Tenor Alfie Boe becomes patron of Blackburn with Darwen music education hub
24 April 2015
NYO launches new Inspire Orchestra to encourage participation in music
23 April 2015
The National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain (NYO) has created a new orchestra that will tour the UK encouraging schoolchildren from all backgrounds to connect with classical music.
The NYO Inspire Orchestra will consist of young musicians who have taken part in the NYO Inspire project, which gives school pupils the chance to take part in Inspire Days (one-day workshops with NYO musicians and tutors) and Inspire Ensembles (three-day residencies).
Now, for the first time, NYO is introducing a full orchestra to the project.
The orchestra will meet for the first time in Manchester at the end of June for a five-day residential rehearsal period under the leadership of Duncan Ward before touring to secondary schools in north-west England between 2 and 6 July.
The 70 teenage musicians selected to take part will perform in schools across the region, including those in communities where young people have had little or no chance to enjoy classical music.
Sarah Alexander, chief executive of the NYO, said: ‘Music provision in the UK is patchy and we at NYO see the results of this every year.
‘Many brilliant teenage musicians struggle to gain a place in NYO not through lack of talent or commitment, but simply because they have had so little opportunity to develop their ensemble performance skills. NYO Inspire is targeted directly at these musicians.’
Music Mark introduces membership category for schools
22 April 2015
Music Mark, the national association for music education, has created a new membership category for schools.
Membership of the association was previously limited to music services and individual members including classroom and instrumental teachers, consultants, advisers, inspectors and lecturers in initial teacher education.
The new schools category has been developed in partnership with the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music (ABRSM). The potential benefits of membership are set out on the Music Mark website here.
It is the latest development in a strategic partnership between the two organisations, which collaborated in 2014 to produce a series of roadshows for music teachers.
Jem Shuttleworth, general manager of Music Mark, said: ‘All of our members recognise the value of music and its positive contribution to a broad, balanced and relevant curriculum.
‘We are delighted to now be able to support the existing and developing partnerships that many schools have with their local music services as well as providing easy access to our members’ expertise, experience and extensive knowledge of music education.’
Lincoln Abbotts, director of strategic development at ABRSM, said: ‘This is a strategic partnership putting young people at the centre – we all care about supporting and inspiring the next generation of performers, teachers, leaders and advocates.
‘A more joined-up approach to music making – in and out of school – leads to a better outcome for children and young people.’
Membership is now open and schools can join through their local music service.
Music teacher Judith Kleinman launches Chairs for Children campaign
21 April 2015
A double bass player and teacher at the Junior Royal Academy of Music is heading a campaign for schools to provide children with more comfortable chairs.
Judith Kleinman, who is also a qualified Alexander Technique teacher, launched the Chairs for Children campaign after noticing that many of her students were complaining of back pain.
Backed by the Society of Teachers of the Alexander Technique (STAT), the campaign is calling for changes to the European standard, which allows school chairs to slope backwards by five degrees.
The STAT says backward-sloping chairs encourage children to adopt poor posture, increasing the risk of back pain during their school years and later in life.
An online petition calling for the regulations to be changed says: ‘As poor postural habits are a root cause of back and neck pain, continuing to allow school chairs to slope backwards will, without doubt, escalate back problems among today’s schoolchildren and for generations to come.
‘We believe that the effects of such a seemingly innocuous object on the health of our children and future generations should be researched further and reviewed.’
She studied Alexander Technique with Patrick MacDonald and Shoshana Kamanitz and is an assistant director at the London Centre for Alexander Technique and Training.
Kleinman said: ‘Some of my students find it very difficult to sit or stand for more than a few minutes. They’re restless and exhausted.
‘We’re really letting young people down by not recognising the long-term harm caused by a backward-sloping chair.’
Don’t Stop the Music taken on by industry bodies
20 April 2015
James Rhodes: ‘Don’t Stop the Music gave me sleepless nights’Channel 4
The Incorporated Society of Musicians (ISM) and Music Industries Association (MIA) have announced they will ‘work in association’ on the Don’t Stop the Music campaign, which launched last year alongside a Channel 4 documentary featuring pianist James Rhodes.
The campaign aims to improve music teaching in schools and last year ran a musical instrument amnesty to coincide with the television broadcast.
Rhodes said of the campaign and its development: ‘The findings from the initial stages of Don’t Stop the Music gave me sleepless nights. Music education is in desperate need of support from the government, and with May’s election fast approaching, it is important that music education is not forgotten by whoever forms the next government. I am delighted that the ISM, in association with MIA, has agreed to become an integral part of this campaign.’
The report following Ofsted’s recent consultation on its proposals for inspection reform – which will be implemented from September – noted responses from ‘many parents and others’ received as a direct result of the campaign, all calling for a specific focus on music. It said: ‘Ofsted cannot commit to focusing inspection disproportionately on an individual subject. However, we agree with the broader point that inspection must take account of whether schools offer a broad, balanced and relevant curriculum … we will consider the breadth and balance of a provider’s curriculum under the effectiveness of leadership and management judgement.’
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