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Latest News

Barry Ife to stand down as Guildhall School principal

5 February 2016

Professor Barry Ife is to stand down as the principal of Guildhall School of Music & Drama after 12 years in the role.

He will remain in the post until a new principal is appointed, and then will focus on teaching and research.

Ife has worked in higher education for 47 years, and is a specialist in the cultural history of Spain and Spanish America from the 15th to the 18th centuries. He held lectureships at Nottingham University and Birkbeck College before being appointed to the Cervantes Chair of Spanish at King’s College London in 1988. During his tenure of the chair, whose emeritus title he still holds, he became head of the School of Humanities (1989-1996), vice-principal (1996-2003) and acting principal (2003-2004). He managed the validation relationship between King’s and RADA in 2001. 

He was a governor of the Royal Academy of Music from 1996 to 2004 and president of the Incorporated Society of Musicians in 2014/15. 

Ife is currently chair of the Culture Capital Exchange and the Mendelssohn Boise Foundation, and is a board member of the National Centre for Circus Arts and the Architectural Association. He represents specialist institutions on the Board of Universities UK and chairs the UUK Specialist Institutions Forum.

He received the CBE in the 2000 birthday honours for services to Hispanic studies.

Guildhall School of Music & Drama

Responses to the EBacc consultation

5 February 2016

Following the closure of the Department for Education's consultation on 'Implementing the English Baccalaureate' on Friday, some organisations have published their responses online.

The National Association for Head Teachers' response to the consultation reads: 'NAHT questions whether those subjects currently identified as part of the EBacc are the only subjects which are academic, rigorous and demanding, particularly in light of the extensive reform of both general and vocational qualifications at Key Stage 4. Creative and cultural subjects can be just as academic and challenging.

'This rigid and prescriptive set of GCSEs which currently form the EBacc is limiting and unrealistic.'

It goes on to suggest that the EBacc plans would lead to an 'inevitable' decline in pupil numbers in some non-Ebacc subjects: 'The decline in available curriculum time for optional subjects and the exclusion of creative and cultural subjects from the EBacc will lead to a significant reduction in pupils taking these subjects. 

'In order to refute this argument, data provided on the statistical release shows that in 2014/15 49.6% of pupils at the end of Key Stage 4 in state-funded schools were entered for at least one GCSE entry in Arts subjects. 

'However, only 38.6% of pupils in this cohort were entered for the full EBacc, thus the curriculum time and choice elements were retained in a large proportion of schools allowing many pupils to take an Arts subject. 

'With the lack of curriculum time and choice available, it is inevitable that pupil numbers in certain subjects will decline.'

The response of the Council for Subject Associations says: 'Many subjects vital to the economy are absent from the EBacc. These include the creative subjects and design and technology which form the basis of vital modern industries.'

It also notes that 'the EBacc has already had a negative impact on the uptake of arts subjects, with the Cultural Learning Alliance estimating a 13% drop in uptake between 2013-14 and 2014-15.'

The DfE is currently analysing feedback from the consultation.

Students benefit from collaboration between classroom teachers and community music leaders

5 February 2016

The interim results of Youth Music's Exchanging Notes programme show that collaboration between classroom teachers and community music leaders can lead to increased engagement in music and other subjects, following an evaluation of the programme by academics at Birmingham City University's Centre for the Study of Practice and Culture in Education.

Exchanging Notes is a four-year action research programme involving ten new partnerships between schools and music education providers who normally work in out-of-school settings.

The results from the first year of the programme suggest that the multi-agency approach has enhanced the quality and standards of music delivery and improved young students' achievement and engagement in their education, addressing their needs more appropriately.

The approach has had a positive impact on students' self-confidence and behaviour, expanded their musical repertoire and encouraged them to become more creative.

Youth Music CEO Matt Griffiths said: 'We’re really pleased with these early findings from Birmingham City University which appear to show that this new collaborative approach is having a positive effect on pupils’ engagement in education. It’s clear too that the sharing of approaches to learning and practice by teachers and music leaders is of benefit to both and I hope to see some very interesting ways of working collaboratively emerging over the coming years.'

The scheme will continue until July 2018.

Exchanging Notes

Sing Up launches for secondary schools

5 February 2016

Sing Up has launched an expanded song bank to cater for secondary schools.

The organisation's resources now include song arrangements and resources designed for use with secondary-aged students.

The resources are suitable for use with classes from KS3 up to sixth form, and include songs and warm-ups which can be used to teach the music curriculum.

The scores and audio resources include melody, lyrics and chords, chord song book, full arrangements, parts for class playing and singing (including tab), performance, echo, backing and rehearsal tracks, and a range of scoring formats.

The repertoire is suitable for a range of choir abilities, from Year 7 class singing through to upper sixth-form and chamber choirs, and can be used for KS3, BTEC, GCSE and A-Level solo/ensemble vocal performances.

Schools can buy the 12-month membership package for £295, which includes access to the Sing Up song bank of over 800 songs and the termly Sing Up magazine.

CEO Michelle James said: 'The transition between primary and secondary school has long been a moment at which many pupils become less engaged in music activities, so we have always been keen to see what we could do to help sustain continuity of musical experience as children move schools into secondary. Based on evidence from our pilot projects, we know there are steps that can be taken to markedly improve engagement, musical progression and learning outcomes.'

The project is supported by ABRSM, whose director of strategic development Lincoln Abbotts said: 'A young person’s experience of music can be a magical one and one that, with the right support, can transform their lives. We want to ensure every child has the opportunity to continue that exciting journey when they move to secondary school. That’s why we’re committed to building partnerships such as this one - to support music learning and teaching, and to ensure that as many children as possible have access to high quality musical opportunities.'

Sing Up was government-funded as the National Singing Programme from 2007-12, and has been self-funded since.

Sing Up secondary

Royal Conservatoire of Scotland appoints new head of Junior Conservatoire

4 February 2016

Jenn Adams
Jenn Adams

The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland has appointed Jenn Adams as head of the Junior Conservatoire.

She takes up the position on 8 February.

Adams is currently director of learning and engagement at the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, and also manages the RSNO Chorus and Junior Chorus.

She sits on the Association of British Orchestras Education Strategy Working Group, is a non-executive board director of Aberdeen Performing Arts and has previously held the post of head of creative learning at Horsecross, Perth. 

RCS principal Jeffrey Sharkey, who described himself as 'delighted', said: 'This is an important role as we continue to build the reach and impact of the Junior Conservatoire as an integral part of our work at RCS. Jenn brings a combination of relevant experience and great energy which and I look forward to her developing taking our Junior Conservatoire into its exciting future.'

'The Junior Conservatoire of the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland has such an important role to play in unleashing the potential of the next generation of artists and performers from Scotland and internationally,' said Adams. 'I relish the opportunity of working with a great teaching team and helping make a positive impact in the lives of young people who love the performing arts and want to excel in what they do.'

Royal Conservatoire of Scotland: Junior Conservatoire

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