As a first year undergraduate (BMus/BMus Jazz), you will take a Community Engagement module in which you will learn about the wide range of music activities taking place in community and educational settings, receive practical tuition in 'conducting communities', and participate in a range of workshops with different interdisciplinary focuses including world music, jazz, composition-based, therapeutic, voice-led, and instrument-led. You will develop and practise workshop presentation skills which you will be given the opportunity to apply in external community settings later in your course.
‘A very valuable module. Confidence building and providing the basis for developing skills that can be sold for real money in the real world.’
In the second year, you will continue to develop your skills as a current or prospective music educator via the Pedagogy and Practice module. You will participate in classes designed to help you develop as a teacher in your Principal Study area (i.e. your primary specialism – performance, composition or music technology). Topics covered include those specific to your Principal Study area, as well as those relevant to teachers from all disciplines. There will be talks from Services for Education Music Service, taster sessions in Kodály and Dalcroze Eurhythmics, and a series of interdisciplinary workshops, where you will collaborate with your peers in devising new music and developing your improvisation skills.
‘A very useful and beneficial course. I feel it has put me in a stronger position to approach teaching.’
In year 3 there are a number of options available via our Language of Music Specialisms 1 module that are useful to aspiring teachers and workshop facilitators. For example, it is possible to study Kodály and/or Dalcroze Eurhythmics in more depth, explore free improvisation, or further develop conducting and/or keyboard skills.
There is also an optional Work Placement module where you will have the opportunity to apply for one of our established placement opportunities during which you will gain practical experience in an educational or community context. Alternatively you can devise your own placement. Examples of established placements which run in conjunction with the Pedagogy Department include
- shadowing and assisting in the delivery of Whole Class Instrumental Teaching with Services for Education Music Service
- playing alongside and mentoring young musicians in one of Service for Educations numerous central ensembles as part of our Ensemble Ed programme
- for string players - being a member of the ARCO scheme – teaching young musicians in Soweto via video conferencing
- taking on the role of mentor at Royal Birmingham Conservatoire’s Junior Department
- mentoring on the Young Composers Project
- undertaking an traineeship position within the Learning and Participation Department of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra
- being involved in a large project (or several small projects) within Royal Birmingham Conservatoire’s own Learning and Participation Department
‘I really enjoyed having first-hand experience with teaching kids in schools. The placement has helped me confirm that I do want a career in teaching, and to pursue a PGCE after graduating.’
As you move into the final year of your BMus course, you can opt to take a Further Pedagogy module. This module combines on-site lectures and workshops with lesson observation opportunities in conjunction with Services for Education Music Service and other local arts organisations and educational settings. Weekly lectures and workshops covering a comprehensive range of issues in instrumental/vocal teaching to include first lessons, motivation, practice, notation, sight-reading, technology, creativity and aural-based approaches, group teaching, behaviour management, planning and assessment, differentiation, special needs, performance preparation, teacher-pupil-parent relationships, business matters and safeguarding.
Another option in Year 4 is Music, Community and Wellbeing. This module helps you to develop leadership and presentation skills and confidence to deliver workshops and interactive performances in the community. You will observe and be mentored by professional musicians working in environments such as hospital wards, care homes, special schools and early years settings and through reflection, you will gather and further develop a range of flexible strategies to enable you to select and deliver appropriate activities and repertoire in situ.
Increasing numbers of students specialise in educational and/or community work within the Final Project module, often taking Further Pedagogy and/or Music, Community and Wellbeing alongside. Furthermore, if you wish, you can build on the year 3 Language of Music Specialisms 1 module by choosing two different pedagogy related options via the Language of Music Specialisms 2 module.
‘Fantastic hands on approach. Training and shadowing was brilliant. I feel I am more prepared for a portfolio career’.