All the news from Musical Futures International
Alan Crawford takes up a position as Head of Academic Music, and Specialist Leader for Practitioner Research at Dubai College from September.
He will be hosting a Musical Futures 2 day training event at Dubai College 10-11th November 2017. You can find out more and register for a place here
I have had a diverse career to date as a Musician, Educator and Researcher– I have taught or led music departments in N Ireland, in England in Singapore and in the UAE. I have performed as a musician in various roles from church organist to pianist in a Big Band, as an accompanist to opera singers to director of a community choir based in North London.
My training encompassed historical and analytical study of canon of western classical music as part of my BMus, conservatoire level study of piano at the RIAM in Dublin and later engagement with Ethnomusicology as a masters degree at SOAS, London. Inspirational teacher training at Cambridge with the legendary John Finney smashed my narrow-minded conceptions of students and learning.
More recently a sabbatical year to study for an MPhil in Arts, Creativity, Education and Culture under the passionate supervision of Professor Pam Burnard at Cambridge got me to reflect upon the multiple creativities in the arts and how our teaching should be relevant to the real-world practices of young people.
Outside of formal education, I have engaged young people in cultural, outdoors and charity trips from India and Nepal to South Africa, Russia and Lebanon. In this, it is very interesting to experience how young people learn (often better) outside the formal structures of the classroom and the curriculum.
Whilst my involvement in Musical Futures has been quite late in comparison with others, I champion its philosophy, its scope and its approach. Music Education should be inclusive of all young people, shaped their interests, their ways of working and with them as drivers. Musical Futures is centred on this all-important student voice. It does not revolve around teaching-to-the-test, or judging students progress through arbitrary level-descriptors, but enables them to self-organise, collaborate, experiment, jam and play, making their own music their own way. The key is in the title:
I have found that the Musical Futures approach encourages these active learning strategies and embraces both technology and social media. This approach liberates the teacher from taking on the role of expert, or deliverer of knowledge to that of facilitator and of making music together with students.
In the short time that I have trialled Musical Futures in my classroom, I observed students taking much more initiative and ownership in their music-making. It has made ensemble performance more accessible to students of all abilities.
Join Alan and members of the Musical Futures International training team at Dubai College for 2 days of Musical Futures workshops in November!
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