Rethinking Policies for Music Education in a Post-Pandemic World

28-30 October 2020

In a series of virtual sessions, this e-symposium brings together MEP Group Members and renowned speakers from the Music, Culture and Education ecosystems to discuss how the disruption caused by the pandemic may provide a window of opportunity to rethink music education; how the pandemic has accelerated social change in different places across the world, and what this might mean for future policies affecting music education. The discussion gathers input to inform a letter to policy-makers that will ask them to take the considerations identified during the symposium into account while making provisions now to ensure that music education comes out of the pandemic stronger than before.


28 October 2020 | 1pm - 2:30pm CET

Sustaining the Music Education Workforce

This session will look at the longer-term impact of the pandemic on the music education workforce. What are the implications for the music education job sector, the job profiles of music educators, and what does this mean for continuing professional development and the training of teachers and musicians? How are higher education music institutions adapting to the situation and what are their assessments of the future?

Moderator: Kaarlo Hildén, Dean of Sibelius Academy, Helsinki, Finland

Keynote speakers:

Michael Yaffe, Associate Dean of Yale School of Music, USA

(absent: Yu Dan Hong, Curator of Shanghai Conservatory of Music, China - view presentation)

Vasily Shcherbakov, Director of Piano Department of Moscow University of Culture and Arts, Russia - view presentation

29 October 2020 | 2pm - 3:30pm CET

Fostering Music in Schools

UNESCO recently reported that ‘as of mid-April, 1.5 billion children and youth were affected by school closures in 195 countries’. Music education, if it happened at all, was transported to the digital realm. Of everything we have witnessed and learned during this time, what could or should be reflected in post-pandemic policies for music in schools? This session provides a space to discuss this by exploring questions such as: How could the shift to online learning - with a huge diversity of content and strong focus on non-formal and autonomous learning - impact future school music curricula and established modes of learning? And what are signs that the global recession threatens even that where we have gained ground in music education in schools, with an even stronger focus being placed on STEM subjects to make up for the time lost? And how can or should music’s social, collaborative aspect and contribution to mental wellbeing that was highlighted during the pandemic influence how music is taught and learned in school settings?

Moderator: Samantha Martin, Senior Officer of Music Education, Arts Council England

Keynote speakers:

Mackie Spradley, President of the National Association for Music Education, USA - view presentation

Marcus Medeiros, President of the National Association for Music Education, Brazil

30 October 2020 | 2pm - 3:30pm CET

Ensuring Equality of Access to an Active Musical Life

The pandemic has in many cases exacerbated existing inequalities, including who has access to online music education content, to instruments and to physical space and the supportive environment for music-making and learning. In the face of struggling performing arts and cultural centers, a weakened music education and artistic workforce, cuts to school budgets and higher income inequality we need flexible and creative approaches to ensure that all children have access to an active musical life. What could some of these approaches look like?

Moderator: Ciaran Scullion, Head of Music at the Arts Council of Northern Ireland

Keynote speakers:

Tarik Ward, Director of Music Programs, ELMA Philanthropy Services, USA - view presentation

Grace Low, Community Engagement Head at the Esplanade Arts and Heritage Centre, Singapore - view presentation