The History of Music Teaching often represents the triumph of visual form over content. Classical musical notation, whilst being a handy tool for the memory, actually forces the mind to consider music visually at quite an early stage. By default, this often crushes the burgeoning talents of students whose primary response to music is by ear, and who rely on aural memory as a first instinct. Many great natural musicians struggle with musical notation because of its apparent redundancy in the musical process, and many music teachers battle on with the visual method of teaching for years as a mainstay, leaving listening and aural analysis to one side as a more complex skill. As with formal language, the use of musical notation can sometimes eradicate the "need to respond" from the learning situation, making student development slower and more pressured.

Unlike visual art, which is considered a "staple subject" throughout primary education, music and musical competence remains the preserve of a select few. Whether this is socio-economic or a facet of social perception is debatable. Scratch the surface of many visual artists and you will find a musician struggling to get out.

However, in a way which seems to differ from static visual imagery, sound genuinely and perceptibly emanates from within, and speech with sound forms a fundamental part of how we communicate emotion. From mating calls to horror film soundtracks, without the sound, the meaning is lost.

Looking at the most basic music production equipment, the voice, it is clear that there are many adults who simply do not have access to their voice because of childhood experiences. If music teaching is to have any social value, it therefore should gravitate around what each singer does with their voice, rather than competition for the loudest, purest, most in tune etc. To access this voice, and in a similar way to language teaching, there must be a need to use the voice. The most obvious example is of teachers who can only sing when in front of a class of young children, and music producers who teach lines to singers but "can't sing" themselves. An understanding of this syndrome and the self-consciousness attached to vocal representation prompts a music teaching style where the student is encouraged to become teacher, leader, or to take a socially dominant role, to prompt the regular and confident use the voice for a specific purpose. Regular singing into a microphone is also an element of this process.

Moving on to instrumental music, again this is often elusive because of associated costs. However much can be achieved with a few simple lessons and keen self-teaching. Modern music has for some decades revolved around keyboard use, but there seems never to have been a concerted or effective effort to teach keyboard skills to all in a systematic way, whereas in the field of the visual arts, all school pupils will be taught the principles of how to use basic tools of the trade.

The consequence of this imbalance is that when it comes to creative music, 98% of all people feel incapable of initiating music for fear of making mistakes, sounding foolish, or through a simple inability to control an instrument or voice to their satisfaction.

Awareness of harmony and pitch is particularly inaccessible to many people.

UTTA music teaching revolves around the empowerment of the individual to create, by immersion in a musical environment, providing musical leadership opportunities to all, the teaching of vocal control and functional rather than performance singing in the first instance, and with an emphasis on the practical instrumental skills necessary for expression. In particular, in the creative fields, UTTA encourages the deviation from musical norms and the recognition of innovation in music.

Typical course guidelines

* An UTTA course should be taught by a teacher with certified or established teaching and /or training skills,and the ability to work to objectives and plans.

* Teachers should demonstrate a level or creative and practical musical skill or experience equivalent to a minimum of A level music, Grade VII instrumental exams, or with already published music. The exact assessment of music skills depends on the course being taught, so skills should be relevant to the goals being sought.

* The course should be defined by a scheme and lesson plan system, but with flexibility within the constraints of the course and depending on the needs of the student. Day courses may be freer flowing than regular schemes.

* UTTA one-to-one music courses should only be offered in the context of a commercially run studio environment.


* UTTA music courses should aim to result in the production of recordings or performance.

*The focus of studies should be, where possible, on original music or on original sound processes.

The following are the main objectives and hallmarks of an UTTA Music Course. Aims of individual courses may vary but each provider should be able to promote and develop the following skills:

The active development of creative and performance skills.     Free composition.
Jamming and free group music development.       Collaboration in performance and composition.
The development of practical notation systems.        Style development and approximation.
The development of atmosphere.       The exploration of original sound notions.
Rhythmic understanding.       Practical performance skills.
Recording experience.      Microphone technique.       Organising a performance.
Varying a set list for audience.             Stage presence and activity - audience identification.
Image development.         Confidence.

UTTA music courses       UTTA music course development