures workshops in Asia in November and January.
Anna Gower worked for over 18 years as a classroom music teacher, Advanced Skills Teacher, Head of Department and Head of Community Music. A freelance music education consultant in the UK and founder core team member of Musical Futures and now Head of Training and Development for Musical Futures International, Anna has supported the work of many organisations including Music Mark, Trinity College London, Little Kids Rock and The BBC as well as working with Music Education Hubs across the UK and delivering workshops across Asia, America, Australia and New Zealand.
Musical Futures Asia Champion Steve Jackman introduces our new Musical Futures approach to music technology, developed in partnership with Soundtrap
Steve is Head of Academic Music at Shrewsbury International School Bangkok. With more than 10 years of experience in the classroom, leading successful music departments. He also has experience as a Music and Music Technology examiner for Edexcel and AQA. Since moving to South East Asia Steve has brought Musical Futures to Kuala Lumpur and now to Bangkok working as their Asian Programme Co-ordinator. He also recently became an Apple Distinguished Educator, specialising in the use of mobile technology in music.
Back in 2006, I spent a day exploring the Musical Futures approach to informal learning. I left excited with my resources pack, including a CD-Rom! (remember when Encarta was everything?!)
In the classroom I gave groups of students CDs and CD players and sent them off to listen and copy a song- Cameo’s classic Word Up. The Musical Futures resource CD had each separate part on a different track so they could hear and learn all the different elements that made up the whole song.
This part of the Musical Futures approach had been developed to test whether students demonstrated the same level of engagement with music that had been chosen for them as they had shown when they were given free choice over the content when they and their teachers went ‘in at the deep end’.
The original research task involved listening and copying the material by ear, this time with the music broken down into single melodic lines and some support was given by way of note names to help as needed in contrast to in at the deep end where students chose a song and had a go at copying it, having to pick out the required lines, chords and patterns from within the whole song without help from the teacher by way of differentiated parts.
Fast forward 12 years to the present day: CDs and their High street stores are gone. The classic rock band is no longer king. The explosion of digital music, MP3s, Napster, Spotify and YouTube etc has widened the musical horizons of everyone. This coupled with the emergence of software and hardware that allows people to produce and record music in their bedrooms that until very recently would have required a whole professional studio to produce has created the opportunity for everyone to become creative musicians.
However, despite these changes, young people still find the music they identify with, get together with friends, listen, copy, recreate then innovate. As a teacher this is everything I aim for with my students and my engagement with informal learning and Musical Futures approaches has put this at the heart of how I teach and how my students learn, regardless of the content we are exploring.
Sometimes when you start using computers or mobile devices, students on a device each, headphones on, working in isolation, these approaches, together with the social aspects of music making that involve creating and playing music together can be lost. Worse still, a lack of an underlying pedagogy for music technology can lead to the creative use of technology being reduced to a process of drag and drop, directed by a set of step by step instructions provided by the teacher.
For me this doesn’t feel right, I want my classroom learning environment, digital or analogue to be social and collaborative. Just because students are playing digital 1s and 0s rather than guitars and drums I don’t think this should change the core ethos of the musical learning.
This year I’ve started using Soundtrap with my Year 9 and GCSE music classes. Soundtrap is a web based digital audio workstation, like Cubase or GarageBand but with a unique, killer function - the ability to collaborate. It’s like the difference between using Word and Google docs but for music. Students can make music with their friends wherever they are. For me, this is extending the musical learning of my students beyond the classroom in a meaningful way.
Take a unit on songwriting for example. In a lesson, groups of students are thrashing out ideas in a practice room with a couple of guitars and a keyboard and recording their ideas into Soundtrap on a laptop or iPad. But then when they get home they have the time to perfect their songs, working virtually with their friends using Soundtrap’s video and text chat window. Or just taking the opportunity to record that vocal line quietly and privately in a bedroom and then with one click it’s updated for everyone.
Finally I feel that music technology has caught up with music teaching and learning pedagogy. People are, more than ever before, able to connect with others across the world to create and collaborate through music. In my school it has allowed students to carry on making music outside the classroom, they connect with their friends online from their individual homes, listening, copying and recreating the music that they like,
At Musical Futures’ ‘The Big Gig’ in Melbourne I led workshops on how I use Soundtrap in my classroom to produce Electronic Dance Music. But shhhh! What I was sharing isn’t really anything new. I’m just taking the 5 principles of informal learning I learnt about 12 years ago and applying them to today’s music and technology.
Ollie Tunmer, Director of Beat Goes On reflects on being part of The Big Gig, Melbourne June 2018
My recent trip to Melbourne could have been a little shaky - I’d been working at a school in South Korea the week prior, then headed back to the UK for the launch of www.sambaoke.com (promo video on the way!), before the 26 hour journey down under.
Despite the slight disorientation, I could feel the warm and energy of the conference delegates from the word go.
One of STOMP’s first big bookings was the 1992 Melbourne Comedy Festival, so it was nice to kick things off here with some body percussion, inspired in no small part by my time in that show. I love how body percussion is initially highly accessible, but then as with any art-form, offers scope for more complex material.
The MF conference delegates proved themselves to be a highly rhythmic and up for it bunch, happy to step well outside of their comfort zones, a useful experience for all teachers!
I then led the first of several Afro Brazilian percussion workshops. Although African drumming is common in Australia, Afro-Brazilian percussion, including samba, is yet to become the staple that it is in UK schools. It was great fun exploring a range of styles from Rio-style ‘samba batucada’ to ‘drum’n’bass’, nodding to the Musical Futures ethos of incorporating students’ own musical preferences into lessons. Delegates seemed to enjoy these sessions and I’m looking forward to returning for a school workshop / PD tour - watch this space!
longside a range of fascinating workshops, talks and warm up ideas (Hadley’s ‘Chord Aerobics’ springs to mind!), the conference finished with a fantastic opportunity for teachers to play together. Some seriously impressive performances - Michelle Lewis excelled herself as my mic stand whilst delivering some superb vocals!
Session notes from my body percussion and Afro-Brazilian sessions are on the way and there are free downloadable resources at www.beatgoeson.co.uk
Huge thanks to all involved, I look forward to seeing you again soon!
"Music makes life better" The National Music Education Conference, Bejing
The National Music Education Conference in Bejing ran in partnership with the China Music Instrument Association and was supported by the National Music Education Service Alliance, in collaboration with the National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) and the Confederation of European Music Industries (CAFIM).
As invited guests of the China Music Instrument Association, Anna and Ken led an introductory informal learning workshops with nearly 100 teachers at the conference, followed by workshops with teachers at Roland Digital Education Centre and with children and their parents at Hua Dong Music City.
Highlights of the trip included some fantastic musical performances showcasing exquisite performances of traditional Chinese music as well as a celebration concert from the Make Music Day China 2018 event that involved over 3000 musical events across China.
We are very much looking forward to returning to China in October for another round of 2-day teacher workshops and to as guests at Music China in Shanghai.
With just 3 weeks to go until Musical Futures teachers from across the world arrive in Melbourne for The Big Gig 2018, the final schedule and details of the fantastic international team of presenters has been announced.
Presenters will be flying in from the UK, Asia, USA and from across Australia and the sessions will explore (in typical Musical Futures style) everything from body percussion and Samba to Electronic Dance Music and Hip Hop. There will also be an opportunity to debate and explore what it means to be a creative music teacher and what it means to 'go beyond the notes' with Mandy Stefanakis, Nick Beach and Tim Patson as guests for our panel session.
To read the full line up, browse through the conference schedule and grab your ticket, visit The Big Gig web page or drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
MF International Directors Ken and Ian will be in Sydney this week as part of EduTECH 2018 where they will be launching our latest partnership with Soundtrap.
Soundtrap is the first cloud-based audio recording platform to work across all operating systems, enabling users to co-create music anywhere in the world. We are looking forward to exploring how we can integrate Soundtrap with Musical Futures approaches through our forthcoming workshops and at our teacher conference in Melbourne in June where Musical Futures Asia co-ordinator Steve Jackman will be leading workshops exploring Electronic Dance Music through Soundtrap.
As part of the partnership, everyone who attends a Musical Futures International or Australia workshop will be offered a free 3 month trial of Soundtrap Edu and the opportunity to help us to develop resources and workshops that will enable more students to engage with creative and collaborative approaches to music making via our workshops and Musical Futures teacher communities.
You can read the full press release below and for more information please email email@example.com
Australian Teachers Get Inspirational Boost from Musical Futures and Soundtrap, a Collaborative, Cloud-based Music Education Solution
Partnership Combines Individualised Learning Approaches and Game-Changing Music Technology to Deliver Student-Centered Classroom Experiences
EduTech, Sydney, Australia – June 5, 2018 – Announced today in Sydney, Musical Futures Australia, a music education movement reshaping the way students learn and create music, and Soundtrap, the innovative online collaborative music and podcast recording studio, are partnering to deliver collaborative, hands-on musical workshops that will be accessible to teachers in Sydney, Australia and to music educators around the world. It’s a revolutionary approach that provides teachers with new and innovative ways to engage their students in hands-on electronic music as part of their overall curriculum. The partnership officially launches at the EduTech conference scheduled for June 6-8 in Australia.
“We’ve been looking for a number of years for a music technology integration that works best for our workshops. Soundtrap has huge appeal to us because it’s cloud-based and enables the kind of collaborative work we’re already doing,” said Anna Gower, head of Training and Development, Musical Futures International. “We know that kids really engage with music tech, but some teachers do not. Until Soundtrap, we were unable to find a platform that didn’t cost a lot of money, didn’t require a large amount of expertise, and did not result in barriers between the teachers and students.”
The diverse community of students at Doveton P-9 College in Melbourne is finding a common language through Music Futures Australia (MFA). Recognized for its innovative curriculum, Doveton is one of MFA’s 12 Champion Schools. These Champion Schools are developing new ways of teaching children and teachers about music through technology. With the help of Soundtrap and a Roland HS-5 Session Mixer, Doveton’s music students recently created, recorded, and later performed, a song they titled “Memory Lane.” https://www.musicalfuturesaustralia.org/mf-videos.html. The process exposed the students to music composing techniques and processes they would not have experienced otherwise.
“Technology gives us new ways to reach kids where they are. By combining Musical Futures and Soundtrap, the students had this unique opportunity to create something special—a composition that they could take ownership of,” said Jason Holmes, music teacher at Doveton.
Musical Futures equips teachers with the training, support and resources to give students informal, engaging ways to learn music. An international program with global reach, Musical Futures’ Australia affiliate is partnering with Soundtrap to provide workshops to 1,500 educators in Australia and New Zealand. From this base, the solution will be rolled out internationally. The goal is to give kids, mainly in the primary and secondary schools (ages 6-18), individualised ways to experience and create music.
Soundtrap, the first cloud-based audio recording platform to work across iOS, Android, Chromebooks, Linux, Mac and Windows platforms, enables more than 1M users to co-create music, podcasts and other audio projects with others anywhere in the world. The platform is being used in thousands of schools around the world for music, technology, math, science and a host of other core subjects.
Soundtrap is especially suited for today’s mobile-intense generation of students because all projects are saved in a safe, protected environment, and can be accessed at any time, from any device. (See video: https://youtu.be/2ViLQD_2RK4)
Per Emanuelsson, CEO of Soundtrap, commented, “Music technology excites and engages school-age kids, and Soundtrap gives music teachers the ability to truly harness that excitement and make those connections, regardless of their geography or the type of personal device they own. This partnership with Musical Futures shines an even brighter spotlight on Soundtrap’s mission to provide a worldwide learning experience to every student with access to a computer or mobile device.”
Soundtrap is the first cloud-based audio recording platform to work across all operating systems, enabling users to co-create music anywhere in the world. Headquartered in Stockholm, Sweden, the company also has an office in Silicon Valley, California, US. Soundtrap provides an easy-to-use music and audio creation platform for all levels of musical interest and abilities, and is being used by the K-12 through higher-education markets. For more information, visit: http://www.soundtrap.com.
About Musical Futures
Musical Futures provides teachers with training, support, networks and resources to deliver practical, engaging, developmental music programs in the classroom. Rather than limiting students to specific musical styles or genres, Musical Futures believes music learning works best when young people are making music based on their musical culture, and when their existing passion for music is reflected and built upon in the classroom.
Musical Futures was recently recognised as one of the leading innovations in global education by HundrED (https://hundred.org/en) and its efforts are supported by a growing bank of research. For more information visit: https://www.musicalfuturesaustralia.org/ or www.musicalfuturesinternational.org
What is Soundtrap: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xheoUkbyhE4
Soundtrap in Education: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCcMbVeTaD0xQZfUimscIhrw
How Soundtrap works -Collaboration: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YAPrEB07aFA
.We are excited to announce that we will be offering 2 new workshops in Asia in January 2019, a 2 day introductory workshop in Shanghai and a we will be returning with new approaches and resources to Shrewsbury International School Bangkok
Our Shanghai workshops will explore the introductory approaches of Musical Futures across 2 days and you can read more about the content we have planned for those days by clicking here
Our return to Bangkok will include plenty of new material for teachers who have been to one of our workshops before! So you can choose the option that works for you....
New to Musical Futures? Our 2 day introductory workshop consists of:
Day One : Introduction to Musical Futures the approaches and foundation units of Musical Futures Informal Learning, Find Your Voice, Just Play, Songwriting and Day Two: Getting Further into Musical Futures is packed full of new content including Electronic Dance Music and music tech, Musical Futures Styles, Hooks and riffs (a riff a day), Everyone Can Play, Assessment and planning
Been to an international workshop before? Our *new* 2 day workshops will include:
Day One: Musical Futures RECHARGE which will refresh and enhance your current Musical Futures work with NEW content and resources for informal learning, songwriting, Find Your Voice, Classroom workshopping, Everyone Can Play, and more. and Day Two: Getting Further into Musical Futures is packed full of new content including Electronic Dance Music and music tech, Musical Futures Styles, Hooks and riffs (a riff a day), Everyone Can Play, Assessment and planning .
Can't come to us? We will come to you...We are also able to offer some in-school consultancy to schools in Hong Kong and KL during our November visits. If you would like more details please drop us an email firstname.lastname@example.org or find out more here
A few years ago, Anna Gower and her students at Monks Walk School in Herts, UK, opened the doors of the music department on a typical Monday to share the realities of embracing Musical Futures across all their lessons. Not a text book or desk in sight, just students, instruments and a willingness to expect the unexpected!
If you would like to share a day in the life of your music department, why not drop us an email and we will include it in our #talklessplaymore shares and feature you and your students on our blog!
We are pleased to announce that we will be returning to Asia in November 2018 with new 2 day intensive Musical Futures workshops in Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur, Shanghai and Bangkok. Whether you are new to Musical Futures or you have been to one of our workshops before, there is an option to suit you. Please note that our Shanghai workshop is a 2 day introduction to Musical Futures without the recharge options.
And there's more! Book before October and you'll be eligible for our early bird rates.
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