Many people, both within and outside education, are unaware of the gulf that exists between class music and instrumental learning. The impression persists of music in schools as being largely concerned with the development and promotion of instrumental ensembles and choirs… Moreover, on public occasions it is largely these choirs, orchestras and music groups which are displayed and represent music education. (MANA, 1995)
For specialist music teachers in all schools this part of the curriculum can provide enormous potential for musical enjoyment, excellence and challenge. It is also complex and time consuming to manage and maintain; no other subject coordinator is expected to administer and monitor the work of a team of visiting teachers who contribute regularly and significantly to the life of the school. The onus is very much on the coordinator to facilitate and integrate the work of peripatetic music teachers into the school. Increasingly, such teachers are stretched to the limit in terms of travelling and work loads now that central funding has ceased (see below), therefore it is important that arrangements are well thought-out for all concerned. It is easy for visiting teachers to feel rather isolated and uncared for as they rush from school to school snatching brief discussions with co-ordinators, coping with timetable changes and teaching in often less than ideal spaces. Where the teachers are working for a well established agency or consortium they are likely to have their own published guidelines for negotiations and procedures in school. These may include methods of payment, length of lessons, teaching styles and group sizes, selection procedures and assessment schemes. However, you may also be dealing with individual teachers who are working independently and who may need all these matters discussed and agreed. In this section I will attempt to raise questions and provide information and guidance for this aspect of your responsibilities.