The Big Gig - JAPAN 2024

by Musical Futures International & MTIIS

A two-day immersion in music technology, popular music & culturally diverse music specifically applied to the international school context.

Hosted by: Canadian Academy, Kobe, Japan
Saturday 27th & Sunday 28th January 2024
9:00am - 4:00pm (both days)

Book your place at the conference:

Canadian Academy, Kobe, Japan (see map)
27th & 28th January 2024
9:00am - 4:00pm (both days)
$300USD per person
Includes snacks, lunch and a massive resource pack!

What is the Big Gig JAPAN 2024?

The Big Gig 2024 is a two-day festival/conference hosted by Musical Futures International & Music Teachers In International Schools (MTIIS) that brings together a global community of teachers to shape the future of music education. Join us as we play, sing, compose, arrange, produce, scratch, rap and improvise our way through two days of practical workshops. This conference builds on the incredibly successful Big Gig events in Bangkok and Kuala Lumpur in 2023. Join us for the first Big Gig of the year!

Download the event flyer here to help with your PD application.

What will you learn?

  • Explore current trends in Music Technology & production, such as sequencing, synthesis, sampling and using electronic devices as instruments  that will directly assist in PYP, MYP, IBDP and British curriculum courses.

  • Discover the '5 Dimensions' approach to culturally diverse music integration based on the ground-breaking work of Dr. Pat Campbell and resources from the Smithsonian Institution.

  • Gather ideas for developing a contemporary and progressive curriculum that engages learners of all ages and prepares students to become 21st Century Musicians.

  • Improve student (and teacher) confidence with improvising, soloing and composing through our tried and tested approaches to classroom workshopping.

  • Take away a huge collection of brand new online resources to support fun, engaging and creative music making in your school - no extra charge or subscription necessary, these are yours to keep.

  • Explore informal and aural learning pedagogies that work beautifully in all international school contexts.

  • Be involved in practical and relevant workshops for primary/elementary and secondary, led by experienced international school music educators who truly understand this unique context.


  • Meet like-minded international school music educators to build your network.

  • Share ideas, best practice & resources with other international school music educators.

  • Check out this information pack with hotel recommendations and guidance for transportation to/around Japan (to be updated as we get closer to the event date!).

If you have any questions about the event, please email:

An immersive, practical and inspiring weekend!

"What’s been so fun and refreshing is just being in a room full of music educators and actually making music together” - Fiona Belfakih - Shen Wai International School, Shenzhen.

Meet your conference guides

With a PhD in the field of cultural diversity in music education, many years of experience teaching music in international schools, and presentations at over 50 conferences around the world, Dr. Jennifer Walden has mastered the craft of engaging teachers and students in musical activities that span many cultures and generations. Her approach is truly global, teaching culturally diverse understanding, awareness, and appreciation through music.

Jennifer is an accredited 'World Music Pedagogy' leader through the Smithsonian Institution.   

Taiwan was Jennifer’s first international school experience – it continued with Colombia, Syria, Malaysia, Singapore, the Netherlands, Canada, Venezuela, and the Dominican Republic.

Anna Gower is an international school music educator with a wealth of experience as a teacher, adviser, project manager, academic and strategic leader.

Anna provides strategic and pedagogical leadership for the development of informal and aural music learning approaches for Musical Futures International.

Most recently she has worked with teachers and educators in the UK, Australia, New Zealand, Dubai, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore and China delivering practical workshops and in-school consultancy.

Anna is also currently classroom music teacher, working at St Andrews International School, Bangkok.

Chris Koelma is an expert in the field of international school music education. His current PhD research explores the unique world of international schooling through teachers' experiences in the field. Chris is the director of Music Teachers In International Schools (MTIIS) and runs a digital platform for orchestra music called Beginner Orchestra.

Chris has worked as Head of Music in international schools in Argentina and Malaysia and now specialises in providing support to international school music teachers in through-school curriculum planning, music technology and electronic music performance and production.

Book your place at the conference:

Canadian Academy, Kobe, Japan (see map)
27th & 28th January 2024
9:00am - 4:00pm (both days)
$300USD per person
Includes snacks, lunch and a massive resource pack!

The Big Gig FAQ's - Accomodation, inclusions and more

Is this conference for international school teachers only?

No. Any music teacher who feels they would benefit from the content presented in this workshop may choose to attend.

Can all music teachers join this conference?

Yes, this workshop will suit ALL music teachers working with students from K-13. Content will cover elementary, middle school and high school settings and there will be lots on offer over the weekend!

Do I need to bring an instrument?

You are more than welcome to bring your preferred instrument to the conference! If not, you are welcome to use the instruments available at Canadian Academy.

What do I do if I need to make a change to my booking/registration?

Please contact our team at to discuss any changes to your booking.

Please also re-read the Terms & Conditions to check how changes to your booking may impact you.

What is/isn't included in my registration fee?

Your registration fee includes two full days of practical workshops between 9:00am - 4:00pm. It also includes snacks, refreshments and lunch on both days.

Your registration fee does not include accomodation, transport (flights/taxis etc.) or any other expenses associated with the conference.

What are the best accomodation options nearby?

There are two hotels options nearby:

  • Hotel Plaza Kobe:
  • Kobe Bay Sheraton Hotel & Towers:

Click here to learn more about the
Music Teachers In International Schools community.