It’s a month until the fifth annual Music & Drama Education Expo at Olympia Central in London on 9 and 10 February. Here’s a look at what you can expect – this year’s Expo is not one to be missed!
The fifth Music & Drama Education Expo will be bigger than ever this year, featuring the return of peer-to-peer learning through TeachMeets and Sharing Labs, insights and approaches from some of the UK’s and the world’s top music educators, a stimulating programme of debates, interviews and performances. There will also be a fantastic opportunity to talk to a huge range of exhibitors – from exam boards and publishers to teacher associations, music education institutions and instrument manufacturers.
Among the many highlights will be the opportunity to quiz Nick Gibb MP, the DfE’s minister for school standards, in a Q&A on Day One; a chance to look at the revolutionary new scoring software Dorico in a Tech Theatre demonstration and on the exhibition floor; debates and panel discussions on creativity, diversity and the political landscape for music and cultural education; and workshops and seminars run by leading music educators such as Paul Harris, Samantha Coates, Kuljit Bhamra, Karen Gibson, and many more.
The Expo is also the place to put faces to names – so whether it’s buttonholing a member of the Music Education Council or a representative from your particular exam board, or seeking out advice by talking to professional associations ranging from the Incorporated Society of Musicians and Musicians’ Union to the European Piano Teachers Association UK, Association of British Choral Directors or the British Kodály Academy – with around 150 exhibitors, it’s likely that the person you’re looking for is in the building.
Bringing teachers together
After successfully running alongside the established Expo programme in 2016 drama has now been fully integrated into the event, with a full programme strand of drama workshops and seminars. In a context where cultural subjects in schools are increasingly threatened with marginalisation, this provides an opportunity to build joint cause across performance arts teaching, with a sector that faces many of the same challenges – but which also has some innovative approaches that could spark some new ideas.
Right from the first full session, when composer, publisher and uber-networker Elena Cobb will get delegates talking to each other through a Thursday-morning speed date, we want to get teachers talking to one another, sharing ideas and resources, and making connections which will ultimately help them to be more confident and more fulfilled teachers.
With more than 150 exhibitors expected over the two days, the conference floor is a great place to discover new resources, try out instruments, and consider new approaches to your work. For example, you could:
»» Investigate primary singing by talking to Aldeburgh Music’s Friday Afternoons, Sing Up, Sing for Pleasure or the Voices Foundation
»» Talk about possibilities for your students with the National Youth Choir of Great Britain, National Children’s Orchestra, National Schools’ Symphony Orchestra or the English Folk Dance and Song Society
»» Find out about the benefits offered by different membership bodies, such as the European String Teachers Association, the European Piano Teachers Association, the Incorporated Society of Musicians, Musicians’ Union, National Union of Teachers or Music Mark
»» Speak to representatives of the major instrumental and academic exam boards, including ABRSM, London College of Music, Trinity College London, Rockschool, Cambridge International, AQA, Pearson/Edexcel, Eduqas, and OCR
»» Try and buy products from retailers including DV Music Village, Dawsons, Normans Musical Instruments, The Early Music Shop and Howarth of London
»» Talk to manufacturers including NUVO, Warwick Music Group (manufacturer of the pBone and pTrumpet), Yamaha Pro Audio and Kawai
»» Speak to publishers such as Alfred Publishing, Boosey & Hawkes, Faber Music, Hal Leonard, Kevin Mayhew, MusicFirst, MusicRoom, Oxford University Press and Universal Edition
»» Discover the work of fellow practitioners, including Jolly Music, Inspire Works and Keda Music – plus representatives from major universities, colleges and conservatoires
The Expo is much more than the conference programme, and every stand is staffed by knowledgeable people, passionate about their subject.
This year we have a particular focus on technology – one which is sure to grow in forthcoming years. The dedicated Tech Theatre hosts a strand of product showcases and seminars on integrating technology with education. Seminar highlights range from a look at new notation software Dorico to a KS1- to KS3-level workshop on using just a balloon, a microphone and a computer to create a piece of music. There will also be product showcases from Charanga and Rhinegold Education, and there is a large range of music tech exhibitors including Ableton, Roland, Steinberg, Yamaha Pro Audio, Pioneer, Playnote, Charanga and CJM Software.
Making the visit
Best of all, of course, the Expo is entirely free to attend, and there is much, much more on offer than we have space to mention here – there really is something for everybody.
Registration for the conference is now open. Book your free ticket and view the full conference programme at www.mdexpo.co.uk