Course Studied: BA (Hons) Music

Year of Graduation: 2013

In an era of declining budgets for creative arts subjects in schools, alternative providers are vital in helping to ensure that pupils have access to high quality music education from the earliest age possible. Founded in 2015 by Classical Music graduate Molly Cale, Moo Melodies provide bespoke musical education packages and practitioners for a variety of primary schools across London.

Below, we discovered a little more about why Molly decided to set up her company and how studying a Classical Music degree helped prepare her for her current role as Founder and Director of Music of a rapidly growing social enterprise.

What attracted you to studying in Leeds and what do you think of the musical community here?

As soon as I went to audition, I was captivated by the city and in particular, the diversity in the music scene. Although I did a degree in Classical Music, I was still able to appreciate all of the other features and facilities that Leeds Conservatoire had to offer me - especially the welcoming music community. 

What prompted you to set up your company Moo Melodies in 2015? What’s the reasoning behind the organisation’s name?

Since graduating I became a primary school music teacher for a school service provider and managed to work my way up to head office. Even though I was in charge of the music department, the company itself was not specifically music related. After building strong relationships with primary schools across London, I noticed that PPA cover agencies, (PPA means planning, preparation and assessment which is what their class teachers do whilst another teacher takes their class) were not music specific, and equally I noticed that musicians who want to become music teachers, preferred to work with a music specialist agency.

With this in mind, I decided to set up Moo Melodies with a vision to ensure schools get a high quality subject specific provision that’s delivered by the best musicians, whilst also ensuring musicians have the opportunity to gain further income by educating the leaders of tomorrow on a flexible basis. The name randomly came about whilst trying to find a fun and memorable name that would suit our market of primary education - I liked the alliteration! 

It was recently reported by the BBC (January 2018) that 90% of schools interviewed had faced a cut back on lesson time, staff or facilities in at least one creative arts subject. With this in mind, how great is the demand and need for Moo Melodies provision?

We have great demand from schools despite the budget cuts. What I love about my company ethos is that I strongly believe every single child should have access to a high quality music education. With this in mind, we take great care in tailoring our services to fit with their given budgets. We have some schools that can only afford a music after school and breakfast club, but at least it’s a start. We also have schools we’ve worked with for years, and as a thank you we are always keen to offer them a free workshop - a lot of our workshop providers are actually Leeds Conservatoire graduates! Building strong relationships with schools is vital within this company.

How did studying a degree in Classical Music at Leeds Conservatoire prepare you for this venture?

One module in my Classical Music degree was ‘Community Music’; which provided me with the opportunity to be sent out on a placement in a primary school. During my time there, I fell in love with primary music education and knew that I wanted a career that expressed my fondness to teach the next generation. Aside from my performing opportunities, music education was an area I knew I was heading towards. 

Leeds Conservatoire also gave me the self-discipline needed to prepare myself for my demanding career. Learning to manage my own time was an important aspect of university life. Now owning my own business, time management is definitely a huge discipline. 

What additional skills have you gained in business management throughout your career?

Whilst previously working as the Head of Music for a teaching agency, I was able to expand my understanding in business and finance, whilst also leading a large team of music teachers, which were originally skills that I felt as though I was missing. I’m not the finished article yet and I’m a firm believer of constant self-improvement, which is why I always keep reading books and going on various courses when I can. 

What advice would you give for someone wanting to teach music in the industry?

Make sure you do a lot of ad hoc and cover teaching if given the opportunity, as it really opens your eyes to the diverse world of children and schools. It’s all about the personality and teaching style, and I developed my own style through a lot of cover work. I was able to see many different schools and children, which allowed me to be resilient and adaptable in any situation. No day is the same when working with children, therefore the strongest teachers that achieve the best pupil progress, are those who can adapt. Get as much experience as you can! At the end of the day, you can look amazing on paper but it all comes down to the delivery. 

What opportunities are currently available at Moo Melodies?

We are always having enquiries from schools but the busiest time of year is after Easter as this is when the school budgets are finalised. Our most popular service is PPA cover/classroom teaching of the music curriculum, so we have many opportunities for teachers who can commit to the whole school day. For those active gigging musicians we always welcome any DBS-checked workshop leaders that we can send to schools. At Moo Melodies we understand the best music teachers are those who are active in the music scene, therefore we are totally flexible and can find part-time work that will suit any musician’s schedule! 

Where do you see the company going in future?

I’d love to go national. So far, we work in the London and surrounding areas, and at the moment I’m working on improving the company’s brand and status to become more and more established as time goes on. We are doing really well down South. However, slowly but surely we want to ensure that every single pupil has access to a high quality music education!

Find out about Teach Major (previously Moo Melodies)

Learn more about our BA (Hons) Music (Classical)

Find out more about what our successful graduates have been up to in our Alumni Profiles

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