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Five Unmissable Music & Drama Education Expo Sessions: Day One

February 19th, 2024 | 3 min read

By Adam McCulloch

The Music & Drama Education Expo takes place on the 22nd and 23rd of February 2024 at the Business Design Centre in London. Educators from the world of drama and music will gather for Europe’s largest conference and exhibition, joined by artists, industry professionals, vendors, distributors, and more, all sharing the common goal of empowering more children to unlock their creative potential.

pBone Music will be exhibiting at the Expo and you can find us at Stand D62, showcasing our growing range of accessible and inclusive instruments for the classroom. We are excited to talk to educators, hub leaders, and the other great exhibitors heading to the event.

But what about the speakers and sessions taking place this week? With so many keynotes, performances, and discussions over the two days, it can be tricky to squeeze everything in. We’ve handpicked five sessions from day one of the Expo that are high on our list, but there are so many more to choose from. 

#1: Development and progression in primary music

When and Where: 22 Feb 2024, 11:00 - 11:45, Seminar Theatre

Who's It For: The early birds catching the worms - Early Years and Primary teachers, along with instrument and vocal educators.

The Scoop: Ever felt like a musical mind-reader, knowing just when to introduce the concept of dynamics? Music education guru Dr. Elizabeth Stafford will unveil how understanding developmental stages and musical learning models can sharpen your teaching and assessment skills. It's about striking the perfect chord of activities and musical genres to resonate with children's developmental stages.

About the Speaker: Dr. Elizabeth Stafford is not just the director of Music Education Solutions; she's a beacon of knowledge with 25 years of teaching experience, editorship of Primary Music Magazine, and authorship of The Primary Music Leader's Handbook under her belt. 


#2: Exploring international approaches to ukulele education

When and Where: 22 Feb 2024, 13:15 - 14:00, The Workshop

Who's It For: String pluckers and vocal teachers delivering the musical fundamentals to whole-class primary sessions.

The Scoop: Paul Mansell, a ukulele virtuoso, takes you on a strumming safari from the sandy beaches of Hawaii to the classrooms of the UK. Discover how global strumming sensations can inspire your teaching techniques and bring the ukelele phenomenon into UK schools.

About the Speaker: With a ukulele in one hand and five published books in the other, Paul Mansell is the authority on all things ukulele. His YouTube channel, Anarchy in the Ukulele, is home to some fantastic free video content.

#3: The National Plan for Music Education and the future of music hubs

When and Where: 22 Feb 2024, 13:45 - 14:30, Keynote Theatre

Who's It For: The whole ensemble – leaders, educators, SEND specialists, and beyond.

The Scoop: Samantha Martin, Hannah Fouracre, and Stefano Pozzi are the trio of arts education experts, presenting a masterclass on the new music hub programme. They're setting the stage for a future where high-quality music education is the headline act, backed by an orchestra of improved collaboration and career crescendos. For anyone involved in music education, it’s a must-watch.

About the Speakers: The three speakers have a combined repertoire that spans from policy to practice. From shaping the National Plan for Music Education to orchestrating the music hub programme, they're conducting a movement to inspire and innovate music education in England.

#4: Can fun exist without progress? Can progress exist without fun?

When and Where: 22 Feb 2024, 14:15 – 15:00, Seminar Theatre

Who's It For: Educators of all ages, admin staff, and leaders looking to compose the next chart-topping music lesson.

The Scoop: Can the scales of progress and the chords of fun harmonise in the classroom? Rachel Hawker, of Rocksteady Music School fame, argues they're not just compatible; they're ripe for a duet. Dive into a session that promises to fine-tune your approach to engaging and inclusive music lessons.

About the Maestro: Rachel Hawker is the Director of Education at Rocksteady Music School; with an unbeatable track record of hitting high notes at educational events and a passion for making music accessible, Rachel is a musical education rockstar in her own right!

#5: AI: the challenges and opportunities in assessment

When and Where: 22 Feb 2024, 15:45 - 16:30, Keynote Theatre

Who's It For: Tech-savvy educators and assessment aficionados ready to tune into the digital age. And anyone who wants to show off to their boss that they’re going to something AI-related.

The Scoop: Step into the future with Stacie Lee Bennett-Worth, Dr. Fern Chantele-Carter, and Tim Bennett-Hart as they decode the use of AI in music education. With plenty of promise and much to fear in the world of teaching, discover how artificial intelligence could be the conductor of your assessment.

About the Maestros: This trio is not just ahead of the curve; they're redefining it. With backgrounds spanning digital arts, assessment expertise, and digital transformation, they're here to show how AI and technology can usher in a new era of music education.

Every single session at the Music & Drama Education Expo 2024 offers insights, innovations, and inspiration for music educators. Whether you're fine-tuning your skills or want to keep your finger on the pulse, there's something here that will chime with you. Stay tuned for part two of our guide, where we round up five events to look out for on the second day of the show!

You can find a full schedule of events on the Music Education Expo website.

If you’d like to book a meeting with Jonty or find out more about how pBone Music can offer you progressive, accessible, and inclusive instruments, get in touch.

Adam McCulloch

Adam is the Content Manager at pBone Music. This should mean that he’s the ideal person to write about himself, but he finds boasting in the third person a little awkward. He honed his word wizardry with a degree in English Language and Literature at the University of Leeds. He has since written copy for clients and businesses across the land, from awards to something beginning with “z”. He also spent a number of years as a musician. He has written pop songs and even jingles for kids, performed more first dances at weddings than you could shake a pBuzz at, and once played a gig for a pie company at The Etihad Stadium in Manchester. When he’s not reminiscing about those good old days, you might find Adam enjoying the football (although as an Everton fan, that can be difficult). He also loves spending time with his partner, Jen, and his family and friends, and sincerely hopes they feel the same way.