I am a member of the MMA and I have just got back from another amazing conference. I wanted to blog about it because I think that everyone needs to come next year.
It was quite the weekend in Windsor, and hopefully you spotted me on the national news on Friday – sorry, I couldn’t resist! So, to have a conference just up the road in Eton seemed like a crazy idea. Quite good for me in one sense because I live in Windsor, but what with all the madness it was a bit of a crazy weekend. But I now look back and I am so glad that this weekend happened and that it happened in Eton!
The conference is an annual conference and is the highlight of the year for a number of music teachers. It is undoubtedly more attended by private school Directors of Music, but I can assure you that year on year there are more and more teachers from all sorts of schools and institutions. Frankly I think where you teach is irrelevant, the conference is about music education and that can only be a good thing!
This year it was amazing to be hosted by Eton College and it was great to spend time in their glorious chapel and soak up life in Eton. I am somewhat used to Eton College having been there a few times for various things, but this felt like an extra special insight. Their hospitality was amazing and I so grateful to Tim Johnson (Director of Music, Eton College) & his team for hosting the conference. I had the chance to sing in the Chapel with Tenebrae, and hear from former Head Teacher of Eton College, Tony Little. The talk from Tony Little was so inspiring that I left feeling I wanted to take on the world. He talked about schools of the future and how music education is at the heart of education both now, and in the future.
As usual there was a wonderful trade fair where you had the chance to chat to specialists, look at publications and chat music technology with a number key players in the market. It is great to have this as part of the conference as we often only see things in catalogues. Talks ranged from singing technique to vocal well-being, from Film Music to performance under pressure. Delegates could enjoy learning about film music, harmony, composition or how to progress in their careers. The sessions were well planned and well thought through, there was something for everyone. Keynote speeches were fantastic and there is even a black tie dinner to end the weekend. This year guest speakers included Tony Little, Will Gompertz & Michael Grade. There is so much I could tell you about the weekend and the MMA in general, but I don’t want to write too much now – you will just have to come along next year!
But what I want to say is that we do need to unite as music teachers and the MMA is a great place to do that. I would love to hear from those of you who are reading this and not currently a member. I would love to tell you why I joined, what I get from it and why I attend the conference. I would love to help you put a case together so that you can get the time next year to join us at the conference. It is not only amazing CPD but it is also the most wonderful networking opportunity out there. And even more than that you will leave feeling encouraged, knowing that you are not alone. It can be hard working in a one person department, but the MMA offers a chance for you to meet people and then keep in touch with them over the year.
It was a great weekend and Windsor & Eton was quite simply, the place to be. I think the main thing that has stuck with me from this weekend is that we all have a duty to make the case for music. We need to sell it, explain it and uphold it to our SLT and parents. We need to make sure that we describe and discuss the benefits to all who will listen, and we must stop at nothing to promote music in our schools. When parents, SLT and students really do see the long term benefits of music there is no doubt that they will make it part of their week. The challenges are great, but the solution is music.
For more information about the MMA and the conference, please do get in touch as I would truly love to see more of you there next year!
And of course you can visit:
Where you can read more about the conference and the work of the MMA.