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One in four adults keen to learn a musical instrument, NIACE survey reveals

5 May 2015

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Almost a quarter of adults would like to learn a musical instrument, according to a survey by the National Institute of Adult Continuing Education (NIACE).

In the run-up to its Festival of Learning, which takes place throughout May and June, NIACE asked 1,018 adults which skills they would be most interested in learning.

Learning to play a musical instrument was the second most popular answer, cited by 23 per cent of respondents. The top answer was baking, chosen by 39 per cent.

Fifty per cent of the respondents polled said they would be prepared to take up a course to enable them to improve their skills, with 60 per cent of 25 to 34 year olds interested in taking up a course.

Singing was chosen by 17 per cent of respondents. Other areas of interest included photography, languages and dance.

David Hughes, chief executive of NIACE, said: ‘All of the top skills people would love to learn most are about people expressing themselves, who they are, what they stand for.

‘The confidence learning those skills brings is crucial for everyone in life and in work. That’s why we will continue to campaign for lifelong learning to be truly accessible for everyone.’

Paul McManus, chief executive Music for All, said: ‘We know that making music enriches and changes lives. You are never too old to start to learn (or return to playing) an instrument.’

The Festival of Learning started on 1 May and culminates in Adult Learners’ Week on 13-19 June.

NYCGB announces new summer festival

1 May 2015, Katy Wright

The National Youth Choirs of Great Britain have announced the biggest youth choir festival in the UK, the NYCGB Summerfest, in an effort to bring choral music to new listeners.

The inaugural Summerfest will take place 1 July-29 August 2012, with over 500 young singers performing in seven counties over two months. Under 25s will be able to purchase £5 tickets for many events.

The festival is part of NYCGB's expansion of its regional engagement work, with new partnerships in Suffolk, Manchester, Leeds, Lincolnshire and Nottinghamshire beginning in 2015. The series of concerts aim to target areas of low choral engagement in the UK through partnerships with local music education hubs.

Summerfest opens with a Shakespeare-inspired programme in Southwark Cathedral on 1st July, with the National Youth Chamber Choir and the National Youth Jazz Orchestra performing works by Vaughan Williams, Ward Swingle, and Nils Lindberg, as well as the premiere of Pete Churchill's Journey's End.

Two other premieres, Nico Muhly's settings of poetry by Robert Louis Stevenson and Jonathan Dove's Antiphon (setting text by George Herbert, commissioned by NYCGB) will be performed by the National Youth Girls' Choir and the National Youth Chamber Choir on 22nd August in Oxford's Sheldonian Theatre.

The National Youth Choir will make its Snape Proms debut on Friday 28th August with a programme inspired by the four elements. Ranging from Brumel to John Casken, the concert will include Anders Edenroth's Water, written for the choir.

NYCGB director Ben Parry said: 'NYCGB is passionate about getting as many people as possible in the UK to experience great choral music. Summer festivals are synonymous with openness, inclusivity and an enjoyable atmosphere. By creating NYCGB Summerfest, we aim to raise awareness of NYCGB’s work around the UK, to encourage an ever wider audience to experience choral music, and to inspire the next generation of choral singers.'

The National Youth Choirs of Great Britain is comprised of five choirs, made up of 750 singers aged between 9 and 25. The organisation aims to foster musical talent through teaching and guidance, providing opportunities to young people from all communities and backgrounds.

National Youth Choirs of Great Britain

Schools receive donated instruments after Don't Stop the Music campaign

1 May 2015

Primary schools across the UK have received £1m worth of donated musical instruments thanks to a campaign led by pianist James Rhodes.
Rhodes launched the Don’t Stop the Music campaign last year to encourage the British public to donate their unwanted musical instruments to local Oxfam stores.

His efforts were filmed for a two-part Channel 4 documentary, Don’t Stop the Music, which was broadcast in September.

The campaign resulted in the donation of 6,500 instruments, which have now been delivered by parcel carrier Yodel to 170 primary schools across the country.

Don’t Stop the Music was supported by celebrities including Paul McCartney, Jessie J, Damon Albarn, Tom Jones, Tinie Tempah and Ronnie Wood.
Rhodes said: ‘Young children have a hunger and thirst to learn music and we must give every child the opportunity to learn a musical instrument. 

‘The campaign has helped make this a reality for thousands of kids up and down the country.’
Lin Phillips, headteacher of Falconbrook Primary School in Battersea, London, which received some of the instruments, commented: ‘Thanks to the brilliant Don’t Stop the Music campaign, we have started a new band which gives the children another opportunity to play in assemblies and concerts.

‘I’d like to thank all those who donated instruments, as well as James Rhodes, Yodel and all those who made the amnesty happen. You’ve helped change lives and your instruments have gone to a fantastic new home.’


Youth music in Birmingham receives funding boost

30 April 2015, Katy Wright

The National Foundation for Youth Music has awarded mac birmingham £153k for 2015, with further grants of £292k to be made over the following two years.

The ‘mac makes music’ programme offers workshops in music technology, song writing, ensembles and performance for children and young people who may not otherwise have access to such experiences. The programme aims to nurture talent and raise aspirations in young people.

Matt Griffiths, chief executive officer of Youth Music, said: ’We’re really delighted to be working with mac birmingham as one of our strategic partners to deliver an exciting programme of music-making opportunities for children and young people in Birmingham and surrounding areas. These three-year grants will really help to develop and sustain music-making locally, taking our investment in the West Midlands to £776,500 in this funding round.’

The charity has awarded grants to 80 music organisations around the country and currently supports over 400 projects.

Youth Music

LSO On Track to perform in Trafalgar Square

30 April 2015, Katy Wright

Kevin Leighton

Young musicians from the London Symphony Orchestra's On Track programme will perform in Trafalgar Square in a high-profile concert on 17 May.

Those participating in the On Track scheme will join members of the LSO and musicians from the Guildhall School for performances of Shostakovich's Jazz Suites (arranged by Gareth Glyn).

LSO On Track is an initiative in which young instrumentalists from East London receive coaching from LSO musicians. The scheme is a partnership with the music services of 10 London boroughs: Barking & Dagenham, Bexley, Greenwich, Hackney, Havering, Lewisham, Newham, Redbridge, Tower Hamlets, and Waltham Forest.

The all-Shostakovich programme also includes the composer's Festive Overture and Symphony No 1, with Valery Gergiev conducting the LSO. Violinist Nicola Benedetti will perform movements from Shostakovich's first violin concerto.

Munira Mirza, deputy mayor for education and culture, said: 'I am delighted to welcome the LSO to Trafalgar Square for what has become a much-loved event in London’s musical calendar. This year promises to be another unforgettable event with the LSO playing with their talented young musicians and guest soloist Nicola Benedetti, a young talent herself and Ambassador to the Mayor’s Music Fund. I am deeply committed to championing music and music education and I look forward to the LSO and their aspiring young musicians sharing this free concert with Londoners.'

The performance will begin at 6.30, but it is recommended to arrive at least an hour early. For further details, click here.

LSO On Track

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