Our Time at The Music & Drama Education Expo - One Day Creative
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February 27, 2023

Our Time at The Music & Drama Education Expo

One Day Creative’s founder, Becky, shares her experience attending The Music & Drama Education Expo in London. 

I was delighted to visit the Music & Drama Expo in London last week. Having never been before, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. However, as Europe’s largest exhibition for people working in this field, I very much looked forward to connecting with like-minded folk.

Why the arts matter

Alongside the amazing performances I observed, I moved around the expo listening to talks and CPD sessions. One thing that struck me as I moved from room to room, was an overarching theme of ‘saving the arts’.

If we can all agree that the performing arts positively contribute towards young people’s confidence, communication skills and life opportunities – why isn’t drama more highly valued in the curriculum?

When we deliver our drama workshops in schools, we’re not just teaching children about a chosen topic. We’re using the arts to improve their ability to think creatively, convey feelings and work well in a team. We’re also broadening the horizons of what ‘learning’ can mean, outside of a traditional classroom setting.

Getting involved

Already I was inspired by many passionate speakers. One highlight was a ‘fireside chat’ with Dame Evelyn Glennie – a premier percussionist and double GRAMMY winner who was at the expo to discuss her childhood as a deaf person in mainstream education. It was fascinating to hear how her experiences helped shape her views on classroom teaching.

But that wasn’t all. Where drama workshops lurk, so does the prospect of participation! Before I knew it, I was up on my feet engaging in role-play for Sue Clarke’s (Drama Associate, Trinity College London) session on developing communication through performance.

This was the first time I’d dusted off my drama shoes since university. At first it felt strange (although I was acutely aware this is something we ask of pupils in our workshops every day!). However, I recalled the improvisation skills I once boasted in my BA Honours Performing Arts degree and soon got back into the swing of it. In the session, we were tasked to use persuasive language and empathy to communicate thoughts and create persuasive arguments. As Sue explained, these are key skills that can create career opportunities down the line.

Drama for the future

Once again, the workshop reminded me just what a powerful tool drama can be. I thought back on my own experiences as a young person. I can trace exactly how improvisation has helped me be adaptable and think on my feet – two skills that have come in immensely useful as a small business owner!

Ultimately, the ability to communicate has influenced my career advancement. When I got my first job straight out of university, I was already able to speak confidently to a group of people. When you need to ‘pitch’ to others – whether it’s a service you’re selling, an idea, or even yourself – self-belief makes a huge difference. That’s a superpower we want to share with the next generation.

As we progress through 2023, we really shouldn’t be fighting for subjects like drama and the performing arts in schools. Young people should have the freedom, and support, to take advantage in the arts in any way, shape or form. After all, as we’ve seen, the benefits may last them a lifetime.

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