Hello again! When I stepped down from the MT editor's chair three years ago I certainly did not expect to be returning, but it has given me great pleasure to put together this issue of the magazine and do some future planning while a successor was found for Christopher Walters. I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate Chris on all that he has achieved on maintaining Music Teacher's position as the leading journal for the music education sector, while developing its influence in other arenas, most notably with the hugely successful Music Education Expo at the Barbican in March.
Rhinegold Publishing is pleased to announce that the new permanent editor of MT will be
Thomas Lydon, who worked on the magazine as assistant editor for a short time a few years ago. Since then he has been assistant editor of Classical Music magazine and then the national charity the Art Fund, where he has been working on the Art Quarterly and also developing their online resources. Tom is also an experienced composer, singer, choral conductor, examiner and adjudicator and we are sure that under his leadership MT will continue to be a vital resource for music teachers, whatever context they are working in, and to provide a valuable forum for debate.
Holding the fort is what all too many music teachers find themselves doing at the moment, whether they are coming to the end of the challenging first year of working in a music education hub, struggling to maintain the quality of their music departments with reduced funding, or suffering a drop in private pupil numbers as a result of the recession. If you are feeling overwhelmed by these or similar issues, Bill C Martin, former education manager of Yamaha, may be able to help; find out how on page 43. Or perhaps a larger group of colleagues will provide you with the support you need; in this Vocal and Choral special issue we look at the work of the Voices Foundation, which has been helping primary school teachers to deliver a music curriculum for 20 years, and preview the myriad of workshops, masterclasses and performances that will be taking place at this year’s convention of the Association of British Choral Directors taking place in Oxford at the end of August.
No doubt many of you are feeling overwhelmed by the continuing revelations about sexual, psychological and in some cases even physical abuse of students at specialist music schools (See News, page 9 for a brief update). Police investigations into allegations relating to Chetham’s and the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester are ongoing and Sussex Police have now been invited to look at the Yehudi Menuhin School following allegations made by former pupils in a Channel 4 news report that included a contribution from Nigel Kennedy, recalling how inappropriate behaviour of some tutors towards their students was common knowledge in his time. While these and other emerging scandals are deeply damaging for the music teaching profession, we must congratulate people like pianists Martin Roscoe and Ian Pace who have had the courage to stand up to those who would turn a blind eye to such situations, and hope that those victims who have come forward to testify to the abuse they endured will find the support, catharsis and healing they deserve.
In contrast it was deeply moving to share in the tributes paid by the Royal Philharmonic Society (RPS) in its bicentenary year to five music educators who have used their influence for the good and made a positive and long-lasting difference in the lives of children and young people around the world. The society’s rare honorary fellowships were bestowed on Rosemary Nalden, the British violist who founded and still directs Buskaid and Soweto Strings; Ricardo Castro, of Brazil’s Neojiba project; Aaron P Dworkin of the Sphinx organisation in the USA; Ahmad Samast of Afganistan’s National Institute of Music in Kabul; and Armand Diangienda who has founded a symphony orchestra and choir in the Congo at the annual RPS Awards Dinner, where films about their work were received by the great and the good of the classical music world with awe and admiration. Find out more about them on the RPS website (www.royalphilharmonicsociety.org.uk /music transforms lives). In a world that is too often full of darkness, they are beacons to us all.