Bex Mather

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Bex Mather

  1. 1. Background information to The Sage Gateshead and our Access to Excellence Pathfinder programme. a) The Sage Gateshead is a path-finding initiative. Our artistic programme is integrated in ways that are unique in the UK, placing equal weight on learning, participation and performance as tools for the delivery of our mission (music), and seeking always to connect the learning, participation and performance elements of our work. b) We combine the key characteristics of international venue, education provider, community music organisation, commissioner of new work and laboratory for new pedagogies. Our work is regionally rooted, locally distinctive and internationally admired. c) The success of our work over the last five years bears out the effectiveness of this approach, which recognises no contradiction between access and excellence. d) The Sage Gateshead has been designed, organisationally and architecturally, to be able to play a significant role in the current national transformation of music education, capitalising on: • our strongly connected, diverse, pioneering Learning and Participation programme across five counties (Tyneside, Durham, Northumberland, Tees Valley, Cumbria); • our proven commitment to programming and presenting all musics of excellence; • our landmark Norman Foster building itself designed to bring seamlessly together the worlds of learning and performance. e) The Sage Gateshead is making a distinctive, dynamic contribution to the national music education debate, reflecting: • five years of leadership unique in its bringing together of the cultural and education sectors; • a holistic pedagogic philosophy, which is exactly mirrored in our organisational structure and programming; • an integrated approach to young people’s musical development, grounded within broad, secure alliances across all relevant sectors. f) We have established and energised extensive local, regional and national partnerships during the first five years of our work. Our work on this second stage of our programme will harness the energy of those relationships in common purpose, significantly adding to the value of all our joint investments. g) We are a mature and significant player in our sector, having a clear history of commitment to the philosophies of practice now emerging as national models. We are proud that our work has led to other organisations and networks taking up and developing some of the key principles we have been pioneering since
  2. 2. 2000. These include: i) Focus on learner(s) – putting young people first ii) Focus on the importance of a joined up landscape of musical opportunities, offering clear, multi-entry, adaptable progression routes for all children and young people iii) Young people’s participation in decision making – making a clear, proven commitment to young people as leaders and choice-makers of their own learning iv) Workforce development using fitness-for-purpose models - bringing together historically separated pedagogies and uniting ‘community musicians’ and ‘music educators’ in equal exchange and dialogue for the well being of young people v) Equity of all musics vi) Focus on KS 2 - 3 transition opportunities through music, and for music vii) Family learning with the under 5s through music, and for music viii) Focus on the voice as central to musical development. h) The diverse financial framework we have established to support our programme ensures that we build a broad base of stakeholder interest and support. This richness of partnership has been noted as a strength of our approach to building legacy1. i) The five aims of the Music Manifesto and the aims and objectives of The Sage Gateshead’s Learning and Participation programme are strongly aligned and mutually supportive.                                                                  1  See Hitting the Right Notes – Learning and Participation at The Sage Gateshead, DEMOS/DfES/Paul Hamlyn  Foundation, July 2005 
  3. 3. Creative Transitions Phase 1 - part of The Sage Gateshead Access to Excellence Pathfinder programme. The Creative Transitions Project worked with primary and secondary schools across Newcastle, Darlington and Redcar between March 2006 and June 2008, collaborating with school staff and local Music Services to deliver a range of participatory music making activities both within and outside of school settings. Key Project Findings Young People • The opportunities provided by the Creative Transitions project encouraged young people’s creativity and music learning in a variety of ways, leading many previously disengaged primary- and secondary-aged pupils to re-engage with music learning. • Following their participation in project activities, young people spoke of their newly developed enthusiasm for, and confidence in music making and there were clear indications that the less formal activities provided at primary schools transferred into an increased appetite for further musical engagement at secondary schools. • In line with the findings from previous studies (O’Neill 2002; Hargreaves and Marshall 2003), young peoples’ engagement with and level of motivation toward their music making depended to a substantial extent on the level of ownership they had over it. • The project facilitated a cross-curricula approach to musical and creative activity, both encouraging the incorporation of broader, ongoing learning into project activities as well as encouraging the use of music across the curriculum. • The work of ‘Young Leaders’ and young peer-leaders proved a particularly effective method of ‘role-modelling’ music making for younger, musically disengaged pupils. • Peer leadership exchanges were also highly valued for the way they eased less confident young people into what were perceived as ‘safe’ (in terms of confidence) learning spaces. • The activities provided were particularly effective in engaging those previously disengaged from music learning. • The project demonstrated a number of ways in which musical activity could be valuable in helping ease primary pupils’ transition to secondary school, successfully building relationships both vertically (primary-secondary) and horizontally (between primary schools). • Opportunities for young people to participate in out-of-school musical groups impacted positively on their continued involvement in musical activities across the transition from primary to secondary school. School Staff  • School staff reported ways in which they had developed their own skills and confidence in facilitating young people’s musical and more broadly creative activity. This was especially marked where staff had shown the greatest willingness to actively engage with projects and where support from schools was strongest.
  4. 4. • Teachers have been able to see and appreciate the positive effects of musical engagement upon their pupils, especially those who were behaviourally problematic. School staff reported a variety of ways in which their preconceptions towards certain pupils’ abilities and motivation had been upturned following their positive participation in project activities. Some staff also reported how they had developed insights into novel ways of tapping into young people’s enthusiasm for learning. • Staff recognised the particular value of the participatory musical activities facilitated for encouraging pupils to work together in teams and build valuable social skills. • Both teachers and Heads noted ways in which the project had impacted positively at the whole-school level, by providing opportunities for performance, celebration and engagement with the broader community. • In some of the schools in which percussion-based sessions took place, project musicians looked to focus on components of basic literacy and numeracy through incorporating counting and group calls into sessions. Teachers commented how this provided a great way of engaging children, especially those with poor numeracy and literacy skills, in fun activities that also introduced key learning material. Project Leaders and Musicians  • Recognising the potential for their work to vary, in its style and emphasis, from teachers’ own practice, project musicians engaged in a productive dialogue with school staff to accommodate school aims. • Project Leaders and musicians gained an appreciation of how their practice could best function within school settings. • New models of classroom music delivery were developed throughout the course of the project as project musicians more effectively aligned their practices with schools’ needs. • Specifically catering activity delivery, managing expectations and maintaining clear and regular communication have emerged as key means through which trust can be established between project musicians and schools.   Other Stakeholders  • The project provided some opportunities for Music Services and The Sage Gateshead staff to work side by side in delivering musical activities within schools and to plan complimentary delivery. • The fruitful links established between local authority Arts Teams, Music Services and other stakeholder groups will be maintained throughout The Sage Gateshead’s ongoing music provision in Newcastle, Darlington and Redcar. (Extract from Creative Transitions Report - Dr Mark Rimmer)
  5. 5. The presentation will also represent our work in the second phase of this project focusing on: • Music Learning Teams (cross service and sector collaborative delivery models) • Youth Leadership • Creative Transitions models    

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