Your first year as head of music – Rhinegold Publishing

Your first year as head of music


Becoming head of department is a huge achievement and a defining step in the career of any teacher. Most new HoDs will have access to the wealth of experience from other middle leaders in the school in order to smooth the transition into management, and the same is true for a new head of music. Schools have natural rhythms that have a similar impact across different departments, and an experienced HoD is a valuable asset to the new head of music.

That said, as with so many things in our subject, middle leadership is different for music. The musical needs of your pupils combined with the additional ‘shop-window’ function of music in the school will make it hard for a non-music teacher to guide you as well as they could if they were mentoring a new HoD of a different subject.

This resource is aimed at giving you some help and support for your first year as a head or director of music, highlighting both the typical school demands and those that are unique to music. You’ll find a series of checklists, one for each month of the school year, which will alert you to the commonest demands on your time. Each list will be supported with both the reason each item is on the list, and advice as to how you can meet each demand.

Of course, each school will have a slightly different version of their annual calendar, so sit down with an experienced middle leader or your line manager and ask for advice about school-wide matters, such as the timing of reports, parents’ evenings, etc. You should adapt and adjust the checklists to suit the uniqueness of your school but, rest assured, the advice here will help you to make your first year as a new head of music feel a little less daunting.

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