What is a Certificate for Music Educators?

The Certificate for Music Educators (called the CME)  is a programme of professional development for anyone teaching music. 

It is validated by Trinity College London, at the standard of Ofqual level 4.

How long is the course? 

The course is studied over a period of 6 months and the next start dates are:
1st March 2024
1st October 2024

Who’s it for?

The ESTA CME has been developed for anyone who works as an instrumental or vocal music teacher with children and young people, including instrumental and vocal teachers working with music services, hubs, schools or privately, and professional musicians who undertake education work.

ESTA CME entry requirements

To apply for the ESTA CME you should:

  • be working regularly as an instrumental or vocal teacher
  • have at least one year’s experience as a teacher
  • demonstrate a level of musical competence that is appropriate to the demands of your working environment
  • have musical, communication and interpersonal skills that enable you to inspire confidence in and elicit musical responses from children and young people
  • have the ability to cope with the learning and assessment demands of the Trinity CME

What does the course consist of?

The course is made of four modules

  1. The Reflective Practitioner
  2. Music Education and Learner’s Musical Worlds
  3. Musical Learning: planning, leading, assessment and evaluation
  4. The Music Educator and their wider professional role

Each module has a set of learning outcomes that are assessed against specific criteria. The Certificate is awarded upon successfully collecting, collating and presenting evidence that meets the assessment criteria of each module. This is a pass/fail certificate. An important feature throughout the whole course is developing your understanding of, and becoming a reflective practitioner.

Further details

What is the cost?

The full course fee is £800

A fully refundable deposit of £100 will be taken with your application. If you are accepted on the course the remaining fee must be paid before commencement.

Can I fit this in around my work schedule? 

We have planned that almost all of the course is online learning through webinars and shared video resources.  For all these parts of the course, you can learn in the comfort of your own home or from anywhere in the world where you can get online.

What’s a webinar?

A webinar is a live meeting that takes place over the internet. It can be a presentation, a discussion, a demonstration, or an instructional “how-to” session. Those who participate view a live video feed, an application, or documents via computer. In a webinar, you are an audience and not just a reader or listener (as in the case of books or podcasts). You can expect to have your space and time to ask questions and sound off ideas to the presenter. You will be expected to participate and engage with the follow-up work which is designed to support your professional development and prepare your portfolios for assessment.

What’s prior learning? 

In order to avoid learners having to repeat learning unnecessarily, evidence of prior learning and experience can be used to demonstrate that you meet some or all of the assessment criteria. 

Prior learning may occur;

  • In your workplace
  • Attendance at courses
  • In volunteer activity
  • Through a hobby or interest
  • Through independent study

At the start of the course you will be asked to make and upload a video of your teaching. You will work with your mentor to reflect and discuss the teaching you have recorded. This first session is important. It will enable us to validate any prior learning experiences. It will allow you to identify your personal strengths and highlight areas for personal improvement and development.

Who is my contact? 

Everyone will be allocated a mentor who will work with you throughout the course. They will be your first and regular contact. They will observe and guide your developing portfolio and will be the first marker of your final submission. They will be guided by the Course Leader.

Who teaches the course

Greg Mudd Photo ESTA UK

Course Leader – CME

Greg Mudd

Greg Mudd, MMus, PgCLTHE, BA (Hons), Dip.Mus, FHEA, is a widely experienced musician and lecturer.

He is the Professor of Bass Guitar and Jazz at the Royal Marines School of Music and Royal Military School of Music (Alford Schools of Military Music) and a Senior Lecturer of Popular Music at Solent University, Southampton. 

Greg’s musical career began with studying the Double Bass under supervision of renowned bassist, Barry Glynn. He performed with youth ensembles including the Dorset and Wessex Youth Orchestras,  and productions such as: The Buddy Holly Musical (Tivoli Theatre); Basso Profundo (Royal Festival Hall); and The Classics with The Big Little Theatre Company (Winter Gardens, Bournemouth). As a teenager he also began learning the electric bass guitar, which became his principal instrument. 

Greg has performed with many different bands and ensembles in a wide variety of venues and settings, from aircraft carriers, festivals and concert halls, through to weddings and corporate functions. Alongside teaching and performing, Greg regularly undertakes recording and session work and has recorded in numerous music studios including Winterland Studios in Minneapolis.

Alongside his professional work, Greg has obtained qualifications including: a Higher Diploma in Popular Music Performance (Middlesex University); a Diploma in Music (The Open University); Bachelor of Arts in Humanities with Music (The Open University); a Master’s Degree in Musicology (University of Southampton); and a Postgraduate Certificate in Learning and Teaching in Higher Education (Solent University). He is also recognised as a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. Currently, he is midway through a (part-time) PhD. His research focuses on composing for the bass guitar.


Your work is assessed as follows:

  • Three observations of your teaching using videos you have submitted 
  • A written assignment (1750 – 2500 words). The topic is mandatory and everyone is invited to respond to the title, “Children, young people and their musical worlds’
  • A case study related to an aspect of your work as a teacher
  • A professional development plan

Tell me more about a written assignment

One written assignment of between 1,750 and 2,500 words is to be completed. This written assignment provides mentors with evidence of how reading and research have supported knowledge and understanding of how children and young people relate to music, including their instrumental and/or music lessons. It considers why music is important to children and young people, the ways in which we develop musically and develop our musical preferences, through formal and informal music making, social media and networking.  

The written assignment will be recommended as a pass or fail.  Mentors will be looking for:

  • A grasp of subject matter with well-presented written discussion
  • An understanding of module assessment criteria 
  • Use of relevant and appropriate material drawing on a range of resources
  • Personal experience providing an effective link between theory and practise
  • Awareness of teaching strategies and learning styles, which goes well beyond a perfunctory understanding 
  • Clear link between theory and effective teaching practice
  • Critical relevant awareness of teaching strategies and learning styles 

What do you mean by a case study?

This is a case study of one pupil or a group of pupils that you teach, demonstrating your development as a reflective practitioner. After an overview of the case context and pupil’s background, students complete detailed notes of their lesson plans, delivery and reflection, along with making a judgement about the pupil’s progress.

What do you expect from a professional development plan?

You will need to plan, undertake and review a personal professional programme throughout the course. The programme will include the course sessions and its connected journey (e.g. observing other teaching, attending conferences, reading and research etc). You decide your own format for your professional development plan in agreement with your mentor.

Everyone on the ESTA Education CME course is required to submit videos of themselves teaching. These videos will be used to assess your progress and are an essential part of the process. While engaging in teaching activities, it is imperative that you undertake current child protection training as required by your county of residence.

Before attempting to make any recording of children or young people, you must first obtain permission from the learner or learners whose lesson it is, and in writing if the learner is over 18 years of age; also from the parents or carers of the learner or learners below 18 years of age, from any adults who may also be present in the room, and if the recording is made in a school or other institution, from the appropriate authority in the institution.

The submitted recordings will be viewed by your mentor, the course leader and members of the ESTA CME panel. They will be stored for the duration of the course and a period of up to three months following completion of the course.

Any reference made to any child in any video must be done so anonymously. No child is to be named in the process of writing about or referring to, in the portfolio or any written evidence.

ESTA does not provide video cameras or other equipment and you are expected to use either a smartphone, laptop computer, tablet or other device which they provide for the purpose.

Disabled learners

ESTA UK strives to make all aspects of its practices and policies suitable for reasonable adjustments to include any disabled members, within the capability of our size and the resources we have available. We will regularly review; 

  • the physical features 
  • our delivery and teaching practices 

In order to ensure that a disabled learner is not at a substantial disadvantage compared with a person who is not disabled. If a substantial disadvantage does exist, we will make reasonable adjustments to remove the substantial disadvantage. This does not, however, mean asking intrusive questions or ones that violate someone’s dignity.

Course structure and timeline

We want the ESTA CME to be a flexible form of study that will meet your needs and aspirations for your professional development journey. 

The course is studied over six months, and the next start dates are:

1st November 2023
1st March 2024

It is designed for teachers and teaching assistants who can demonstrate, through an interview that they have an informed awareness of two or more of the following areas:

  • the core principles, concepts and practices that underpin contemporary music education, particularly those relating to diversity, equality and inclusion, and addressing barriers to musical learning
  • key debates and perspectives in contemporary music education and the implications of these for the setting(s) in which they work
  • children, young people’s and adults’ wider musical worlds and the role and purpose of music education within these worlds
  • the musical skills and pedagogical knowledge required to motivate and support musical learning and progression of all learners in the setting(s) within which they work
  • music education beyond their setting(s) and the implications of this for their own practice

Safeguarding and child protection

We recognise the expertise our members build by undertaking safeguarding training and managing safeguarding concerns. We invite staff to shape and contribute to this policy and associated safeguarding arrangements.

The policy is provided to all ESTA UK members, in addition to the statutory guidance ‘Keeping Children Safe in Education’, DfE (2016).

The purpose of ESTA’s safeguarding policy is to ensure every member of our association understands how to keep safe and how to keep children safe and protected from harm. This means we work to:

  • Enable members to understand how to protect children and young people from maltreatment;
  • Prevent impairment of our children’s and young people’s health or development;
  • Ensure that children and young people are taught in circumstances consistent with the provision of safe and effective care;
This policy will give clear direction to our membership about expected behaviour and our legal responsibility to safeguard and promote the welfare of all children we engage with as part of our teaching and professional commitments. ESTA fully recognises the contribution it can make to protect children from harm and supporting and promoting the welfare of all children who are part of our association or who we teach. The elements of our policy are prevention, protection and support. ESTA also advises that all its members must seek out, understand and be able to apply the Child protection procedures for each of its working contexts.

The child’s welfare is of paramount importance. ESTA and our members will establish and maintain an ethos where pupils feel secure, are encouraged to talk, are listened to and are safe.  Children will be able to talk freely to their instrumental teacher if they are worried or concerned about something.

We recognise that instrumental teachers play a particularly important role as they are in a position to identify concerns early and provide help for children to prevent concerns from escalating. When concerned about the welfare of a child, everyone must always act in the best interests of the child.

All ESTA members and learners, through training, know the general procedures required in how to recognise indicators of concern, how to respond to a disclosure from a child and how to record and report this information. They understand never to make promises to any child and never to keep secrets. 

Wherever necessary we support our members and learners to work in partnership and endeavour to establish effective working relationships with parents, carers and colleagues from other agencies in line with Working Together to Safeguard Children (2015)

It is the responsibility of everyone to ensure that they carry out the requirements of this policy and, at all times, work in a way that will safeguard and promote the welfare of all of their pupils. This includes the responsibility to provide a safe environment in which children can learn.

The DSL will provide advice and support on child welfare and child protection matters. Any concern for a child’s safety or welfare will be recorded in writing and given to the DSL.

The DSL will represent ESTA at child protection conferences and take part in strategy discussions and other national organisations as appropriate. The DSL will maintain written records of any reported incidents, ensuring that they are kept confidential and stored securely.

All learners will have the opportunity to receive safeguarding training during the course. The training will also include information about whistle-blowing in respect of concerns about another adult’s behaviour and suitability to work with children.

Mentors and the course leaders will also receive on-line safety training as this is part of the overarching safeguarding approach of our school. All learners will be informed of the procedures surrounding child protection.

When concerned about the welfare of a child, learners should always act in the interests of the child and have a responsibility to take action as outline in this policy. Learners must follow the procedures of their working contexts.

For the duration of the course, learners are encouraged to report any concerns that they have and not see these as insignificant. Concerns accumulate over a period of time and are evidenced by building up a picture of harm over time; this is particularly true in cases of emotional abuse and neglect. In these circumstances, it is crucial that learners record pass on concerns in accordance with this policy to the DSL. A reliance on memory without accurate and contemporaneous records of concern could lead to a failure to protect.

It is not the responsibility of ESTA or the learner to investigate welfare concerns or determine the truth of any disclosure or allegation. We all have a duty to recognise concerns and pass the information on in accordance with the procedures outlined in this policy.

All concerns about a child or young person should be reported without delay and recorded in writing using the agreed template (see Appendix 1). This must be sent to the DSL where the learner is working and a copy to ESTA DSL.

Any learner who does not feel that concerns about a child have been responded to appropriately and in accordance with the procedures outlined in this policy should raise their concerns with the head of the organisation they are working in e.g. the head teacher or with ESTA DSL

We advise learners to recognise that children are also vulnerable to physical, sexual and emotional abuse by their peers or siblings. This is most likely to include, but not limited to: bullying (including cyber bullying), gender based violence/sexual assaults and sexting. Abuse perpetrated by children can be just as harmful as that perpetrated by an adult, so it is important to remember the impact on the victim of the abuse as well as to focus on the support for the child or young person exhibiting the harmful behaviour.

We advise learners to recognise that children with special educational needs (SEN) and disabilities can face additional safeguarding challenges.

These additional barriers can include:

  • assumptions that indicators of possible abuse such as behaviour, mood and injury relate to the child’s disability without further exploration;
  • children with SEN and disabilities can be disproportionally impacted by things like bullying- without outwardly showing any signs; and
  • communication barriers and difficulties in overcoming these barriers.

We advise learners to recognise that if they identify concerns about children becoming victims of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) and other forms of so-called ‘honour-based’ violence (HBV) they should inform the DSL of where they are working who will activate local safeguarding procedures, using existing national and local protocols for multiagency liaison with police and children’s social care.

ESTA recognise that safeguarding against radicalisation and extremism is no different to safeguarding against any other vulnerability in today’s society. We advise that:

  • Through training, we have an understanding of what radicalisation and extremism is, why we need to be vigilant and how to respond when concerns arise.
  • There are systems in place for keeping pupils safe from extremist material when accessing the internet using effective filtering and usage policies.
The DSL can provide you with the necessary forms should you need to document any concerns.

Terms and Conditions of the CME Programme

  1. Learners enrolled in the CME course and intending to teach children or other vulnerable individuals will be required to possess a valid DBS certificate (or its international equivalent) obtained within the past year. If they do not have one, they can obtain it through ESTA (additional fee applies).
  2. All learners must complete the CME within 24 months of registration. In exceptional circumstances (e.g. medical or pregnancy) learners may apply for a deferment from the programme. This will be considered on a case-by-case basis and if agreed no fee would be refunded although there would be no additional fee on the re-commencement of the course
  3. If a learner wishes to cancel their place on the programme at any point after the payment of fees, the following terms apply:
    Cancellation immediately after fee payment but before the programme commences, there is a 10% cancellation fee
  4. All course work must be the sole work of the learner and nothing copied or plagiarised unless acknowledged.
  5. To comply with statutory requirements, we may need to collect additional information from you during and after your course.
  6. Please inform us of any change to your contact details.
  7. Course fees do not include materials, equipment, travel book or crèche costs.
  8. We expect all learners and staff to play an active part in promoting mutual respect and challenging any form of discrimination or abuse. We reserve the right to exclude any learner who does not uphold this policy.
  9. Learners need to have appropriate relevant performance skills.
  10. All course learners must attend all sessions whilst studying for the CME except by prior notice agreed with the Course Director, medical reasons or pregnancy.