Tower Hamlets schools set for Spitalfields Music's Takeover Spring Festival
23 March 2015
Three schools in Tower Hamlets will be bursting with music, art installations, activities and performances this week thanks to a project run by local charity Spitalfields Music.
The Takeover Spring Festival has given Year 3 pupils the chance to work alongside a team of professional artists to programme, produce and perform in their own day-long arts festivals.
The project is part of Spitalfields Music’s Neighbourhood Schools programme and involves three Tower Hamlets primary schools: Stewart Headlam, Osmani and The Cherry Trees. The three projects have been running simultaneously throughout the spring term and will culminate in a three-day mini festival on 24-27 March.
The Takeover Spring Festival is the latest in a series of Takeover projects run by Spitalfields Music in Tower Hamlets primary schools since 2013. The initiatives are specifically devised for children starting Key Stage 2 and aim to explore new ways of working with schools.
Clare Lovett, programme director for learning and participation at Spitalfields Music, said: ‘Spitalfields Music’s long-term ambitions is to encourage others to take up this challenge and see how they could deliver this way of working in their own towns, villages and cities.
‘We believe that the extraordinary work occurring in Tower Hamlets deserves a national platform.’
New courses at University of Huddersfield and Colchester Institute
19 March 2015
Two UK educational institutions have introduced new music courses designed to appeal to students who wish to specialise in different aspects of music study.
The University of Huddersfield is launching two specialist courses in September 2015: a BMus (Hons) in Music Performance and a BMus (Hons) in Popular Music. The courses will run alongside the university’s existing BMus course, which typically takes 70 students per year.
The performance course will aim to recruit exceptional performers on any instrument or voice, whether from a classical or pop background, while the popular music course is aimed at musicians who want to focus on the creative, cultural and practical aspects of pop.
Meanwhile, the Colchester Institute’s BA (Hons) in Music Education has been designed for students looking to develop a musical career with a clear focus on teaching.
The course was first run in 2014 but the institute is now looking to expand it and is welcoming applications.
The programme examines education in both the private and public sectors, with modules in one-to-one teaching, workshop skills and leadership as well as classroom teaching, educational theory and practice.
Julian Lloyd Webber appointed principal of Birmingham Conservatoire
19 March 2015
Julian Lloyd Webber has been appointed as the new principal of Birmingham Conservatoire.
The cellist and music educator, 64, who announced last year that he would give up playing the cello because of a neck injury, will succeed David Saint, who is due to retire in April.
He will take up the new position as work gets under way on a new home for the conservatoire on the city centre campus of Birmingham City University, its parent organisation.
Lloyd Webber said: ‘I am honoured and thrilled to be chosen as the new principal of Birmingham Conservatoire. The state-of-the-art facilities being built within Birmingham City University’s superb campus will be second to none and superior to many, both throughout the UK and beyond.
‘I am especially excited about the fantastic opportunities that will be on offer to our students.’
Lloyd Webber is one of the UK’s best-known classical artists. He performed at the closing ceremony of the London 2012 Olympics and last year received the Incorporated Society of Musicians’ annual Distinguished Musician Award.
He has also been heavily involved in music education initiatives, including the government’s In Harmony programme and Sistema England.
Cliff Allan, vice chancellor of Birmingham City University, said: ‘Julian’s appointment is great news for the conservatoire as it looks forward to moving to a superb new home, as well as for Birmingham City University and for the whole city.
‘Julian has had an extraordinary career as a performer and recording artist, working with some of the great names in music. Just as importantly, he has shown a lifetime passion for musical education, making him the perfect appointment for Birmingham City University.’
Clint Boon and others celebrate Access to Music's new Manchester base
18 March 2015
Indie musician Clint Boon, The Smiths drummer Mike Joyce and Coronation Street actor Dean Fagan were among the guests at the official opening of a new music college in Manchester last week.
Access to Music Manchester is a £1m facility located in the former Jilly’s Rockworld and Music Box nightclubs on Oxford Street. The college will train around 150 students on a range of courses including music performance, music technology and music business, with a course in creative media being launched in September 2015.
The new centre, which replaces Access to Music’s former site in the city’s Northern Quarter, has a suite of rehearsal rooms, a full-size recording studio, classrooms and a dedicated 100-seat performance space.
The buildings, which hosted gigs by bands such as Joy Division and Depeche Mode in the 1970s and 1980s, are now owned by developer Bruntwood.
Boon, who has been made patron of Access to Music Manchester, said: “It’s brilliant to see a building that had such a rich musical heritage transformed into a state-of-the-art training centre, where new generations of talent can craft their musical skills.
“I am still learning about music – especially new digital technology – and therefore hope that as patron, I can not only share my musical experiences and knowledge but also learn from the new talent.”
Established in 1992, Access to Music provides courses covering all aspects of the music industry, using a curriculum developed in partnership with Rockschool, the accredited provider of rock music exams.
Access to Music has nine other sites around the UK and its graduates include Ed Sheeran and Rita Ora.
U-turn from Ousedale School on preferential places for musical children
16 March 2015
A school in Milton Keynes has reversed its plans to give preferential school places to musical children following a campaign from local parents.
In February, Ousedale School in Newport Pagnell proposed that from September 2016 it would select 10 per cent of new pupils on the basis that they had passed a Grade 2 exam in a bowed, stringed, brass, woodwind, keyboard or percussion instrument.
But local parents said it was unfair that non-catchment children who played a musical instrument would be given preference over other children living in the catchment area. They formed two Facebook groups and started a petition that gathered more than 350 signatures.
Local councillor David Hosking told the Milton Keynes Citizen: ‘This is unfair on children who are not musical. It means a child in the catchment area could be forced to travel up to 15 miles to another school while a musical child from out of catchment takes their place.’
Following a meeting last week, the school announced that it had dropped the controversial policy. Music Teacher contacted Ousedale School but no one was available for comment.
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