On Wednesday 4th October 2017, the inaugural Music and Drama Education Expo North took place at the Deansgate Hilton, Manchester and Dan Francis went along to deliver a session called ‘Using Music to Teach Creativity Creatively’.
The premise of the session was to demonstrate the way in which a practical music session can be used to help children develop both the knowledge and skills to be able to think creatively about their work whilst also delivering the National Curriculum for Music as it currently stands.
Over 90 delegates, made up of instrumental tutors, classroom teachers and Heads of Service, went through a massed ensemble performance of the William Tell Overture before using this as a stimulus for a series of group compositions built around themes identified in the music. This ended with a giant Rondo performance of each group’s composition and, throughout the process, delegates identified the vast array of practical skills and conceptual understanding they both developed and demonstrated through the practical activity.
Concluding the session, Dan outlined the value of using a skills tracker as both an ongoing assessment and planning tool to help teachers and children identify the myriad skills and knowledge being developed at different times and in different ways throughout any practical session and how this could be translated into a whole school reporting process where needed.
Ultimately, the session aimed to show that the best lessons are those where children are learning about music through doing music and they know what they know as well as what they still need to know in order to develop as musicians. As a principle, this can be applied to all musical contexts, whether this is through individual lessons, as a whole class or through an ensemble rehearsal at a lunchtime or after school.