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Yorkshire Libraries and Information Music and Drama Service faces closure

3 November 2011

The country’s largest music and drama lending library is facing closure because of a lack of money. The Yorkshire Libraries and Information Music and Drama Service, which is based in Wakefield, contains more than half a million scores and 90,000 scripts.

Twelve local authorities currently subscribe to the service - Barnsley, Bradford, Calderdale, Doncaster, East Riding of Yorkshire, Kirklees, Leeds, North Yorkshire, Rotherham, Sheffield, Wakefield and York - enabling local music and drama groups to enjoy subsidised loans of materials. But they says they 'are no longer able to bridge the gap between income and expenditure' and therefore support the decision to end the service. The Library also has problems with its building and an enforced move to new premises would further add to the shortfall.

There are now plans to either divide the collection across sub-regional library authorities, or gifting the collection, or parts of the collection, to other authorities, institutions or groups. Robin Osterley, chief executive of Making Music, said, 'The rule among choirs all over the country is try your local library first, then Wakefield. It will be devastating if that ceases to be the case.'

Youth Music launches new funding model

3 November 2011

Youth Music has launched its new funding model with the aim of supporting 'organisations aiming to make a real difference, helping children and young people with least opportunities develop and progress in and through music making.'

As before, the Youth Music's funding is based on grants, with most funding available through an open access approach. Now, those seeking funding can apply via the Youth Music Network website. The new funding model, entitled the Youth Music Programme, comprises a new knowledge-sharing network and grants programme.

All information on applying for funding from the Youth Music Programme can be found on the Youth Music Network site: www.youthmusic.org.uk/network

Academics at University of East Anglia recommend closure of university's School of Music

1 November 2011

A panel of senior academics at the University of East Anglia (UEA) in Norwich has recommended the closure of the University’s School of Music. The vice-chancellor, Professor Edward Acton, has accepted the report and the recommendation that will be put to the university's governing council is that UEA should stop offering music as an academic discipline once current students have completed their degrees.

A UEA spokesman said, 'At a time when every university is facing difficult decisions about how best to prioritise its investments, the panel believes that the School of Music cannot meet the scale of the demands now being made on universities.

'The School of Music’s ability to earn research funding is of particular concern, in the light of funding changes to universities. The review also notes that it would be difficult to grow student numbers within the school saying it would require the university to divert resources from, and possibly put at risk, other disciplines.'

Professor Acton added, 'What makes this position especially painful is the knowledge of the school’s fine achievements, the quality and passion of its staff under successive leaders and the pride and affection of cohorts of alumni,' said Professor Acton.

'Whatever Council may decide, we are determined to ensure that current students in the school are strongly supported and are able to complete their studies successfully. We also remain committed to music as a vital aspect of the social and cultural life of the university and to the continuation of the flourishing choirs and orchestras which are central to that work.'

The recommendations will be taken to the University’s Senate on 9 November 2011, and the final decision on the future of the School of Music rests with Council which meets on 28 November.

Registry of Guitar Tutors launches new rock guitar exams

1 November 2011

A new series of specialist rock guitar graded exams has been released by the Registry of Guitars Tutors (RGT) to help students gain accredited qualifications for performing popular rock guitar tracks in specially-crafted arrangements. They have been designed by the RGT to 'suit the technical level of each grade while retaining the authenticity of the song'.

Early grade pieces include Smoke On The Water, Smells Like Teen Spirit, All Right Now and Paranoid, while intermediate grade songs include Layla, The Boys Are Back In Town and All Along The Watchtower. Advanced grades include tracks by Led Zeppelin, Santana, Steve Vai, Korn, System of a Down and Avenged Sevenfold.

The exams also include aural tests and improvisation which focuses on the core lead and rhythm playing skills required by rock guitarist.

RGT exams director Tony Skinner said, 'The new rock guitar exams are in addition to RGT’s existing and very popular electric guitar exams. They are not replacing them but provide an alternative for those who want to specialise in rock guitar.

'Guitar teachers and students who’ve heard about the new exams seem very excited by the prospect of being able to play such a great choice of classic rock tracks as part of their RGT exam.'

The Registry of Guitar Tutors was founded in 1992 and is the world’s largest organisation of guitar teachers as well as being the UK’s only specialist guitar examination body. RGT offers exams in electric guitar, rock guitar, jazz guitar, acoustic guitar, bass guitar, classical guitar and popular music theory. Exams take place in the UK and in more than 30 countries across the world.

A series of course handbooks has been produced by RGT to help students prepare for the exams. These are available from www.BooksForGuitar.com while a free exam information booklet can be downloaded from www.RGT.org or obtained by ringing 01424 222222.

Auditions open for new Welsh choir Only Kids Aloud

25 October 2011

Auditions have begun in Wales this week for a new children’s choir, run by Tim Rhys-Evans, musical director of the men's choir Only Men Aloud, which won the BBC's Last Choir Standing in 2008. The group, which will be called Only Kids Aloud, will perform with the Russian Mariinsky Opera at the Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff, next April. Auditions for nine- to 13-year-olds will be held throughout the principality.

Choir director Tim Rhys-Evans said: 'This is a chance for children from all across the country to experience and be involved in this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.' The new project follows the recent success of Only Boys Aloud, a choir of teenage boys from the south Wales valleys. The new choir will appear with the orchestra, chorus and soloists of the Mariinsky Opera, formerly known as the Kirov, and join forces for a performance of Mahler's Symphony No 8 - Symphony of a Thousand – under Valery Gergiev at the Wales Millennium Centre on 1 April next year. The successful singers will be coached by members of Only Men Aloud in the months leading up to the performance

'This is a unique opportunity for children right across Wales, from all backgrounds, to be involved in an extraordinary project with one of the most prominent international conductors and orchestras in the world,' said Mr Rhys-Evans, who added that he would like to 'inspire a new generation of singers'.

For more details contact the Wales Millennium Centre on 029 2063 6450 or email education@wmc.org.uk.

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