Feeling the groove: March 2024 Editorial

Phil Croydon
Friday, March 1, 2024

Showtime and togetherness.

Welcome to a bumper March issue of MT, and the point in the year when we focus on rock, pop and jazz. For ‘how-to’ guides, Rick Kershaw writes on developing rock and pop groups for KS3, and Music Teachers Choir leaders Leanne Sedin and Adam Saunders explain how working by ear can be liberating for singers and conductors alike, particularly when working in grooves. Adam Osmianski, meanwhile, provides top tips for practising the drum-kit, and Nikki Iles – fresh from her recent big band successes – reflects on jazz composition and education. All new contributors.

Our focus continues with an Open Day visit to a ‘disruptive’ HE provider, WaterBear, which seeks to prepare students for the music industry, and a review of guitars, footswitches and pedals by the imitable Al Summers (who knows a thing or two about noise gates and pickups).

Elsewhere, for more general coverage, Claire Jackson reports on musical and educational responses to the climate crisis; Katie Teage discusses the benefits of not sticking to the script when it comes to primary classroom resources; and Rachel Shapey helps us celebrate leading composers and educators as part of Women's History Month. It all starts in the classroom, they confirm. We also get a tantalising glimpse of what a new Labour government, if elected, would bring to music education, and how we can arrange effectively for mixed ensembles. For health and wellbeing, we hear from and welcome Soundcastle, the music charity and new partner for MT's regular column.

In terms of news stories, we have good reason to celebrate. Ofsted's plans for improved training and inspections, for schools large and small, in the wake of the recent inquiry are welcome, as are important findings by researchers at the University of Exeter regarding the long-term benefits to mental health of playing an instrument (not that many of us needed persuading). We must also applaud Music Masters' announcement that Sheku Kanneh-Mason MBE is the education charity's new Patron. The ugly reaction and racist abuse of the cellist following his suggestion that Rule, Britannia be dropped from the Last Night of the Proms was rightly condemned, and MT offers Sheku our full support.

Finally, in case you've not secured your free ticket for the 2024 Music & Drama Education Expo, there's still time to register for the show (on 22–23 February). We look forward to seeing many of you there.

– Phil Croydon, editor