Collective action: July 2021 Editorial

Harriet Clifford
Thursday, July 1, 2021

The editor introduces the new issue and reflects on the last month in music education.

As I write, it's the morning after the first evening of the Music Teacher Summit – a three-day online conference on careers, assessment, and teaching skills (available on demand for 3 months). As chair, it's been wonderful to engage with enthusiastic delegates, all keen to further invest in their careers. Last night, the ISM's head of compliance and legal, John Robinson, shared valuable information about rights for music teachers, but his section on safeguarding felt particularly poignant in light of the recently surfacing allegations against El Sistema Venezuela.

You can read about Sistema England and Sistema Scotland's responses in the News (p.8) and view the statements in full on our website, but I feel it is important to highlight the call to action from Sistema England's trustees. Appealing to the international music education community, they ask us to ‘work together with urgency to help shift policy to practice’, then list the areas in which this needs to be concentrated. It is of paramount importance that we are not complacent when it comes to abuse – as Sistema 

England points out, we are talking about a global issue. It is the responsibility of us all to further educate ourselves to help protect young musicians at all levels and empower them to speak out, when necessary, thus creating this ‘much wider shared culture of accountability’. Let's stand in solidarity with all victims of abuse.

Changing pace somewhat clumsily, I am delighted to present the July issue, jam-packed with inspiring content, both in our percussion focus and elsewhere. On p.16, you will meet all three finalists of BBC Young Musician 2020, including outstanding percussionist Fang Zhang (we all remember the moment he smiled at Mark Wigglesworth), and on p.26, you will find a fascinating interview with the one and only Dame Evelyn Glennie. For those of you in need of something practical, you'll find plenty this month, including Lauren Kosty's handy guide to carrying your new digital skills into your post-lockdown practice (p.20), the first instalment of our mental health and wellbeing column, (p.25), creative ideas for KS4–5 composition (p.36), a project to inspire young children through the music of Errollyn Wallen (p.50), and much more. You'll also meet Tim Rhys-Evans on p.40 and Nate Holder on p.58.

As ever, I would love to hear your feedback/thoughts/ideas, so please do write me a letter (see p.6), and don't forget to register for your free place at the Expo in September (see p.14 and p.46).

Enjoy the sun while it lasts!