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Focus on...training

Why is training important?
Training in Scotland
The National Youth Music Strategy
YMI Training and CPD Fund
Training that has been supported

Why is training important?

The Youth Music Initiative (YMI) is working to improve the quality and increase the scope of music making experiences for young people in Scotland.  This would be impossible without skilled and dedicated music educators to deliver workshops, tuition, classes and projects.

It is essential, therefore, that music educators have the opportunity to update and upgrade their skills and knowledge through continuing professional development (CPD).

Early years music class; Photo: Neill Forrest

Training in Scotland

In July 2007 the YMI published an audit of training and CPD for music educators in Scotland, titled A Sound Investment.   It seems that music educators in Scotland have a great enthusiasm for CPD.  Participants in the research felt that regular training was key in developing their skills or learning new ones in order to improve their practice.  However, there is a wide variation in provision and practice from area to area. 

The audit found that employers of music educators (such as local authorities) spend an average of £150 per year on CPD for their employees.  This seems like good news - but it also found that 40-60% of employees spend their own money on CPD in addition to any training provided by their employer. Music technology workshop; Photo: A. Ferguson

Freelance music educators (private music teachers, for example) have unique problems regarding training.  Not only must they spend their own money, but any time spent on training courses means time not working, and a loss of income.  Nevertheless, 60-85% of freelance practitioners spent money on CPD in the year before the audit took place.

This willingness to spend money on training and CPD suggests it is highly valued by music educators

The National Youth Music Strategy

The National Youth Music Strategy (launched 2006) is intended to form the basis of strategic developments throughout the youth music sector.  Under the section 'Organising participation', Aim 4 directly talks about CPD.

Taiko drumming workshop; Photo: courtesy Craighalbert Centre

"Support all adults working with young musicians through continuing professional development prgrammes, recognising and rewarding, where appropriate, their professional status".

The outcome of this aim will be an "exploration of innovative approaches to CPD and training".

YMI Training and CPD fund

In order to begin working towards this aim, the YMI set up a Training and CPD Fund at the beginning of 2007.  The fund supports music educators to engage in activities that will extend and improve their professional practice and ability to deliver high quality music making activities.  Lochgoilhead Fiddle Workshop; Photo: Derek Prescott Photographic

This could range from attending training courses or conferences to more tailored CPD such as mentoring sessions or research.

Individuals and organisations can both apply to the fund.  Individuals can apply for up to £750, and organisations for up to £5,000.  The fund is now closed for 2007/08 but will reopen for 2008/09 on 1 April 2008.

Training that has been supported

What projects have been supported so far by the YMI Training and CPD Fund?  Here are just a few examples.

The organisation JAM, who work with young people in the Borders, were supported to run two training days to expand their expertise in working as instructors and mentors.  JAM also involved young people in the training days, allowing them to develop their own skills. 

Drummer at JAM workshop; Photo: courtesy JAM

Bill Muir from JAM commented, "The response from the first day has been very good...I was pleased to be able to demonstrate that those capable of taking workshops of the highest standard can be found on your doorstep."

Naheed Cruikshank; Photo: courtesy Glasgow Cultural Enterprises Naheed Cruikshank wanted to develop her own professional skills as a mentor for trainee music leaders.  She received an award to engage with a creative learning mentor, attending sessions to focus on career development, reflection on current practice and developing mentoring skills.

Naheed says "it has provided an invaluable insight into my creative and personal development.  Peter Renshaw is a remarkable mentor...He asks questions which make me question, ponder and deliberate for a long time after.  Having the time to reflect on my practice is hugely beneficial to my ongoing professional development."

Gica Loening attended the Balkan Summer Music Camp as a trainee community music tutor.  The camp offered Gica an opportunity to develop her skills in working with vulnerable young people, as well as gain a wider perspective on community music opportunities.

The YMI Training and CPD fund will reopen on 1 April 2008 - more information is available on the YMI funding pages for individuals or the YMI funding pages for organisations

Possible sources of CPD and training information
* Music Leader
* National Youth Choir of Scotland
* Youthlink Scotland
* Voluntary Arts Network
* Feisean nan Gaidheal
* Local authority arts officers
* Learning Teaching Scotland
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