Restless Farewell

Here’s a final update from me concerning the state of play with the website “TeachingMusic”.

We launched in 2008 as a space where our best music teachers could network and share ideas and resources. At that time I was told by many in the music education community that such an initiative simply would not take off. Previous attempts at similar things had died in infancy, and I was assured that this was a facility that music teachers would not engage with.

How wrong they were!

The last seven years have seen some extraordinary activity on the site. We steadily built up a community of over 7000 members who shared and engaged with an astonishing richness and diversity. The range of resources the teachers were willing to share exceeded expectations in terms of range and quality. The quality and depth of debate and comment on the Forum is unlikely to be surpassed and stands as a testament to our articulate and committed community. The Guest Editorials have been built up as an important documentary archive of key issues and themes in contemporary music education. These have been complemented by blogs of the highest order from some of the most enlightened music teachers and writers in the UK.

Of course this did not happen of its own accord. We were fortunate enough to be funded initially by the TDA, which covered the cost of building and designing this engaging and (for its time) innovative webspace. Crucially this was supported in its early stages by a top quality steering group who essentially guided this initiative in the right direction. Here, particular credit is due to Cliff Manning, Ben Sandbrook, Keith Stubbs, John Witchell and Anthony Anderson.

The one problem we were never able to solve was how to make this space self financing. All credit to the web developers DigitalMe for keeping the site going for as long as this, but we have now reached a point where we have to recognize that the site is no longer fit for purpose. It is slow, it crashes far too often and uploading new content has become next to impossible. So now is the time to draw a line for the moment and move on.

How DigitalMe will proceed with the site from this point onwards remains uncertain. In the meantime we need to explore ways in which this online community we have built up from scratch can be kept together.

Fortunately the world has moved on, technologically, in a way that does the job for us – in part:

We now have Twitter, which many in our community use as a means of sharing and keeping in touch
Many of us now have our own blog spaces which can be subscribed to – or followed on Twitter
Organisations such as Music Mark, Youth Music and Musical Futures have developed online networking spaces which are well supported
The TeachTalk:Music group, comprising some of the most active members of the TM community, will keep working and sharing together in a newly convened online space

So to all those who have supported us through thick and thin on this remarkable seven year journey, I say farewell and thank you. But do find ways of keeping in touch. As ever, there is still lots to talk about!

But the bottles are done
We’ve killed each onebd
And the table’s full and overflowed
And the corner sign
Says it’s closing time
So I’ll bid farewell and be down the road

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