January 1, 2022

Developing the North West workforce

by Zoe Greenhalgh in News, Projects

Note Weavers is delighted to support four North West early years music practitioners to study for the Certificate for Music Educators: Early Childhood (CME:EC) Level 4 qualification at The Centre for Research in Early Childhood (CREC) as part of our Youth Music funded Talking Regions project.  The successful applicants for this bursary started the course in October 2021 and will be mentored by Note Weavers Director Sally-Anne Brown.  Practical experience in an Early Years setting with additional mentoring has also been arranged and funded by Note Weavers.


Read about the Note Weavers funded CME:EC students:

Bob Holland

I have been working as a self employed music teacher predominantly through the local authority of Blackburn with Darwen, and now Bolton Music Service. During this time I have worked in a range of ways in these locations including:

  • Delivering the Music Curriculum KS1 – KS2
  • Delivering First Access or Wider opportunities lessons where every child in usually a year 4 class gets the chance to learn an instrument.
  • Working in a high school as a percussion teacher
  • Teaching instrumentally on the guitar/bass/ukulele, through the music service as well as privately
  • Creating performances for schools/parents to watch

This last year I have gradually had more work with Reception classes on my timetable.  At first this was an area of work that I was very unsure about and I was clearly pitching my lessons too high. I have sought to find online training and discussions during this time to get ideas/support and now feel more confident but not fully secure.

I found the CME Early years course through Note Weavers and I feel that doing this will add a lot more depth to what I am doing.


Jolanta Livesey

As a child, I attended a music school for children where I was learning how to play Kankles, piano, flute, had solfegio, music history lessons and sang in the school choir. Studies in this school led to my successful entry to Juozas Tallat-Kelpsa Konservatorium in Vilnius, Lithuania.

This was a wonderful experience. After 4 years of study, I qualified as a music teacher and a leader of music groups. Straight after, I went on studying Kankles at the Academy of Music and Theatre of Lithuania and gained an MA in music.

In 1997 I joined primary school/kindergarten “Ausra” as a full time music teacher. Here I taught music to children aged 2.5 years old up to 11 years. I worked in this school until I moved to the UK in 2004. For the next 10 years I had an office based job and concentrated on my family.

In 2014, I started Music Tots, a music club for toddlers. It was a small Saturday music class at my local community centre. Since then, Music Tots has grown to 7 weekly classes in three different venues in Tameside and Oldham. At the moment I teach 4 Reception music classes in a primary school in Greater Manchester as well as running Music Tots and Music Babies.

I feel privileged to be given the opportunity to study at CREC. It is wonderful to meet people who are passionate about early years music. During this course I am hoping to find my identity as an early years music practitioner and polish my teaching style. I am striving to bring quality to my classes and deliver high quality joyous teaching.


Laura Holden

I have been delivering music classes as an independent early years practitioner for the past 5 years. I studied Popular Music and Recording at University, loved performing and playing music and was very disappointed in the music classes available when my children were young. I took my 6 month old (at the time) along to most of the different classes available in my area, generally part of franchises, and I didn’t see the point in paying for something that I could do a lot better myself!  So I left my job working for a carers charity and see up my own business Baby Beats. I knew nothing about Early Years Teaching, apart from what I researched and what I learnt from my own children, but I developed my own programme of classes in the local community, going in to schools and nurseries and delivering SEN sessions through local charities.

I have always felt quite alone and struggled to access training mainly due to the cost or the distance and the time it would take out of my regular work. However when I discovered the CME I decided it was time to train properly and get a qualification for what I do to help me feel more confident and to set me apart from some of my competitors. It was so reassuring to know I wasn’t the only one on the course who felt like this! The first 2 learning days have prompted me to completely re-think how I offer my classes and to not be afraid to try something new and experiment. Having some practical sessions where we explored these ideas and learnt new material was fantastic and gave me ideas of how I could re-work current material but allowing the children to have more input, and let them take the lead.

Overall I think I put a lot of pressure on myself to lead my classes and constantly entertain the children (and parents) and offer value for money, but actually this can be at the cost of what would actually be beneficial to the children. I think because I run my classes as a business I constantly think of the parents as my target market when it actually has to be the children at the centre of it!!! But I also know that I am doing some things right too and I thought I knew nothing about Dalcroze and Kodaly but actually I am using a lot of these techniques in my practice already, so this made me feel really good!


Alison Turpin

Hi, I’m Alison.  I’m a lifelong musician and singer (40+ years) with a Performing Arts management degree from LIPA and a career in creative industries.  I have four children, including a daughter with additional needs.  For the past four years I have been a licensed teacher with Musical Bumps, running Kodaly-inspired early years music classes in my local area.

Unfortunately, the many changes brought about by the pandemic meant that this way of running classes no longer fitted around my family life.  On the positive side, more time at home in the last 18 months gave me opportunities to research elements of my sessions that I wanted to develop further, such as SEND, inclusion, speech and language, musical play and different pedagogical approaches and I attended some useful online training events.  I was really grateful to find and join the Note Weavers network during this time as I knew I needed to be amongst local practitioners.

When Note Weavers advertised the bursaries for the CME:EC course, I could see this would be an ideal way for me to build on my experience, skills and knowledge and gain a recognised national qualification to underpin my future work as an independent early years music practitioner.

I feel really excited to continue my journey in early years music and have loved getting to know my CME:EC mentors and fellow students so far.  Our first two training days at CREC were packed full of useful learning, discussions, creative thinking and practical music making.  Although there feels like a lot to do over the next 12 months, I am feeling really motivated to get stuck into the course, build my portfolio and become an even better practitioner for the fun, enjoyment and benefit of all the amazing children and families I will work with in the future.