What is The Musicularium?

This blog has started in so many different ways. I’ve typed out whole paragraphs and almost immediately deleted them. When I sat down this blustery afternoon to write something, I didn’t really have a plan in mind as to what I wanted it to be about. So I thought I’d share something I’ve been working on, in the back of my mind, for a while now.

What is The Musicularium?

music/ˈmjuːzɪk/noun

Vocal or instrumental sounds (or both) combined in such a way as to produce beauty of form, harmony, and expression of emotion.

-arium/ˈɛːrɪəm/suffix

Forming nouns usually denoting a place.

These definitions came from the first Google search I came across. I am well aware that the definition of music given above is in no way comprehensive! But the two things together combined create what I would like to talk about. The paragraphs below form the introduction to a personal project I have started, and something which I feel is now the right time to start putting down on paper (well, online!) officially. Please share your thoughts about it – nothing is ever a single person’s achievement, rather the culmination of many individuals’ efforts.

“The Musicularium is a concept, an idea. It is a place where music is appreciated, understood, valued. It could be your classroom, the whole school, your house or even your car. The Musicularium is a space of value, which takes into consideration everyone’s experiences, and even more so their lack of. It teaches, it nurtures, it challenges, it provides. The Musicularium is glorious. 

The world of music is immense. There are so many genres, subgenres, arguments about sub-subgenres, arguments about which album is better than any other, that it’s almost impossible to experience it all. But, imagine only ever experiencing what is chosen by a corporation on a televised music channel, or a procurement list of current “hits” at a national radio station? That would be terrible! You would never get to experience the utter beauty of Eric Whitacre’s “Cloudburst”, the madness of a Toy Dolls gig, the sheer energy of the Mad Caddies blasting their horns at a dirty Manchester venue, or the epic scores of composers like Lorne Balfe and Brian Tyler. (If you don’t know any of those, look them up, you won’t regret it!) 

So why haven’t I written about creating a musical curriculum? Well, like many arts subjects, music is incredibly subjective. The skills in music are universal, I agree, but to get the most out of the pupils in front of you, you have to make things work for everybody. Just taking something that someone else has written simply won’t work. Bought in schemes do serve a purpose, but historically they just don’t cut the mustard. In chapter 4 “Developing your Musicularium”, there are some ideas for creating a curriculum model, and for Performing, Composing and Appraising music in the classroom, but they are not exact things I am saying “you must do this!” When writing and creating resources for anybody, my ethos is that I am helping you to start, not helping you to finish – that is up to you! The children I see on a day to day basis are in some ways the same as yours, but in more ways they really are not. And that is why The Musicularium is glorious!

I hope you find some aspects of yourself in these pages. Music is consumed by all, and if anyone ever says they don’t listen to music then I’m inclined to suggest that they’re lying! Like any resource, please don’t take what I suggest as gospel; I have made my fair share of mistakes since starting my career, and can almost guarantee that I will make more because I’m human. However, what you will find is years of experience as a music specialist, packed onto these pages to help you on your way to creating your own Musicularium. You may even think after reading that, actually, you already have one. If that’s the case, then fantastic! You’re doing everything you can to ensure the young people in your care are getting a good musical deal. Even if you take one thing away from this, I’ll be delighted.”

As always, comments are more than welcome

~ Andrew

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