I’m a great one for having a plan, and the festive season is one of the most important times to have one in place. With half of the festivities spent with my in-laws in Scotland and the other half with my family in Hampshire, December can be a logistical challenge, especially with 5 birthdays thrown into the mix.
This year, thankfully, our plans didn’t need to be changed at the last minute, despite the onslaught of colds and flu. It was nice to feel more ‘normal’ and to be able to sing carols together and – through the power of music – remember all the words (even if my days of singing the descant to ‘O Come All Ye Faithful’ are long gone). Now we’re into 2023, January is a time for reflection, where we look back at the past and forward to the future.
So let’s take a look at the past year…
As I said it would be in my blog last year, 2022 was the year of Plans in England and Wales. It seems that we spent a lot of the year talking about what these plans might say, and then discussing what was actually printed. However, we also took the time to consider how we could turn our talk into action, and it has been wonderful to see the transformation of policies, programmes, and projects in response to evaluations of their equity, diversity, and inclusivity. Our conference series in November showcased many exciting ideas, and we are excited to share more in 2023 as a key action.
At Music Mark, we’ve made a number of changes to our own work with a focus on equity, diversity, and inclusion. Some small (such as enabling the live transcription option on Zoom for events and training), and some more significant (such as updating our recruitment policy and revising one of our key publications, A Common Approach). However, we recognize that there is always more work to be done, so look out for updates on our journey to turn Talk into Action and continue transforming our work.
As I write this, the music education sector across the UK still faces challenges and uncertainties that make it difficult to plan. However, I believe we need to be bold in our approach. Putting children and young people’s musical learning at the heart of our plans and working together to advocate for their equitable, diverse, and inclusive right to music education must be our top priority.
Instead of making resolutions for 2023, I’ve decided to choose a ‘focus word’ for Music Mark this year: bold. This means being bold in our support for our membership, finding bold ways to connect colleagues in meaningful and valuable partnerships, and being bold in our role in shaping policy and practice. I’ll let you know how we get on but am looking forward to going boldly into 2023 with you!
To read more reflections from the past year and get a glimpse into what we’re planning for the year ahead, take a look at our 2021/2022 Annual Review.