Music Learning Collective

MLC Loughborough has a positive impact on the local community

MLC is a modern, dynamic student-focused music school. We are an inclusive, community-based centre of excellence and aim to have a positive impact on the local community as well as the students that study with us.

Background

Since opening our doors in 2007, our teams have helped thousands of people to realise their potential and artistic aspirations throughout the UK, France, Italy and beyond. Encouraging youngsters to investigate and have a positive experience of the Arts – and music in particular – is of paramount importance to us here at MLC. We often see first-hand how it broadens the horizons of all those who take part and helps nurture what is usually an already healthy appetite for creativity in children.

Tailoring creative pathways to suit the individual needs of our students is central to what we believe in. No two people are the same and therefore no two journeys will ever be the same.

MLC Loughborough

In June 2019 an agreement was reached with East Leake Academy (ELA) that would allow ELA to become the new home of MLC Loughborough and in September 2019 we began accepting new students.

ELA fully embraced this exciting partnership and provided 5 classrooms and a communal area. The musical equipment is in good working order and the atmosphere is convivial. Lessons commenced on Saturdays on a weekly basis.

Our Approach

Students at ELA range from 11 to 16 and have had access to music provision within their existing curriculum. The Head of Music was keen that MLC help foster a culture of excitement and appreciation for music within the school. Both parties set about devising a delivery plan that would span at least 5 years: the aim being to create an exciting pathway for years 7 to 11.

The first year has been very exciting. Students who attend MLC Loughborough range from 6 to 57 with the gender split of 66% male and 34% female. The aspirations of our cohort range from playing for fun, sitting graded music exams, complimenting GCSE studies, and working towards a silver and gold Arts Award.

The team at MLC Loughborough currently consists of six dynamic and passionate teachers and in line with our equal opportunities policy, the team is an equal gender split. CPD and governance is important to us and our team constantly strives to increase their knowledge and awareness of professional practice.

Pupil Attainment

The 2019 – 2020 academic year has of course been a challenging one. In March 2020 MLC Group (including MLC Loughborough) moved its entire operation to online provision due to the Corona virus restrictions put in place by the UK government. Online tool kits, with an emphasis on safeguarding, were produced for both students, teachers and parents alike.

Community is at the heart of what we do. Engaging with our students and their families throughout our first year has enabled us to build a supportive community. Because of this, the vast majority of our cohort opted to continue having lessons online.

Engagement

Since opening its doors back in September 2019, MLC Loughborough has hosted a variety of events and has fully engaged with the local community.

In December 2019, MLC Loughborough sponsored the Winter Sock Gallery event at Loughborough Town Hall. The event was an opportunity for artists from the local area to showcase their work, with a winner and runner up places decided by several judges. The event was preceded by an awards night, in which MLC Loughborough had the opportunity to present the winner and runner up awards, with the artists and their families, as well as local dignitaries in attendance. Their work remained on display during the Winter pantomime season, along with MLC Loughborough advertising, which would reach a footfall of some 30,000 people passing the showcase during the month of December.

Furthermore, MLC Loughborough has sponsored the local football team by purchasing new clothing and kit for the 2020-2021 season. This will help to keep their costs down to a minimum and, in exchange, MLC branding will be visible on the jackets, newsletters and awards nights.

Events we have put on at MLC Loughborough have been varied and exciting. In December 2019, we hosted our first drum clinic. This was presented by professional drummer and educator, Rob Hirons. The event was attended by both students of MLC Loughborough, ELA, and the general public and gave the opportunity for drummers to see Rob perform and discuss a variety of topics and concepts, as well as an opportunity for students to ask questions at the end.

During the same weekend, students of MLC Loughborough also took part in the Christmas concert at Metronome, in conjunction with MLC Nottingham. This allowed the opportunity for students to perform in a showcase at a professional venue, with their peers, family and friends in attendance.

In April 2020, MLC Loughborough delivered its first ever Discover Arts Award. This was delivered online (due to the Covid-19 Pandemic) and was attended by 16 students. With an age range in the group of 7-14 year olds, Arts Award encouraged the students to discover the arts in and around their home, research artists, and share what they have learned with their families and the group at the end of the course. We offered this course free of charge, to give the students something new and exciting to study during the pandemic, as well as allow them to engage with one another safely.

During the May 2020 half term week, MLC Loughborough delivered its first ever online Latin Drum workshop. The event was a four hour workshop split over two days and the students received a free copy of Drumset For Beginners – Latin book. The premise behind this was to enable drummers to study and learn more about this unique, fun and challenging style of drumming. Students actively engaged throughout the whole workshop, and submitted some excellent work at the end during a sharing session.

In August 2020, our students worked towards MLC’s Summer Stream event. This, again, was in collaboration with MLC Nottingham, and was an online music event for students to showcase their skills and talent, which was shown via our social media channels. Students had the opportunity to perform solo’s or in a virtual band setting and proved a huge success amongst our community of students’ friends and families.

On-going

We continue to work closely with ELA, and are constantly thinking of new ideas to expand our offer to our cohort. At the time of writing, as Covid-19 lockdown measures begin to ease, our attention is shifting back to reopening face-to-face lessons. We continue to correspond regularly, as we plan for the future of both MLC Loughborough and the Music department at ELA. In the community, we are still actively engaged locally, through sponsorship and local trader events.

Reflection and evaluation

Given the challenges of setting up a new business, the strong partnership we have forged with ELA has benefited both parties. We have a facility whereby we can offer credible and accountable music lessons and courses to both the school and local community. The school benefits from having a support network that can come in and deliver instrumental music lessons and Arts Awards, and provide highly skilled peripatetic teachers to support the students of ELA in development of their chosen discipline. East Leake Academy also receives a large percentage of the rates paid by MLC Loughborough to hire the facility. The agreement we have allows all of the money to be re-invested in the Music department in ELA.

Building on this success has allowed us to open further days throughout the week. Initially we were only open on Saturday, however by March, we were also able to offer a second day of after-school music tuition. Furthermore, we hope to take this growth opportunity into the wider community by making music more accessible. This will be supported by offering lessons at MLC Loughborough that have been paid from the MLC funds that we pay to ELA.

In the new academic year, we plan to launch a Bronze Arts Award, which will allow the students to study the arts to an even greater depth. This includes attending and evaluating a show, as well as skill sharing. We are also planning on launching a Music Production course. As it becomes both more accessible and affordable, this is an area of the Music industry that is gaining more popularity. We are looking to deliver both courses to the school students at ELA, as well as to the wider community. We also plan to launch a contemporary choir, something that isn’t currently on offer locally.

For more details, or to find out about future courses, please get in touch.

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