It’s who you know, not what you know….?

The music education world is trying to get itself ‘hub ready’.

Following the Henley Review and the government’s response to it the discussion around the country is how to prepare for the National Plan for Music Education – and more specifically the recommendation that funding for music edcuation which is currently distributed through local authorities (and therefore for many, but not all, given to music services) will in future be distrubuted to ‘Music Education Hubs’. 

It is universally agreed that the term hub is another word for a partnership which brings together the various providers of music education – in all its forms (in the classroom, extra-curricular and beyond the school gates) – to provide a comprehensive offer.  But how big should the hub be?  Who should be in it (and who shouldn’t)?  Can an organisation be in more than one hub?  What if there is just one organisation in an area providing all the music education provision for that area?  What about quality?  When are organisations going to find the considerable time needed to build a hub that works well together?

I don’t have the answers to these questions (and I am sure there are plenty more….), but one thing which I was reminded of yesterday at a conference (by Ben Ballard) was how the purpose of the hub needs to be centred on children and young people and their needs – not on who is available.  The ‘who we know’ needs to be children and young people and ‘what we know’ has to be their needs…..

Back in the spring of 2006 the Music Manifesto hosted a day to discuss partnerships.  As part of the breakout discussion the table I was at talked about how children and young people recieve their music education – formal and informal – from so many different people.  If you learn maths you have your maths teacher and possibly some help from your parents/friends when it gets difficult.  However music learning comes from classroom teachers, instrumental/singing teachers, parents, youth workers, friends, the internet (spotify, amazon suggestions, etc), magazines, books, the TV, radio, even the music you are made to listen to in shopping centres and lifts!  We ended up drawing an image to represent this which was a wheel – the child/young person at the centre and the spokes were all the various ‘teachers’ of music who contributed to their music making/education.  Is that why we are being asked to use the term ‘hubs’?!

I hope that as organisations discuss how they might become ‘hub ready’ they talk to the children and young people they serve and then make sure that the hub is ready to meet that need.

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