This year, NYMAZ is supporting a cohort of four practitioners to undertake the Certificate for Music Educators (CME): Early Childhood provided by CREC (Centre for Research in Early Childhood). To kick-start their 2019, they spent two days last week at the CREC headquarters in Birmingham, joining other students on the course for some of their core learning days. Here the four students supported by NYMAZ (Lydia Buckle, Frances Bryant, Bryony Harris and Sarah Hydes) give an insight into their experience spending 48 hours at CREC!
NYMAZ will be offering four more bursaries for practitioners in North Yorkshire to undertake the CME: Early Childhood in 2019/20. Keep an eye on our website for news on how and when to apply, or find out more via the link below the article.
It’s been an inspiring (and quite intense!) couple of days at the wonderful CREC in Birmingham. We were introduced to the large body of research in the field of early years music; musical free play; how to effectively plan sessions; Kodály; assessment; new songs, and much more! I have come away challenged (need to do lots of reading) but also inspired by the passion and expertise of the three mentors who are clearly very experienced in their field and work together so well as a team. It was also great to meet the other students; in spite of our diverse backgrounds we were able to share lots of ideas, and enjoyed some lively discussion!
It was great to meet the other students on the first two core days, and having 48 hours together enabled us to get to know one another and begin to learn from each other. Some are immersed in early years already, and others are just starting out with this age group but have lots of musical or educational experience.
My favourite part of the course so far was Zoe Greenhalgh’s Kodály singing workshop on day 2, partly because it involved singing and moving, and partly because I love the way Zoe’s way of working is based around fun and play - something I want to hang on to in the midst of tasks, reading lists etc! The other main challenge I took away was that as students on the CME: Early Childhood course we have a unique opportunity to observe and listen to children’s music-making, and attempt to record or capture that as evidence that children have an inborn musicality. So, I am looking forward to the next 6 months… the tutors complement each other really well, and CREC in Birmingham is a great base.
During the first day we focused on the research side of things, with Nicola Burke giving an overview of early childhood musical development. There are so many books and articles to read! Next we had a really interesting session on musical play. We were shown some examples of musical play in less typical settings, such as during lunch at a nursery or while playing a computer game, and were able to discuss the musical outcomes we could see. As part of the course we have to set up a musical play facility and be observed interacting in free child led play. I’m looking forward to trying this out.
We learnt about the different types of song, such as chant or pot-pourri (mixing known songs) which will be helpful when we observe children. I’ve got a much deeper understanding of what to look for when I am observing early years musical behaviour now.
The second day was practical, with Zoe Greenhalgh leading a Kodály inspired session. Although I’ve done much of this with primary age children, I am still working out how to incorporate this into my early years work. Finally we had a session on assessment and an in-depth discussion on the difficulties we face.
One of the most exciting things was meeting all of the other participants in the course. They had a wide range of backgrounds, from nursery managers to peripatetic music teachers and all had different perspectives and experiences to contribute.
Having returned from a packed yet enjoyable few days at CREC, my initial concerns about being at a disadvantage with the course by being an instrumental peripatetic teacher and not based within an early years setting, were soon dispersed and replaced by enthusiasm to get stuck in! The various settings that the students come from can only be a positive in enabling us to help and bounce off each other and, under the umbrella of the three highly experienced and knowledgable mentors, who clearly want to pass on their expertise, I feel confident that this will be a successful and enjoyable adventure.
There is definitely a lot of research and reading to get engrossed in but this is balanced by the fun music sessions and free play that will be taking place. Again, concerns about the differences in the assessing and observing I do now for instrumental tuition were dispelled. The session covered on assessment has encouraged me to look at these younger children in a different way and with a more thorough understanding.
Although still slightly daunted by the tasks and units, I am very much looking forward to the coming year on this course and am happy to be part of the group of NYMAZ students who are embarking on this experience with me.