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ABRSM Conference - 9th November 2019

On Saturday I went to the annual ABRSM conference, in London. It was a really good day, just to be reminded that being a music educator is such a vital role to play in today's society. And that teaching music is so much more than passing exams.

It was nice to catch up with other members of The Curious Piano Teachers, and organisation that I belong to, that helps with eh professional development of piano teachers. Being an instrumental teacher, you can feel quite isolated, which is why I believe that it is so important to keep regularly connect with others. This can be online or in the real world, although I do prefer the meeting over a coffee.

The saxophonist and presenter, Yolanda Brown, gave one of the keynotes talks. In this talk, she talked about how instrumental teachers are step superhero of music education. This is because we make things happen, and we provide a way for our students to escape the pressures of life. Music can open doors for our students. We help give them confidence and other skills that they can carry through different areas of life, and jobs, even if they don't end up having a career in music. She talked about the importance of being able to teach in a way that engages the student and not just teaching the way we have been taught.

Yolanda also talked about the importance of teachers spending time reflecting on our practice as musicians and teachers, and always to be looking at ways to be continually developing. I do believe that as humans, our capacity to learn never stops. It is vital to make sure that we are continuously developing and improving our skills and knowledge and even engaging in new skills.

John Holmes, the chief examiner of ABRSM, gave the other talk on the teacher as leader. He described leadership as, inspiriting people, taking responsibly, embowering others and having influence. As music teachers, we need to be helping our students to find their musical voice instead of trying to give them our voices.

I also attended seminars on teaching the core musicals skills, and what are they, the art of accompaniment, and how to teach composition.

All in all, it was an informative day and the food was good too! There is so much to reflect on, and I may write some more about this at a later date.

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