Tuesday, 30 July 2013

[special] Learning and Teaching or Assessment and Reporting?

The 4th International Symposium on Assessment in Music Education (ISAME4)

Music Assessment and Global Diversity: Practice, Measurement, and Policy.

In April 2013, an international delegation assembled on the beautiful campus of the National Taiwan Normal University, Taipei, Taiwan for a four day symposium to learn more about assessment and reporting of achievement in musical development and learning from an august cast of international and national experts.The first of this series of symposia assembled on the campus of the University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida in 2007.

Figure 1. Administration Building, National Taiwan Normal University, Taiwan.

Figure 2. Delegates at the Conference Banquet, 4th ISAME, Taiwan.

The 4th International Symposium on Assessment in Music Education (IASME) Music Assessment and Global Diversity: Practice, Measurement, and Policy was co-hosted by Professor Mei-Ling Lai (National Taiwan Normal University); and Professor Timothy Brophy (University of Florida).

Assessment and reporting? Seems like a good idea. Everybody's selling it. But, in the high-stakes world of assessment and reporting policy and practice, we must remind ourselves that the most important aim is to strengthen learning and teaching. But, nobody can truly know what is locked in the world of individuals with the many classifications of complex disabilities and/or impairments, some rare. However, it does seem possible to make such an apparently insular world fulfilling through engagement in The Arts, particularly music. Music seems to provide an outlet for expression and communication with others in an otherwise strange and confusing universe. Indeed, some may possess extraordinary musical gifts and talents despite sometimes complex severe, profound and multiple limitations.

Several delegates took courage to present papers and/or poster demonstrations on the impact of the problematical issue of assessment and reporting policy and practice that confronts the daily work of special educators, paramedical and medical professionals alike. One presentation focussed on standards based assessment and reporting of a music and movement program for individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASDs).

ISME Music and Special Education, Music Therapy and Music Medicine Commissioners, Jessie Chen and Helen Farrell were delegates to this symposium. Jessie served as a presider for several sessions and Helen presented a paper and poster demonstration titled The Blind Assessor: Are We Constraining or Enriching Diversity of Music Development and Learning? Helen's presentation focused on the contributions of the growing body of specialist knowledge and understandings in the neurobiology, neurology and neuropsychology of the many classifications of complex disabilities and/or impairments; and its interaction with the growing body of specialist knowledge and understandings in music psychology/auditory cognitive neuroscience. This specialist knowledge and understandings shape approaches to this high-stakes debate.

Curriculum, assessment and reporting frameworks simply must take courage to accomplish innovative and sustainable outcomes that, in some modest ways, mitigate political, economic, social and cultural exclusion of children and young people of compulsory school age with the many classifications of complex disabilities and/or impairments.

The take-home message from this symposium is that members of the ISME Commission on Music and Special Education, Music Therapy and Music Medicine also take courage and advocate with determination and feistiness with whosoever we work in this high stakes debate.

Figure 3. Helen Farrell (L) and Jessie Chen (R)

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

That (singing) experience…

That (singing) experience…. In 500 words

I believe that many music educators and practitioners have some memory of music experience that has had an impact on their careers or activities.  In opening this forum, I wish to invite readers to respond by submitting their own experiences or stories. Granted, not all will be glossy, but each has something that music educators can learn from.
Chair, MISTEC Commission

Children Singing Outside a Church
Lately, I have found myself thinking back to school days.  Primary school days in particular, with rather frequent visits to my first official year in school. Official because I must have been 5 years old when my brother and I went to school for the first time. Other than my blue tunic with white collar and tie-back belt uniform, I remember singing.  In the classroom, under the tree, during the sports days… we sang. The next three years took me through a number of songs. It is during the singing sessions that I first heard and pronounced words in Kiswahili and kikuyu, very difficult for a 6-year old luo girl living in the heart of Nyanza Province in Kenya. Then came a major change of school, to one where we had an official school choir, and my memorable experiences revolve around choir practice and music outings.  But equally significant are the choral sounds, with unison and part singing, getting to know my vocal range, to sing texts that didn’t really mean a thing to me then but sounded good, and to sing some songs that said exactly what I felt.
It is odd to remember that even at that rather tender age, I found that song had the power to say things that I didn’t have the appropriate vocabulary to express. Singing was the available avenue of music making for us. It opened doors to the experience of beauty through sound, and had a way of inducing a good feeling, however long and tiring the practice session was at times. But was it just a pleasant way of spending time, an opportunity to escape the longing for home that boarding school induced?  Or did I actually grow in ways that were not measurable then, but that can be traced in later choices and achievements?
I believe that this early exposure to good music, through experiences that were fun, to say the least, may be responsible for my (obstinate) choice to study music despite strong persuasion to the contrary.  However strenuous music study became with time, there was always a voice that said ‘this is fun’, because it really was a pleasurable activity. I always felt that the outcome would be pleasant, and noticed that it brought joy to others too. Song in my early childhood led to the development of interest in music scholarship in ways that have sustained academic pursuit decades down the line.


Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Fresh thinking for Music Education





16TH July 2013




The National Foundation for Youth Music will be live-streaming a breakfast seminar looking at new ways young people engage with music and the implications for music education.  The "Fresh Thinking for Music Education" seminar will be of interest to music education professionals keen to hear about the latest developments in the music business and trends in how young people listen to, engage with and make music.


Youth Music supports hundreds of music projects providing life-changing music-making for young people with least opportunity, helping them overcome the challenges they face in their lives. The projects provide places for over 100,000 children every year.


A specially invited audience will hear three key speakers, including music journalist and radio presenter Pete Paphides, music strategist Chris Price (former Head of Music Last.fm) and Radio 1 presenter Jen Long,  give their perspectives on the latest developments in the music industry and the impact on young people as music-makers, listeners and consumers.


The implications for music education will then be explored.


The seminar is part of Youth Music's agenda to provide fresh thinking on music education issues, following a rebrand this week. The charity has gained significant knowledge and expertise on such issues since its foundation in 1999.


The breakfast seminar takes place on Wednesday July 24th at the RSA in London 8.45am to 10.30am and viewers can watch the seminar live online at www.youthmusic.org.uk/network .


Drawing on these key speakers' conclusions and against the backdrop of reducing interest in music as a GCSE and A Level subject, Youth Music's Executive Director Matt Griffiths will discuss the implications for music education and how we can ensure that it meets the needs of young people to reflect and nurture the fast-evolving ways in which they create, share and consume music.


The seminar will be chaired by Andy Parfitt, Youth Music Chair of Trustees and former Controller of BBC Radio 1.

Questions for the Q & A panel can be tweeted in live using the hashtag #ymseminar .


Youth Music's Executive Director Matt Griffiths says:  "Over the last decade, the ways in which young people engage with music have changed dramatically but despite their music consumption remaining high, interest in music as a curriculum subject in school is reducing. We have three great speakers to examine the changing ways young people enjoy music and we hope this may bring some fresh ideas to how music can be taught, both in and out of school, in a way that harnesses the musical passions of our younger generation."


View the seminar live online on Wednesday 24th July 8.45am  at www.youthmusic.org.uk/network . Questions for the Q & A panel can be tweeted in live using the hashtag #ymseminar .








1. Seminar Key Speakers and Themes

Chris Price has worked in music and the media for fifteen years including MTV, Radio1 and most recently as Head of Music for online music discovery service Last.fm.  His theme Disclosure Culture: discovery, sharing and the new language of music-making in the digital age will explore the changing ways that young people discover, share and make music as a form of self-expression. He will provide an up-to-the-minute insight into the new language of music-making, sharing and discovery.

The career of Jen Long extends well beyond broadcasting. She has spent much of her time promoting new bands at live gigs and on her record label Kissability in addition to editing the quarterly music magazine 'Zero Core', DJing, blogging and playing in bands. In 2012, Q magazine named her as one of the most influential young voices in music. She is well placed to explore the theme "Music careers in the 21st Century" and examine how young people's passion for music can be harnessed in many different ways.


Pete Paphides, veteran music journalist and radio presenter's theme will be 'Nurturing young music innovation in a time of recession'. He will examine the effects of the economic downturn on music-making but provide an optimistic view of why cuts and the recession should not be a barrier to young people making music. He will draw on his experience as a longstanding observer of the music industry and his lesser known role of mentoring new bands.


2. About Youth Music


Music-making is life-changing. Every year, Youth Music provides more than 100,000 young people with the opportunity to make music, helping them to overcome the challenges they face in their lives. Our music projects support young people to develop their creative and social skills, make positive contributions to their community and life happy, successful lives.

Our on-going research allows us to identify the ways to engage young people and drive fresh-thinking in music education. We also provide a growing online community for thousands of music education professionals. We know that many young people still need our help.

Youth Music supports projects working across all music genres.


3. For further information please contact:


David O'Keeffe,

Media and PR Consultant,

Youth Music


E: david.okeeffe@youthmusic.org.uk

T: 0207 902 1096

M: 07977 067576













David O'Keeffe
Media and PR Consultant
National Foundation for Youth Music
T 020 7902 1087

website     twitter    facebook

Join us in supporting life-changing music-making.

Donate here

Suites 3-5, Swan Court, 9 Tanner Street, London, SE1 3LE
Registered charity 1075032




Saturday, 6 July 2013

ISME Sistema SIG News Update #11

ISME World Conference: Porto Alegre, Brazil. July 20 to 25 2014. Information on the SIG can be found here: http://www.isme.org/special-interest-groups and further information about the conference is here: http://www.isme.org/isme2014

Do please also let me know if you are applying to take a Performing Group, put in a Paper or a Poster related to Sistema.

Sistema Global Here is a discussion and a short video explaining how to use the  search facility to access discussions and information on Sistema Global – both live discussions and archive material. Many thanks to Glenn for posting this.  2013-05-07_1432 - GCThomas's library screencast.com It is just 2 minutes of your time well worth spent! If you have trouble accessing this, please email Glenn to become a member of the Sistema Global community. Glenn Thomas GCThomas@sistemaglobal.org

In Harmony Liverpool is a key partner in this research network. The Orchestra, the Community and Cultural Value conference is the final event linked to the In Harmony Liverpool Research Network. Funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), the network has brought together an interdisciplinary group of researchers and practitioners to consider and discuss the value and impact of the In Harmony Liverpool programme.  Please find details and book your place at  http://inharmonyresearch.eventbrite.com/#

USA New Orleans: New Orleans Hosts One of 40 El Sistema Projects in the U.S. ... (I think there are well over 50 US projects now, but you may enjoy reading this article, which, for me, also provides food for thought regarding the numbers we aim to reach and the issue of waiting lists). Dedication, commitment, passion, hard work, consistency — and let's not forget love, fun, family, and community. These are values that define the daily work and program structure of the Youth Orchestra of the Lower 9th Ward (YOL9W) in New Orleans.


Haiti: The Haitian government champions classical music for the young. Haiti's government has launched a new project to provide music education for all ages and to encourage the formation of youth orchestras across the country. Inspiration for the initiative comes from the Simón Bolivar Youth Orchestra, the hugely successful product of Venezuela's El Sistema programme. http://www.classical-music.com/news/haiti-launches-music-initiative-modelled-venezuela%E2%80%99s-el-sistema


With thanks to Eric Booth and Tricia Tunstall, the following resources were included in their July Issue of The Ensemble:

New video material for advocacy uses:

A new 14-minute news segment on CC TV 's "Americas Now " reports the success of the Juneau Alaska Music Matters (JAMM) program, featuring founder Lorrie Heagy. It is a strong advocacy piece that may be useful for many programs. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k8ymrOcEW44&goback=.gde_4182827_member_249000418

Some may not be aware of the documentary film in progress, produced by Jamie Bernstein, telling the story of El Sistema's emergence in the U.S., focusing on the growth of Play On, Philly. A three-minute trailer for the film-in-progress is available at: http://www.elsistemausafilm.com


The Arts Education Partnership (AEP) has just published a new research bulletin, Preparing Students for the Next America: The Benefits of an Arts Education. It gives a useful snapshot of how the ar ts support achievement in school, bolster 21st centur y workforce skills, and enrich the lives of young people and communities. Available for free download at: http://www.aep-arts.org/publications-store/#id=1&cid=720&wid=401  Also, the AEP has updated and expanded their research database, ArtsEdSearch, the most comprehensive and usefully-organized in our field. Make sure you know about it: http://www.artsedsearch.org 

Animating Democracy, an initiative of Americans for the Arts, offers three resources for those involved in the arts and social change: 1) The Evaluation in Action webinar series; 2) a series of case studies entitled Funder Portraits; and 3) Special Collections, which are topic-specific mini-libraries. The webinar series hones in on common challenges that artists, arts organizations, and their community partners face when evaluating programs and initiatives. The latest addition to the Funder Portrait series explores how the Orton Family Foundation integrates artists and the arts into community planning work in small communities. For more information, visit the website www.animatingdemocracy.org   or contact Animating Democracy Program Coordinator Joanna Chin at jchin@artsusa.org 

The Online Database for Education Funding GetEdFunding is a free grant finding resource, offering a collection of more than one thousand grants and opportunities culled from federal, state, regional and community sources. It is available to public and private schools, school districts, and nonprofit organizations that work with them. http://www.getedfunding.com


Richard J Hallam MBE

m 07850 634 239

fax and office phone 01908 690078


Wednesday, 3 July 2013