'I don't enjoy music; I just can't get into it'

These were the words of a Year 5 teacher at St. Teresa’s Primary School in Basildon, Essex who was featured on Channel 4’s Don’t Stop the Music broadcast on 9 September 2014.

As a music educator these words were disheartening but unsurprising. Since 2008 I have worked with hundreds of teachers and schools through the training and mentoring that my company, Music Education Solutions (MES), provides. The MES philosophy is simple: music education is important and should be delivered well.

There is no doubt that music education is being delivered well by many practitioners and teachers up and down the country, but with resourcing still an issue, despite increased government funding for music education hubs, we must work ever harder to persuade the non-music specialist teachers of the proven benefits of a music education.

Part of our individual responsibility is to ensure that we, as music educators, continue to be the best that we can be. Embedding Continuing Professional Development (CPD) into our practice as either musicians and/or teachers from the outset of our careers is integral to this. MES is proud to provide the TCL Level 4 Certificate for Music Educators (Trinity CME) in partnership with Target Education Alliance. All of our UK courses are linked to the CME and may be used towards evidence of prior learning when registering for this qualification.

We must also remain mindful of the fact that to the non-music specialist music can feel like a completely different language, and a lack of experience – not being able to play an instrument or read music – like an insurmountable obstacle. The good news is that anyone can teach music, given the right support and guidance. MES has extensive experience of supporting teachers and pupils in schools through INSET, training and mentoring services. We offer schools a range of ready-made INSET and CPD packages, and a bespoke service to tailor sessions to a school’s particular needs. We provide mentoring and team-teaching opportunities for music co-ordinators and assist schools with planning their music strategy.

Whilst documentaries like Don’t Stop the Music focus on problems, they also inspire us with achievable solutions and serve to remind us of our core purpose. One of the pupils filmed said: “I think I might have musical talents, I just haven’t found them yet.” Our job as music educators is to help pupils to experience music in whatever way makes most sense to them and to help them to find their talents.

Elizabeth Stafford, Director, Music Education Solutions Ltd