It is over 4 years now since I begun my music@monkton blog. In the early days, I had a few tatty strips of paper pinned to the tops of noticeboards: music@monkton – enabling every pupil to find their own voice, and I was sure that people would notice them and realise what our music department was all about. Sadly, even after a year or so, few pupils could quote it back to me, or indeed even had any idea. Clearly that strategy wasn’t working!
In September 2013 we appointed a new music department administrator, and one of the many skills which she brought to the department was a flair for visual design. Since then we have had a steady stream of colourful posters advertising concerts and other events, and it has become standard practice to include our strapline on everything. The alliteration, music@monkton, has also proved to be a really strong ‘brand’ and I have even heard colleagues refer to our department using this phrase, rather than the comparatively bland our music department.
Looking back [see below], Simon was absolutely right – it is all very well having vision, but if you don’t tell people clearly what that vision is, they won’t know. They do now!
I’m beginning the process of formulating a more concrete vision statement for music@monkton. My new colleague and friend, Simon Walker, has been teaching us about The Undefended Life, and has been challenging me to consider my current leadership style. I am flattered to find that, more often than not, I fall into the category of Visionary.
This does make sense to me – at any one time I do tend to have several crazy schemes on the go. But whilst these can be exciting for me, it does tend to leave varying degrees of carnage in my wake for others to pick up the pieces; also, I fear that it can be rather unsettling for my colleagues, who are probably wondering what is coming next. Time to move to a more consolidated position, so that everyone knows what’s going on. I don’t think it’s going to be an easy task – since Simon challenged me on this last week, I have already realised that I have been doing the visionary thing again without even realising it! But I am committed to this task.
Stage One is to move my own vision to a place where others can share it; using Simon’s terminology, to move it from my back stage, where only I can see it, to my front stage which is what everyone sees. That means putting it out there – on noticeboards, intranet, letterheads etc – where everyone who sees it is in no doubt what music@monkton is about. Sounds sensible.
Over the past year or so I have found myself telling prospective parents that I think that music education should be about enabling those who can’t, not just enjoying the talents of those who already can! Not exactly catchy, but I believe it passionately. I have now revised this, and have settled on:
music@monkton – enabling every pupil to find their own voice
There are some key words in there, but the whole phrase encapsulates what I think should be going on in our music department.