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CMU@TGE Top Questions: Should music education include more business and career skills?

By | Published on Friday 20 April 2018

Book stack with headphones

With The Great Escape now just a month away, we are currently considering ten questions that will be answered during the three CMU Insights conferences that are set to take place there this year: The Education Conference (16 May), The AI Conference (17 May) and The China Conference (18 May). Today: Should music education include more business and career skills?

The Education Conference at The Great Escape next month will also see CMU Insights fully launch ‘Redefining Music Education’, a new research project we are undertaking with Urban Development and BIMM. We’ll present the findings of phase one of that research – a mapping exercise – and then kickstart phase two based on the debates that take place during the day.

A key theme of that research is assessing whether industry and entrepreneurial skills, and practical careers advice, should be more proactively incorporated into the music and wider arts curriculum.

We believe there is a strong argument to do just that. Creativity isn’t just about creating stuff, it’s about performing, sharing and distributing that stuff, and responding to the audience’s response. How can that element of the creative process become more central to creative art subjects in schools?

More proactively incorporated industry and entrepreneurial skills would also better prepare young people to pursue careers in the music and creative industries; provide said young people with increasingly important transferable media, communication and IP skills; and ensure music education is providing the next generation of creatives and business leaders for the music industry.

There’s also the argument that more closely allying music education and the music industry will make a stronger case for funding the former, as an investment in education will become an investment in the business. Given there has been much talk of late about music education being in crisis – with creative arts subjects being under-funded and under-valued by the powers that be – making an economic argument for music and creative education might reframe the entire political debate.

Though if we do think that industry and entrepreneurial skills should become part of music education, what specific skills and knowledge are we talking about? What do young people need to know – what skills do they need – to pursue a creative career, whether on stage or behind the scenes? What skills is the music industry looking for? What creative skills are other sectors looking for? And what knowledge would help young people perform, share and distribute their work?

Questions, questions. These are all topics we are looking to debate during The Education Conference next month. Maybe we’ll come up with some answers during those debates. Or maybe we’ll just end up asking more questions. Probably the latter, but that’s what phase two of ‘Redefining Music Education’ is all about. The conversation will begin on 16 May in Brighton. We’ll take the conversation nationwide over the next year. And we’ll regroup in 2019 with a plan.

The Education Conference takes place on Wednesday 16 May – more info here. See more questions we’ll answer at The Great Escape here.



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