We were delighted to receive dozens of proposals for presentations, and we were able to programme some top quality practitioner-led professional development sessions, covering every key stage and topics including teaching pupils with dyslexia, building community networks and helping students to deal with performance nerves. Delegates learned, among other skills, to loop, beatbox, improvise, play Taiko, compose on an iPad and run a successful business.
Speakers Big names on the platform included Darren Henley OBE, who spoke of the Mayor of London’s plans for music education in the capital; Ed Vaizey MP, speaking on the progress of the National Plan for Music Education; Ofsted’s Robin Hammerton HMI, who gave a persuasive defence to Ofsted’s uncompromising position on ‘what music hubs must do’; and Sir James Galway, who charmed the socks off everyone in the course of promoting his new online flute tutor, First Flute.
My personal highlights included inspirational warm-ups from conductor Dominic Peckham and ex-STOMP member Ollie Tunmer and fascinating debates on the future of GCSEs and on increasing student engagement, the latter of which was filmed for James Rhodes’s upcoming Channel 4 documentary on music education.
As well as our more than 50 seminars, workshops and debates, we organised a number of performances across the two days. My favourite was the Chestnut Grove School Steel Pan Band. Other performers included a string trio from the Corps of Army Music, a Taiko band from Chessington Community College, close-harmony jazz group Vive, and children from the London Russian School of Music.
The Exhibition Sitting alongside the conference programme was a major trade exhibition bringing together music education suppliers, publishers, manufacturers, exam boards, tour companies and professional associations. The show floor bustled with over 100 trade stands, showcasing a huge collection of the latest resources, instruments, technology and expertise from across the sector.
Among the many products on display, the exhibition featured the first public appearance of Tromba’s revolutionary plastic trumpets with the first production models on show at KORG UK’s stand.
Must-attend event We’ve had an overwhelmingly positive response from our exhibitors, with over 62 per cent of stands already reserved or booked for 2015. Perhaps the most extraordinary feedback received was from David Crawford, marketing manager at RATstands, who said that “in terms of generating sales opportunities it was the most successful trade show in the history of RATstands.”
Ciaran Morton, managing director of Rhinegold Publishing said: “This second year of success for Music Education Expo clearly establishes it as the ‘must-attend’ business event for all suppliers to the music education sector”.
Music Teacher Awards Alongside the Expo was the gala ceremony for the Music Teacher Awards for Excellence 2014. The ceremony took place on the evening of 7 February 2014 in the Barbican’s Garden Room and Conservatory with 190 guests from across the industry. Classic FM’s Margherita Taylor, ably assisted by a jazz trio from the Guildhall School of Music & Drama, oversaw proceedings, with awards presented by figures including Darren Henley OBE, The DfE’s Jenny Curtis, and representatives from the sponsors.