The Fulbright experience is all about expanding your horizons and trying out new ideas. I never thought Iʼd be taking a DJ Skills course, but every Musical Futures workshop I have taken so far has stretched me, given me practical ideas and resources to implement in my classroom, and provides relevant tools and repertoire that motivate and engage youth, while meeting music standards. This Musical Futures DJ Skills workshop was no exception. The description of the DJ Skills workshop on the Musical Futuresʼ website states, "Our Musical Futures: DJ Skills workshop is designed for teachers who are interested in developing their schemes of work to include DJ Skills at KS3 and KS4, but who have limited experience in this area and want to develop their confidence and knowledge of how to support their students and plan effective schemes of learning using this technology."
Tom Burford, a music technology teacher, musician, DJ and producer, co-led the course with Martin Ainscough, who is Director of Creative Learning at Fred Longworth High School, a Musical Futures (MF) Champion School. Together these two teachers created a hands-on course that was accessible for novices like me. The motto of Musical Futures is "For Teachers, By Teachers," and Iʼve seen it modeled in every course. Tomʼs and Martinʼs classroom experiences shown throughout the delivery of this course. Yes, believe it or not, I now know how to use a mixer, deck, jog wheel, filters, cue buttons, sync, manual and auto loops, sampler, and effects. I also learned the basics of purchasing equipment, mixing tracks with and without sync, sampling and looping. And as shameful as it may be, Martin and Tom enlightened me on the different genres of music that youth are listening to including disco, house, techno, UK garage, jungle, drum nʼ bass, dubstep, and grime. Some I know, but sadly many I wasnʼt able to identify until now. Finally, Tom walked us through the process of aligning DJ skills with the national music performance standards.
I had the good fortune of taking the same train back to Wigan North with Tom who explained how DJing is an incredible creative process and skill. Here are his main points:
At the end of this 1-day training, I came away fairly confident that I could lead children through the creative and technical skills of DJing. Interestingly the values that I experienced as an adult learning in every Music Futureʼs training is mirrored in the organizationʼs core values, which state that music learning should be:
Many thanks to Musical Futuresʼ Managing Director, Fran Hannan; Musical Futuresʼ Director, Martin Ainscough and all of the MF Teachers who embody so well the Musical Futuresʼ motto, "For Teachers, By Teacher. You have all provided me such rich, inspiring classroom-applicable training. I canʼt wait to share what Iʼve learned with the Juneau community!
This is a personal blog, sharing my experiences living in the UK from January - June 2019 as a Fulbright Distinguished Award in Teaching scholar. This blog is not an official site of the Fulbright Program or the U.S. Department of State. The views expressed on this site are entirely my own and do not represent the views of the Fulbright Program, the U.S. Department of State, or any of its partner organizations.