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Sussex Secondary Music Conference

Thursday 20 June – University of Sussex
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Powering up engagement and pathways to music through curriculum, schools and partnerships

A FREE, one day music education event for secondary music teachers at all stages of their careers, working in schools across Brighton & Hove, East Sussex, West Sussex and University of Sussex partnership schools. 

Hosted by the University of Sussex in collaboration with Create Music and West Sussex Music, keynotes and workshops will focus on curriculum, inclusion, musical identities, the music industry, funding, and Ofsted’s recently published Music Subject Report, as well as the National Plan for Music Education and progression pathways and partnerships in schools and beyond.


Routes into Composing at KS3 - Nancy Evans

Workshop Leader: Nancy Evans

This workshop will focus on how to support composing at KS3 through practical activity, discussion and presentation. We will explore a range of starting points, think about how to create fertile ground for composing to take place and learn strategies to scaffold the composing process through breaking down the task, feedback and questioning.

Exploring Traditional West African Music Making - Bollo

Workshop Leaders: Musa MBoob 

Bollo Project will present an intuitive demonstration for practitioners around the engagement of young people in world music making, with a focus on African traditional music.

Increasing Engagement through Composition to Video and Exploration of New Musical Genres - Max Wheeler

Workshop Leader: Max Wheeler

This presentation will examine using cloud-based software to engage students with music technology and new music. It will include practical tips for engaging students with up-to-date projects covering video composition and making beats in newer styles like Grime, House, LoFi and Hip Hop. 

Max Wheeler, Charanga’s Head of Music Tech, will introduce delegates to YuStudio, an accessible digital audio workstation (DAW) for schools opening up the world of music technology and production to students of all ages. Teachers from several Sussex schools will be on hand to share their experiences of using the DAW and offer practical, real-world ideas to ensure you hit the ground running! 

Singing in Harmony with KS3 - Isabelle Adams and Rachel Maby

Workshop Leaders: Isabelle Adams and Rachel Maby

Looking for new ideas to engage your KS3 students in singing? Learn songs from a variety of genres that can be taught quickly in the classroom. Get your class singing in different parts with limited and appropriate vocal range to accommodate changing  voices. Teachers will be given the tools to support them in delivering a fun, engaging and accessible music curriculum with effective vocal warm-ups and songs.

n a SEND setting and the mainstream classroom and music group.  

Exploring Musical Identities Through Production - Education & Bass

Workshop Leader: Andrew Ferguson

This workshop offers a dynamic exploration of musical identity through hands-on music production activities. Participants will delve into the concept of musical identity and its significance in fostering inclusivity in music education. 

Through guided exercises, attendees will have the opportunity to create short musical compositions that reflect their unique identities. The session will also include sharing and reflection, discussions on promoting inclusivity in music education, collaborative project planning, and networking opportunities. Participants will leave with practical strategies for integrating music production activities into their teaching practice and fostering inclusive learning environments.

Autism in the Music Classroom - Jacqui Shepherd

Workshop Leader: Jacqui Shepherd 

Autism is a spectrum condition (ASC) and also a hidden disability, so it is not always easy for neurotypical people to understand how autistic people experience and navigate the world.  Music can be a real gift for autistic learners – many of whom have an affinity for the sensory stimulation provided by the arts – but in some situations it can also lead to  increased stress and sensory overload.  In this workshop we will discuss how to work with autistic strengths so that students can more fully engage with music in the classroom, as well as recognising the signs of potential anxiety and sensory over-stimulation.

The session aims to:

  • Provide a brief introduction to the autistic spectrum condition
  • Identify the strengths of autistic people as well as some of the challenges they face in everyday life
  • Explore a range of strategies to support autistic students in the school music classroom

Fundraising Information & Support for Schools - Kata Gyongyosi, Brighton Dome & Festival

Workshop Leader: Kata Gyongyosi, Head of Development, Brighton Dome and Brighton Festival

This session will provide an introduction to different types of fundraising that are available to schools. We will discuss how to identify potential funders and start preparing a grant application, and will also include signposting to further sources of information and support and Q&A. 

Music Development Plan Support - Ally Daubney and Duncan Mackrill

Workshop Leaders: Ally Daubney and Duncan Mackrill 

Ally Daubney and Duncan Mackrill will be running a drop-in if you wish to discuss, share or ask questions about your Music Department Development Plan (or, if you don’t have one, they will share some ways, ideas and tools to enable you to do this). The drop-in will be held in the last workshop session (2.30-3.20) and will also include the opportunity to ask Phil Nelson and his panel, specific questions about musical pathways or follow-up on things from his keynote.


Exam boards and Music Hub partners will also be present at the conference in our exhibition space available to take your questions.

Book your free place

The conference is FREE to attend for colleagues working in all secondary schools in East Sussex, West Sussex, Brighton & Hove and Wider Sussex Partnership schools.

Ticketed admission is available to colleagues working outside of Sussex.

Hosted by the University of Sussex, in partnership with West Sussex Music and Create Music

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