A Year In The Life…

Reflection – My Music Teacher Year September 2018-July 2019

Those of you who have read my posts since January may have noticed a silent period between Easter and July. It’s always busy in my job, but some times of year are complex due to the number of things happening at once. My busiest times are Nov/Dec, mainly due to the annual Carol service at York Minster, and March to July as my Y11s complete coursework, my external work as an examiner kicks-in and final preparations for the summer production are full on. This year was busier than ever as there were 5 performance projects in the final 4 weeks of term, of which one was a 4-performance full production of Disney’s High School Musical.

In addition to the 672 students I’m responsible for every week, work with my amazing staff team, managing the 100s of individual music lessons and running rehearsals (at times, 9 per week), I try to focus my energy on investing as much time as possible in our young people, developing projects to support their learning. I also actively look for opportunities (like this one!) for sharing my practice to encourage other music teachers.

This week I’m away in the far north of Scotland resting and reflecting. I remember when I first started teaching, it was difficult to know what was coming in the calendar year. So as a guide, this is what happened, when, on top of the bog-standard contracted teacher stuff this year.

SEPT New GCSE Music Production Via Tech pathway begins

SEPT Performing Arts Leaders Applications & Auditions

SEPT Tune of the Week development for research begins

SEPT Open Night – MCO Live – 2 hour open orchestra rehearsal

OCT Spoke at National Music Ed conference

OCT Podcast for Youth Music

OCT Autumn Showcase Performances

NOV Presentation Evening

NOV Visiting primary schools to teach songs for York Minster

NOV Hope Community Choir recruitment and rehearsals

DEC York Minster Nine Lessons & Carols

DEC Senior Citizens’ Christmas Party

DEC Final Whole School Christmas Assembly

JAN Blog launched to help other teachers/schools

JAN Designs and Launch – KnowMusicShirts – clothing to highlight key musical understanding

JAN High School Musical Rehearsals begin

JAN London Les Mis Residential

FEB Final recordings for GCSE Music Coursework

FEB Meetings, rehearsals, and development for July’s Selby Abbey

FEB Videos produced and distributed to teach 4 songs to 120+ primary schools across the north of England

MAR iPad Music Competition

MAR Battle of the Bands York

MAR Development of choir tour to New York for 2020

APR Open ‘Voices’ choir Rehearsal with Archbishop of York, John Sentamu

APR Full Production & Release of “The Fight” (year 8 songwriting winner from 2018)

APR Ticket sales and promotions for HSM

APR ISM Conference at Birmingham Conservatoire

APR-JUNE GCSE Composition Examining

MAY MTA Conference at Bromsgrove School

MAY Photos & Programme design for HSM


JUNE “The Fight” Worldwide Release & Performance at York HubFest, NRM

JUNE High School Musical Production

JUNE Music leadership at Belfrey 9am begins

JULY Full Production performance for Y6 Transition students

JULY Service at Selby Abbey

JULY Y7-10 Presentation Evening

JULY Ultimate Showcase 2020 Launch & Survey

An epic year on many levels. Student confidence and independence in music seems stronger now, which I consider our greatest achievement. Fingers crossed for results as always. Next year…

1. hoping to understand challenges of music at KS2 more to hopefully encourage primaries to engage wholeheartedly in music with their young people. Our year 7s arrive from over 30 primaries and the range of prior experience is vast.

2. our performing arts leaders have been a real success – they’ve grown in so much confidence. Next we raise the bar, with cohort 1 leaders challenged to take leading roles in designing/managing the product of performance.

3. work/life balance – as much as I enjoy my work, next year I’m aiming to have a maximum of 2 extra projects in any month.

Out of Office… I’ll be back in September!! Time to re-create

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