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Qualified Music Educator

There is more that unites us than divides us feels like it should be a famous quotation, but I can’t find it! Lots about divide and rule and the dangers of disunity!

But I was very pleasantly reminded for the third time yesterday that there is indeed more that unites than divides us in music education. The first occasion was when we agreed on the Music Manifesto – accepting, for the good of the children and young people, that music education takes place in and out of school, formally and informally and the more ‘joined up’ we can be the better. That message secured the music education sector an increase in funding and improved its offer to young people. Of course it didn’t make things perfect. But few would argue things were worse than they would otherwise have been.

The second occasion followed the Henley Review and the publication of the National Plan for Music Education. At a MEC seminar, colleagues from all corners of the music education sector found an exceptionally large level of agreement about what was good about the Plan as well as what still needed to be done – what was missing, such as Early Years, post 18 and adult music education.

Yesterday I was privileged to attend the first meeting of the working group on the Qualified Music Educator qualification (QME) proposed in the Plan. Once again colleagues from a wide range of backgrounds, with varied interests in music education found enormous swathes of common ground about what this qualification should be and what it should do. For those of you who are interested in the qualification I have included some further information below. For others, I simply reassert Aesop’s quote: ‘united we stand, divided we fall’. In these challenging times we need to work together and be united about what matters most. We must decide what our priorities need to be. We must discover how we can work most effectively in genuine partnership to provide young people with a high quality music education.

The principles of the QME are:

  • To support inspiring and motivational learning that can progress the skills of children and young people;
  • To be relevant to all musicians, regardless of musical genres and sub-genres and stage in career;
  • To be based on existing qualifications wherever possible, made up of small units that can be delivered in a flexible way.

QME is not teacher training; not designed to replace formal training as a musician; nor will it support the development of musical technique. The qualification is non-mandatory and is not intended to be a ‘licence to practise’.

The intention is to help music educators to improve their skills and develop reflective practice so that children and young people can be assured of the highest quality learning wherever they experience music education.

A steering group of experienced music educators are leading the development and are supported by a larger working group who are advising on the technical make up of each unit. It is this latter group, chaired by Richard Crozier, who is the QME Music Education Adviser together with Mark Novels (QME Qualification Development Consultant) that I attended yesterday together with Helen Coll, Kathryn Deane, Maricia Klincke, Penny Stirling, Julia Winterson, Robin Osterley, Scott Price and Julie Evans. Others had been invited but couldn’t attend on the day.

A second meeting will be held on 11 October with a period of wider consultation in November and a further meeting of the working group on 11 December.

The qualification is being targeted at level 4 with scope to develop at level 5 and above and is expected to be available by May 2013.

The steering group members will lead on consultation during Autumn 2012 so keep a look out for further announcements.

Richard Hallam
ISM President-Elect and music education consultant