• Imagining a plan for cultural education

    With the announcement following the publication of the White paper in England that work would begin on a National Plan for Cultural Education many will have applauded the announcement, and many will see this as part of a long history of policy and approaches that sought to champion cultural education. Music education has received considerable […]

  • (Re)learning how to teach music in the secondary school

    (Re)learning how to teach music in the secondary school

    Thanks to Twitter and a group of fellow music educators I have started a collaborative blogging effort to work through a selection of the tasks in the edited volume ‘Learning to Teach Music in the Secondary School‘. The venture was inspired by a tweet I saw from Christine Counsell. The cog sci is a useful […]

  • Valuing Creativity

    I kept coming across the inclusion of ‘value’ in the definitions of creativity; a creative output would typically be described as ‘original’ and ‘of value’. As a composer I wondered what value could mean; to whom? A quick Google Scholar search led to the discovery of Weisberg’s 2015 paper that shares my query about the […]

  • A creative personality

    Teachers’ perceptions of creativity are complex, but too often they are not complex enough. When asked what child creativity is, a great majority of teachers would probably define it with reference to at least one aspect of creative thinking. Most frequently, it would probably be originality (“non-schematic thinking,” “creates new solutions”) or fluency (“has lots […]

  • The craft of creativity

    Creativity is largely considered today synonymous with success. It is the success enjoyed by creative people who are accomplished in both their personal and professional life; the success of innovative institutions capable of thriving in the complex and dynamic work environments of today; the success of countries that cultivate a healthy creative industries sector and […]

  • Off limits excellence

    I’ve kept diving into Google Scholar to look at excellence, arts, culture; some recent finds see excellence on a par with perfection (Moreh, 1998) and genius (Ginsburgh and Weyers, 2014). Some explore cultural excellence but they’re referring to ancient civilisations (Bain, 2016) and their cultural artefacts, assuming the skill to create such work is technically […]

  • Stories of excellence

    ‘In general, insofar as art enters the domain of the art world, the institutional world of dealers, galleries, schools, granting agencies, collectors and so forth, it is subject to judgments of excellence, of which the relevance cannot be denied. According to many of those concerned, that is not what art is about; but it is […]

  • Reclaiming excellence

    ‘The time has come to reclaim the word ‘excellence’ from its historic, elitist undertones and to recognise that the very best art and culture is for everyone’ writes James Purnell in the 2008 report ‘Supporting Excellence in the Arts’. Brian McMaster, the author of the report, writes that ‘the desire and ability to innovate and […]

  • Qualities of excellence; excellent qualities.

    Provoked by the end of my last blog about quality and excellence I went back to the Arts Council England ‘Great art and culture for everyone’. Greatness distinctively pops up in the National Curriculum for Music where it’s expected pupils be taught to ‘appreciate and understand a wide range of high-quality live and recorded music […]

  • Quality Process; Quality Product

    ‘This research promotes the idea that critical examination of arts learning experiences (not merely arts activities) is a truer test of excellence in arts education than the production of artistic products’, written in Qualities of Quality: Understanding Excellence in Arts Education (Project Zero). I was searching on Google Scholar ‘quality arts education’ and this was […]

  • Opera in education

    I felt hugely lucky to be part of the development of Royal Opera House’s Create and Sing. I was a few years into my own singing lessons and but virtue of these lessons being with the tenor Ian Caley operatic arias were part of my vocal diet. A great deal of the developmental process, that […]