A postgraduate certificate / diploma programme for experienced music educators and leaders run by Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance, a specialist Higher Education Institute training professional musicians and dancers.

The Teaching Musician (Trinity Laban)

The Teaching Musician [ http://www.trinitylaban.ac.uk/study/music/the-teaching-musician ] has been designed as a professional development programme for musicians working in the UK and beyond in any educational setting: from instrumental and vocal teachers to community music practitioners. It is managed by the Learning and Participation (Music) team at Trinity Laban, who are based in the Faculty of Music, Royal Borough of Greenwich in South East London. The programme is designed to fit around the demands of working life, blending learning through face-to-face teaching weekends, distance learning through Trinity Laban's Virtual Learning Environment, educational (work) placements, action research and personal study.

the teaching musicians case study photo, copyright Trinity Laban

What is the context of the work?

Trinity Laban is a leading conservatoire for professional music and contemporary dance education and training. Trinity Laban's higher education programmes are informed by their commitment to widening participation in music and dance. The Institution recognises that supporting the music education workforce may be one of the most valuable ways in which they can ensure access to excellent musical learning. Their experience in enabling new and established educators includes the PGCE Musicians in Education in partnership with University of Greenwich, the MA in Music Education and Performance (MA MEP), the Diploma in Dance Teaching and Learning (DDTAL), a Postgraduate Diploma in Community Dance, and Teach Through Music, a professional development programme for Key Stage 3 classroom teachers in Secondary schools. They also support teacher development through modules (courses) within Degree programmes, short courses and events.
The Teaching Musician student cohort is diverse and represents a broad range of music education practices, as well as different age groups, including UK, European Union and other overseas students. The programme requirements suggest that students are normally those who have been working in music education practice for around five years. They tend to be actively employed in music education and have chosen to undertake the qualification around their work and other creative, family and/or personal commitments. For applicants who do not have a degree, yet who otherwise meet the programme criteria, previous study and professional experience can be taken into account.
At present, there are around 25 students studying across the Certificate and Diploma options on the programme, with an MA route available for the 2017 programme.

Does the example fit into a longer term plan, or is it 'stand-alone'?

The Teaching Musician programme has both full time (one year) and flexible (up to three year) routes. As a programme, it has been designed to fit alongside the practical needs of professional music educators/ music leaders. In 2017, the programme will enter its fourth year and will see the introduction of a new MA route offering further progression routes for alumni.

the teaching musicians case study photo, copyright Trinity Laban

Who is leading the work?

The Teaching Musician programme is managed by the Learning and Participation team at Trinity Laban. The teaching team, including Tim Palmer, Dave Camlin (Sage Gateshead), Janet Munro, and Rob Wells, are all well respected, educationally active, leader/practitioners who work across different areas of the music education sector.

What is the content of the work? Such as musical, social, and personal?

The programme content blends face-to-face as well as distance learning and is designed to fit the needs of those in employment. Elements include:

  • Four weekends of seminars and practical workshops, taking place during the school holidays;
  • A short work placement offering experience in a new setting;
  • Active engagement with other students, and ideas, skills and approaches, through Moodle Trinity Laban's Virtual Learning Environment, accessed online;
  • Written and practical assessments; and
  • Research skills and an in-depth personal project (PG Dip only).

What are the key features of the teaching and learning approach?

The programme is based on the concepts of 'situated learning' (Lave & Wenger, 1991 ) and a 'community of practice' (Wenger, 1999 ), with students developing their own practice in dialogue with peers and programme teaching staff.

What are the positive outcomes for children/young people – are they some or all of musical, social, personal, educational - how and when can they be identified?

Trinity Laban's evaluation work to date, focusing on the benefits of the Teaching Musician programme to individual music teachers/leaders, shows positive outcomes for students around a range of different components. These include the following:

  • The promotion of learning through inquiry and reflection, and by creating a circle of reflective practice that ensures teaching and leadership remain relevant, fresh and effective;
  • Opportunities to engage with contemporary ideas and research in music education;
  • Being better able to connect personal teaching/leading practice to wider contexts;
  • Experiencing a sense of creative renewal and 'recharging';
  • A strong sense of support and camaraderie, and a long lasting network of support amongst the student peers and cohorts;
  • Embedding theoretical knowledge, practical and lived experience and reflection into their practice; and
  • Studying within a dynamic and diverse student cohort representing rich examples and seams of practice.

What are the key features of context, content and activities that are enabling those positive outcomes?

The programme content enables students to:

  • Deepen an understanding of pedagogical approaches, ethical considerations and philosophies of music education practice;
  • Refresh and develop their own practice, and consolidate a range of new teaching and leadership skills;
  • Explore new ideas, learn new approaches and develop knowledge of educational and participatory settings through discussion with, observation of and learning from others;
  • Gain a fresh understanding of the role of the musician in the contemporary music education sector; and
  • Develop and extend collaborative skills.

What other factors in this case are contributing to those positive outcomes?

  • The programme has been carefully developed, reviewed and refined over the three years since its launch;
  • The teaching team is highly respected and skilled, and represents different aspects of expertise within the music education sector;
  • There is a culture of continuous innovation within the design and content of programme, with a blend of different types of learning and experiences;
  • There are opportunities for students to challenge themselves and take themselves beyond their comfort zone, with the support of the programme team;
  • Inbuilt flexibility within the programme allows for demands of working life for music teachers and leaders to be accommodated;
  • There are opportunities to engage with and link study to the work of the Learning and Participation Department at Trinity Laban;
  • The programme is open to, and relevant for, those working in different areas of music education and proactively serves to share learning across the sector, rather than appealing to or catering for one type of practice; and
  • There are opportunities for further study and progression through the programme (Certificate, Diploma and MA).

How replicable or adaptable is it?

As a concept, the underlying principles that inform the design of The Teaching Musician are likely to be replicable for an organisation with appropriate expertise, design and imagination. Currently, this programme offers a unique package of structured professional development opportunities and is open to applicants from across the UK, as well as the EU. In addition, Trinity Laban have adapted the face-to-face element to the programme to teach the programme through an intensive summer school in India, which is a model which offers potential for replication by Trinity Laban and collaborators in other international territories.


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