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#MusicMark10: Integrating technology into music teaching and learning

2nd February 2024

Turquoise square tilted to the right with a white C in the middle. Black text reads Charanga.

As Music Mark celebrates its 10th anniversary, Mark Burke (Founder and Director) shares how Charanga has developed over the past decade with the rise of technology, as well as looking at how Charanga will continue to support the music education sector in the future.

Working with schools and teachers, most often in partnership with local Music Hubs and Services, we’ve seen first-hand the challenges our sector has faced over the past decade. We see increasing expectations on class teachers to deliver music education, and more barriers for young people to overcome if they’re to realise their musical ambitions. For our partners, there’s increased responsibility and an ever-growing remit with more detailed accountability – all of which must be achieved, in real terms, with diminishing financial resources.

While things have gotten harder over the past ten years, the positives are the workforce’s growing resilience, adaptability and diversity. More professionally developed leadership teams are thinking strategically while maintaining operational dependability. To support everyone who makes great use of what we do at Charanga, we listen and innovate to provide them with the practical help they need to overcome some of their most pressing challenges.

Over the past decade, Charanga has trebled in size, primarily driven by the increasing use of technology. We’ve always felt strongly that integrating technology into aspects of music teaching and learning helps more young people achieve their musical aspirations. Around 2005, burgeoning internet and broadband access allowed us to develop a flexible, cloud-based platform supporting early-stage instrumental teaching across all instruments and music teaching in the classroom. It was the start of Charanga, as you might recognise it today.

From the outset, we built in the ability for users to create their own lessons, courses, and schemes rather than rely on what we provide. So, when looking at the Charanga platform today, it’s perhaps best to think about it in terms of music, education, technology, and access.

We have music spanning many genres. Our team creates activities around the music to help students learn musical skills appropriate for their age group, ability and needs. We then weave these activities into progressive lessons and units for teachers to use throughout the school. But we also develop software and practical tools to help educators in the classroom. The latter sets Charanga apart and makes our platform unique. Interactive content, sequenced learning, and creative tools, such as YuStudio, our beginner-friendly DAW, are in one place.

Our users can personalise everything. They can add their own content, and students can easily access it at home via Yumu, a secure student-facing learning space. Bespoke educational technology, solid pedagogy, and great resources are combined, reducing teachers’ workload, increasing accessibility and inclusion, and improving student outcomes. An extensive CPD & Training programme supplements it all.

We provide another level of customisation for our Music Hubs and Services partners. Demands on their resources are greater than ever. Wider access to music technology, too, means this demand takes on ever more diverse forms, with music creation and production being one of the fastest-growing areas.

When we collaborate with an organisation or national government, as we do in Wales, we can create an own-branded version of our platform tailored to its needs. For Music Hubs and Services, this might involve using YuStudio to extend accessible music tech to every child in their area; provision to local teachers of whole-class materials for every instrument and ensemble combination; or having us deliver bespoke training that best suits the needs of their colleagues and school staff.

With the music education sector in flux, senior leadership teams are increasingly looking to reduce overheads and improve efficiency using Charanga. Over time, our platform becomes a gateway to the richness of everything they provide.

Looking ahead, we have some exciting plans this year for our partnership with the RSNO, Scotland’s national orchestra. The release of our new app will enable teachers to use Charanga online or offline. The creative projects we’ve released around our YuStudio DAW have also prompted a flood of interest, and we’ll be adding more music and film units to the series. Crucially, we’re also building on the personalisation aspects of the Charanga platform, providing our partners and teachers with ever-greater customisation options.

We acknowledge that the current hub landscape in England will change significantly in 2024, but know that all of our colleagues and partners will continue to provide first-class opportunities for local children and young people, as they’ve always done. We will, of course, continue to support you in any way that we can.

Find out more about Charanga at