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5 Years on: Expo 2017
Music Teacher

5 Years on: Expo 2017

Posted 09 September 2016   |   1257 views   |   General Interest   |   Comments (0) Head of content Alex Stevens on plans for the Expo’s fifth anniversary

It may not seem possible, but when it returns to Olympia Central on 9 and 10 February next year, the Music Education Expo will be celebrating its fifth birthday.

Having been to every Expo – only the most recent one as head of content – I can honestly say that music education would not be the same without it. To have gone five years is a testament to the entire sector: it would not be possible without the inspiring speakers and presenters, the vision of the exhibitors and the support of our sponsors, all of whom contribute to the hugely important fact that the show is free to attend.

It is only right that music education as a sector has an event of the scale of the Expo, but for it to have launched at a difficult time economically and politically, and to have grown as it has over the last five years, demonstrates not only the demand for such an event, but also the willingness of individuals and organisations to come together and make it happen. Five years down: here’s to another 50.

The anniversary will also be marked by a small but significant change, in that, following the 2016 show’s introduction of musical theatre and the welcoming of our drama-teaching colleagues, the show will now be known as the Music & Drama Education Expo. A simple change, but one which reflects the successful integration of a fellow performing arts subject, whose teachers face many of the same challenges and opportunities as music – and anyway, we hope and expect that everyone will just continue to call it ‘Expo’.

The call for papers closed last month, and we have had a dizzying range of submissions which we are in the process of sifting through as you read this: look out for programme announcements on the Expo website, on Twitter and Facebook, and in forthcoming editions of MT.

Overall, the move to Olympia Central has been judged a success, even if there were some teething problems (we didn’t miss the long queues for a cup of coffee!).

It was fantastic to see that 97% of attendees rated their experience at this year’s Expo as either very positive or positive, but there is a lot more to do to make the show better. So, catering will indeed be improved with more outlets and more staff manning them.

There will also be more space inside the theatres, and a new floorplan to try to further reduce noise leakage. While it wouldn’t be the Expo without the now-traditional soundclash of piano vs panel debate, we are always trying to minimise the disruption caused by the noise which is inevitable at a well-attended performing arts show like the Expo, and we will again be providing audio headsets for those spaces where sound is an issue.

You can again expect more than 60 professional development sessions, spanning panel debates, practical workshops and seminars, giving the chance to learn from award-winning teachers, academics and practitioners.

And there are also some very exciting names being discussed for our series of Q&As and performances… Watch this space for more!

Registration for the Music & Drama Education Expo 2017 is now open: register for your free ticket for 9 and 10 February, back at Olympia Central. We hope to see you there!


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