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Comedy Interview

Discussion in 'Music' started by Muzelle, May 17, 2011.

  1. Muzelle

    Muzelle New commenter

    Gotta share this one with you. Went to an interview for a teaching job at a privately run prep/senior school. Very proud of its near 100 per cent academic record (?!!) Interview first....'so why do you want to work at our school....' Followed by demo lesson to a senior school class. The senior music department consisted of a 4m square room with bare white walls, a keyboard, a guitar and a white board. Oh, and maybe a box of percussion instruments, but I didn't get to see that. The poor pupils appeared to have no understanding of basic musical concepts and very few played instruments. The HOD kept wandering in and out of the demo class. Afterwards I had to ask for a tour of the school (taking in the super expensive new sports hall) and was then dismissed with a cursory 'we'll be in touch'. Now, back to that question, why did I want to work at this school?.....hmmm
  2. Hi
    I had a smiliar one to this a few years ago. Interview for a part time job at a top girls schools on the outskirts of London. After the Head had turned her back, refused my handshake on arrival and generally looked elsewhere when speaking to me I was given a guided tour of the splendid galleries and facilities of the school. I knew from their prospectus that they had spent hundreds of thousands of pounds of charitable donations . My late father in law who really didnt have two shillings to rub together was very proud that the local fundraising group that he chaired had made a donation to this school. There were some very nice portraits and the massive grounds were very well manicured. It struck me that the real estate value and income from the pupils attending was massive and I wished my father in law had kept the money - he really needed it more than the kids of miliionaires attending.
    I was then shown a music room that had a pile of keyboards and some instruments under tables and was informed that I wouldnt get to use that room - it was for the senior school. Heaven help the GCSE students. When I enquired where would I teach I was taken to a very nice ballet room.There were no instruments. Oh yes these were on a small trolley miles away and I would need to transport them back and forth for every lesson. They wanted to me to teach at lots of different times across the week to fit in with all the other teachers. no blocks of time so effectively a full time job with part time pay.
    Id come prepared to teach a class but the interviewers wanted to me to come back the next day (I already had plans and it wasnt on the job info). Suffice to say I turned them down.
    The following week I went for an interview at the state primary where I now work. A typical school needing a lick of paint but full of pleasant children and a warm welcome. Two dedicated music rooms, PPA and CPD (I dont think they knew what they were at the private school) all the equipment and budget I could ask for. Im probably paid the same as I would have been at the other school.
    I guess there are good and bad in all sectors and I am constantly surpised at the disparity in school provision.
  3. florian gassmann

    florian gassmann Star commenter

    That is the key point, and it's probably even more true of the indie sector than the state sector. While you will indeed find independent schools where music is run by one part-time person in a broom cupboard, you will find others where the Director of Music supervises 30 or 40 staff in a state-of-the-art music school of conservatoire standard, with an architect-designed concert hall, admin and technical staff, a music library, a chapel with a cathedral-sized pipe organ, a resident composer, dozens of practice rooms, a huge collection of good-quality instruments, dozens of ensembles that meet at least weekly, and concerts at least once a week (often including a professional concert series).
    Research is the key when looking for a job, and I'd recommend membership of the MMA (Music Masters' and Mistresses' Association) for those who want to keep tabs on what is available for musicians in the indie sector.
  4. florian gassmann

    florian gassmann Star commenter

    Nowhere specific, but the music departments in most top HMC schools tend to run along the lines I described. Here's a picture to tempt you:
    <img alt=" /> <img alt=" />
  5. v12


    I think Florian has hit the nail on the head - the vast majority of <u>HMC</u> schools will have an extremely good provision for music, and be justly proud of their musicians and facilities.
    I have, however, taught in a proprietorial school where the provision was lamentable and the aspirations of the self-styled 'Headmaster' - (although he had not even been a teacher in a past life!) were completely lacking in terms of concerts and shows, let alone classroom equipment.

  6. florian gassmann

    florian gassmann Star commenter

    The range of schools in the independent sector is even greater than that in the maintained sector - it's a subject that often comes up in the TES Independent forum.
    Teaching in the music department of a big HMC school is hard work, but rewarding. It's great not to have to worry about finance and to have excellent resources and keen kids, but some of the frustrations are the same as those in maintained schools. For instance, it can be hard to maintain numbers at GCSE and A level, because most of the kids are very clever and often opt for subjects other than music because they have already got their Grade 8s and go to Junior Music College or the county/national youth orchestras and choirs in out-of-school time. But at least heads in indie schools are often willing to allow music exam sets to run with smaller than normal numbers in recognition of the vital "shop window" importance of music. And most offer a number of choral and instrumental scholarships, so there is no dearth of highly accomplished performers.
    But, having been through the experience myself, I'm not entirely sure I'd recommend being the Director of Music in such an establishment. Unless you are very organised, much of the job is management and adminstration if you have 1000 instrumental lessons a week, up to 50 staff, a resident composer or ensemble, dozens of ensembles meeting every week, and standards to maintain in weekly cathedral-style chapel services. When I was Director of Music, I could never manage to teach more than a quarter timetable, and even that was frustrated by having to deal with the latest emergency. There is also the pressure of tradition - major oratorios expected, symphonies from the first orchestra, seriously difficult stage shows (West Side Story, Oklahoma and the like). It does wear you down after a bit!

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