On 20th June, more than 30 instrumental music teachers came together at EIS HQ for a professional learning event titled “Professionalism and Practical Skills for IMTs”.

The day included a wide range of interactive workshops and keynote addresses on bespoke topics for instrumental music teachers (IMTs).

This event was organised with the support of the EIS IMTs Network to help IMTs explore and strengthen their perspective of their own professional identity. As the first in-person IMTs’ event since the pandemic, this was also an opportunity for colleagues to experience the collaborative energy of sharing practice, learning from each other and having fun.

Attendees heard from EIS Assistant Secretary (Education and Equality), Anne Keenan, about progress and challenges on implementing the Scottish Government’s manifesto commitment to deliver free Instrumental Music Tuition in Scotland’s schools. Shonagh Stevenson and James Cunningham, representing the Heads of Instrumental Teachers Scotland, also addressed attendees, alongside EIS IMTs Network Vice Convenor Caroline Farren.

Participants also shared their own perspective on this policy’s implementation, feeding into the Institute’s continuing work in this area.

Focusing on key issues for day-to-day teaching practice, IMTs took part in sessions on Equalities Issues and Employment Rights supported by EIS staff. ASN specialist Kerry Canning led a lively practical workshop on ASN-informed pedagogy. Brass instrument teachers engaged with guest presenter Helen Douthwaite on practical ‘first aid’ and running repairs for this instrument group.

Before a closing plenary session on the journey towards GTCS registration for IMTs, attendees gained an international perspective on professional identity, hearing from Australian strings specialist Anne Keenan in conversation with Edinburgh-based June Nelson.

IMTs Network Vice Convenor, Caroline Farren, said, “We are delighted to bring together colleagues from all over the country to take part in professional learning as musicians, as instrumental music teachers and as trade unionists. Professional dialogue and innovative practice consolidate our identity as IMTs within Scottish education, as well as enhancing the quality of instrumental music teaching for the children and young people in our settings.”