Expo preview: Back in town 23 May 2018

After a knock-your-socks-off opening year, the Music & Drama Education Expo returns to Manchester on 11 October, in a bigger and better venue, and the programme has just been announced. Head of content for music Alex Stevens previews the event

After a barnstorming first event in Manchester last year, the Music & Drama Education Expo | Manchester is returning on 11 October – in a new, larger venue at Old Trafford.

Once again, the Expo will showcase a range of excellent CPD, alongside the opportunity to meet fellow teachers, connect with suppliers, and to browse and compare hundreds of products under one roof.

There will be something for instrumental teachers, classroom teachers, early years specialists, students, heads of music, drama or creative arts, hub executives – if you are involved in cultural education there will be something to get your teeth into.

The conference has now been announced, and appears here – with a couple of big-name sessions still in the pipeline.

And as ever, the Expo will be free to attend.

Bigger and better

The first Manchester event in 2017 exceeded expectations, with 646 visitors meaning that, for an admittedly short time, security were enforcing a one-in, one-out policy. This year the Expo will not be taking place round the corner from the Conservative party conference, so there will be no snipers on the roof this time round – or sharing lifts with members of the Prime Minister’s security detail!

Last year, 40% of attendees were involved in classroom tuition, and 35% in private tuition, 21% in peripatetic work. A further 28% were involved in administration or with hubs and music services.

This year we are preparing for up to 1,000 visitors at the new, larger venue at Old Trafford, and the exhibition floor will again feature some of the leading retailers, publishers, institutions and organisations in the music and drama sector.

Programme highlights

Across three spaces, Expo will showcase a wide-ranging programme of CPD.

Record producer Max Wheeler will chair a panel of exam boards asking how teachers can engage 21st-century music pupils at KS3 and KS4, and how this could lead to an increase in uptake on GCSEs and other qualifications – including practical ways in which to work with young rappers, singers, DJs and producers; discussions on how the exam boards can support teachers and students; examples of success; and audience Q&A.

On behalf of the Incorporated Society of Musicians, Ally and Gregory Daubney will present on performance anxiety, using a workshop setting to experiment with practical anxiety coping strategies that teachers can use with students, and exploring physiological, behavioural and thought-related approaches to enhance performance.

The Leeds-based Yorkshire Association for Music and Special Educational Needs will explore teaching techniques, instruments and room layouts suit children with various additional needs, as well as how to include and direct other adults, such as teaching assistants, parents or volunteers, to maximise their input in music lessons.

Francesca Christmas of Trinity College London and Adam Saunders will explore improvisation in instrumental teaching, providing delegates with ‘a range of starting points for improvising activities which facilitate work on all-important technique and instrumental skills … As relevant for the consummate improviser as it is for the complete novice.’

The team behind the recent MT Award-winning Singing Schools project, the Voices Foundation and David Ross Educational Trust, will show delegates how they introduced the programme to DRET primary schools across England, focusing on social and musical change.

And the Musicians’ Union, with Manchester Metropolitan University’s Jonathan Savage, will aim to start a debate on ‘Fixing Music Education’, presenting the findings of the MU’s latest Education Report, updating delegates on efforts to gather data, and aiming to bring delegates into ‘a positive conversation about how we can make music education better for everyone’.

Support and success

The first Manchester Expo represented a leap of faith for a show which had been successful in London. We knew there was an appetite for a similar event elsewhere, but were nevertheless delighted by the support the event was shown by teachers, schools, hubs, businesses and institutions.

Our second Manchester event aims to be bigger and better, but more than ever we need the support of music and drama educators near and far to make it work. It is a free event because we feel that it needs to be: because we know how stretched teachers’ resources are already, and because we want to reach as many people as possible. So, get your calendar out and book your ticket before the end of term, of course – but also tell your colleagues, your Facebook friends, your Twitter followers, your pupils, their families, your families – sing it from the rooftops. We know the Expo is valued and we know how important it is to keep it free: and we’re looking forward to seeing you on 11 October.

Staying over

Delegates attending the Music & Drama Education Expo | Manchester can benefit from discounted accommodation at hotels around Old Trafford (including Hotel Football, pictured, which is two minutes away), through Rhinegold Media & Events partner Event Express.

These offers are available to view on the Event Express website. Delegates can also get in touch by calling Event Express on 01905 732737 or by emailing reservations@eventexpressuk.com.

If you’re making a day and an evening of your visit, there are some great eateries at nearby Salford Quay and MediaCityboth of which are a twelve-minute walk from the venue. Or head over to Manchester’s lively Northern Quarter, where drinks, music and good times abound!

Music & Drama Education Expo | Manchester takes place on 11 October 2018. Book your free tickets.

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