Over the past 5 years, FutureDJs have been “laying down a new beat for music in schools”, working to get DJing recognised in formal musical education. Early on, they managed to get DJ decks recognised as an instrument for GCSE assessment, but creating the framework for this to work in practice was a bigger challenge. Last week, they succeeded: FutureDJs and the London College of Music Examiners published a syllabus that offers grade certifications on CDJs (decks for manipulating music from CDs or digital files).
This puts them on a par with classical and jazz instruments, and provides detailed criteria for teachers assessing GCSE-level pupils who work with CDJs. The aim, says Sandra Allan of exam board AQA, is “allowing more accessibility and diversity, giving students opportunity they may not have considered before now”.
The MIA are pleased that CDJ qualifications have been given formal recognition. The more opportunity to inspire young people and enabling them to make music, the better.
The Guardian have published an interesting article: DJing formally offered at GCSE: a challenge to a ‘colonialised curriculum
This article is interesting, because it explores the link between DJing and equality, diversity and inclusivity. Here is an excerpt from the article:
Cultural sociologist and theorist Dr Monique Charles suggests that the use of CDJs in grime is every bit as important as early reggae and dancehall’s sound system-building in “shaping our musical soundscapes and musical sensibilities”. She is hopeful that teaching DJing will legitimise this understanding. “Inclusion in the curriculum acknowledges the people and traditions connected to them.” Rising DJ Sherelle, currently a holder of a BBC Radio 1 Residency, says the introduction of the course is crucial. “Someone like myself would have probably found my passion a lot earlier if I was able to mix all my favourite tracks back in school.”
Simon Glenister, CEO of Noise Solution, an organisation that provides musical mentoring for at-risk youths, says there’s an added urgency to the formal recognition of CDJ qualifications “seen through the Black Lives Matter lens”: he describes music education as “one of the most intransigent and colonialised curriculums”. Every participant in his programme is asked what kind of music they want to create. “Of the 800 youths we’ve worked with over the last few years, when asked not one of them has elected to work with western classical music. We should be striving to excite people to learn.”
You can read the full article on The Guardian’s website here: www.theguardian.com/djing-formally-offered-at-gcse-a-challenge-to-a-colonialised-curriculum