In this episode, I talk with Mark Robinson, the founder of Rocksteady Music School, which brings in-school rock band lessons to primary schools across the UK. It’s a new model for music education that combines peripatetic tuition approaches with group rock band tuition and inclusive pedagogy, increasing children’s interest in and uptake of music lessons.
Mark’s lightbulb moment was when he realised that children in his lunchtime band workshops were progressing faster than those in one-to-one lessons, and his mission ever since has been to get more children making music by choosing what they want to learn, and learning as part of a band. Learn how Rocksteady began, the secrets of its success, as well as the values and mission behind the organisation.
You can listen now below, or on Spotify (search for the name) and iTunes or your favourite podcast app.
What’s in this episode?
We talk about:
- How Mark started teaching guitar at aged 14, and by the age of 16, was teaching most evenings and Saturday mornings
- Setting up Rocksteady after university, and creating the conditions for it to thrive or fail
- Growing the business to employ 172 full-time music teachers, reaching 33,000 children a week in 1,300 schools
- The mission – reaching as many children as possible by making music learning exciting and engaging
- The pedagogy – putting the child’s cognitive, emotional and social experience at the centre, teaching music that they want to learn, learning in a group and managing energy rather than managing behaviour
- How Rocksteady ensures the offer is equitable, diverse and inclusive – including for families facing financial barriers
- Relationships with music services and hubs
- Mark’s hopes for the future of music education
Links for this episode
About the music for education & wellbeing podcast
Listen in each month to get ideas, inspiration and practical advice from people involved in music education, community music, music therapy and more. Learn how you can break down barriers to music, through communications, advocacy and inclusive practice.
The music for the podcast was created by Otis Hynds, a young person working with Noise Solution.
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- Visit Music Education Works to read and search for research evidence of the impact of music education.
- Listen to another great music education-related podcast – the Youth Music podcast from UK music charity Youth Music.
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