We recognise the value of continuing professional development for both staff and pupils. We are delighted to hear from staff members who have benefitted from a diverse range of training and activities which support their personal growth. In this Spotlight On : Staff episode, Andrew Weeks, Head of Instrumental Music and Composition, talks about a trip to the Czech Republic…
“At the end of half term, in October 2021, I was lucky enough to travel to the Czech Republic to record some of my music with members of the City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra. This was a summative element of a course that I completed in 2020, but the activity was postponed due to the pandemic. So, the trip was really the cherry on top following on from 2 years of study and portfolio work.
I chose this personal growth activity because reflecting on where I was back in 2017, I admit to feeling a bit stuck, so I really wanted to do some worthwhile training. I was extremely grateful to the School therefore, in supporting me in taking on a part-time Masters degree in Composition and Orchestration with the world's first online Film Scoring Course through Thinkspace Education (University of Chichester accredited).
The course was intense but extremely rewarding, and because it was done long distance, it meant that I could learn and submit my work from home. There is no question, it was challenging balancing my studies with teaching commitments, but the course managers were flexible and understanding, as most of their students are mature due to offering postgraduate courses.
I wanted to take this course on because it helped fuel an area that I am passionate about, as well as staying creative outside of the classroom. One of the reasons I loved doing the course was that it wasn't abstract. You got to write music for real life projects and, although there was research and academic work involved, it was mainly a practical course with plenty to show for it at the end.
The course has had a positive impact not only on my personal well-being and sense of growth, but also on my teaching, particularly at A-Level composition level, giving me advanced software notation skills. It was a huge learning curve, both in terms of conducting, and also working with a seasoned team of professionals and, I learnt about cutting edge processes both in composition and technological preparation for scoring. It was a privilege gaining experience from leading tutors, composers and creatives from all over the world (seminars/lectures came from London, Chichester, Los Angeles, Europe) and I love being able to talk passionately and authoritatively about this area, which, in turn, has built my confidence in this specialist field. I have also learnt a huge amount about writing for orchestra which impacts rehearsals with orchestral musicians at NS.
Overall, it was an extremely rich learning experience and one which I am sure will have a positive impact on me being able to inspire pupils who study at Norwich School. I am also so glad that I managed to complete the course around the time of having our daughter. The timing was just right!”