Alex Stevens on plans for the new Music & Drama Education Expo in Manchester on 4 October
Plans are well underway for the North of England version of the Music & Drama Education Expo. The event will take place on 4 October at the Hilton Manchester Deansgate, with three theatres, more than 20 seminars and workshops, over 50 exhibitors, and an expected 500 delegates from across the worlds of music and drama education.
After a successful five years of the Expo in London, which now feels like an established part of the music education scene – and a significant time spent analysing the data gathered from those shows – it is clear that there is space for a similar event outside of the privileged south east.
Full details of the programme have now been announced, with something for all types of delegate: there will be dedicated streams for early years, primary and secondary teachers, as well as sessions on technology and working with children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities.
Former Stomp cast member Ollie Tunmer will lead an energising body percussion workshop, giving delegates a taste of authentic Brazilian rhythms, practical approaches to ‘Connect It’ and ‘Mambo!’ from BBC Ten Pieces, and a range of brilliant warm-ups and energisers to take back to the class or rehearsal room. Participants in this session will leave with several accessible rhythm games and feel more confident when teaching it in class, having developed their own skills in body percussion.
And award-winning gospel conductor Karen Gibson, whose packed-out session in London raised the roof (and tessituras) – and who recently appeared as a judge on Gareth Malone’s The Naked Choir and The Choir: Gareth’s Best in Britain – will also be returning to turn the Expo’s participants into a gospel choir in 45 minutes: find out how to start and run a successful gospel choir, learn fun and inspirational warm-ups, innovative ways of teaching pulse, rhythm and syncopation, and consider the importance of extemporisation in gospel music.
Our exhibition floor will feature some of the leading retailers, publishers, institutions and organisations in the music and drama sector. It’s a great chance to hold and feel, to compare and contrast, and to actually speak to some of the people behind the products teachers use every day – and many exhibitors will be offering Expo exclusive discounts and offers.
The Expo is also a great opportunity to network: we know how important sharing ideas is, particularly when so many teachers find themselves running one-person departments, and we want to give teachers the chance to make some new contacts as well as taking away lots of inspiring ideas.
We’re thrilled to be bringing the Expo to Manchester, and have been encouraged by the support from teachers, schools, suppliers – people from across the music and cultural education sectors. We very much hope it will be the first of many such events for music and drama teachers closer to the North of England, but we need your support to make it a success.
It’s totally free to attend, so put the date in your diary, request the day off from your SLT (and download our letter to headteachers if you think that might help), or rearrange whatever you need to. Most importantly, look forward to being part of a new beginning in Manchester on 4 October!