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Latest News

Youth Music appoints new executive director

23 April 2012

Matt Griffiths, the executive director of Plymouth Music Zone, a community music organisation, has been appointed executive director of Youth Music. He starts the job at the beginning of June.

'I'm delighted and honoured to lead Youth Music in the next stage of its development,' he said. 'The charity has a successful track record in creating music-making opportunities, particularly for children and young people in the most challenging circumstances, as well as supporting a national community of music education practice and expertise. I'm looking forward to working with the team to build on this firm foundation and ensure that participation in music continues to be for the many and not just the few.'

Speaking on behalf of Youth Music’s Board, chairman Richard Stilgoe said, 'Music can move from sad to happy by a simple change from minor to major. So while we are sad that Christina Coker has decided to move on, we are very happy that Matt has agreed to come on board to make sure that Youth Music continues to build on firm foundations and drive forward the next stage of its charitable work.'

Youth Music has also appointed Angela Linton as Operations Director. She moves from The Sorrell Foundation.


Live Music Act becomes law

23 April 2012

The Live Music Act - which will remove much of the paperwork attached to performances in smaller venues, including schools - has now become law.

Venues which hold fewer than 200 people will no longer need local-authority permission for music performances between the hours of 8am and 11pm, with no capacity limit where the music is not amplified. The act comes into force on 1 October.

Welcoming the news, Jo Dipple of UK Music, the umbrella organisation for the UK music industry, said: 'For a Private Member’s Bill to receive Royal Assent is a monumental achievement, even more so for one that is introduced in the House Of Lords. This has happened only five times in the past decade. The assent of today’s act is the result of a dogged commitment to musicians combined with outstanding parliamentary skills. UK Music thanks Lord Clement-Jones and Don Foster MP for their work.'

UK Music was one of the organisations which campaigned for the change. Dipple added: 'The global success of our industry is dependent on a flourishing network of small venues, where tomorrow’s headliners can learn their craft and develop their career. Allowing these venues the freedom to host live music is a huge boost for British artists and means more opportunities for developing talent, as well as enriching our local communities and the economy overall.'

John Smith, general secretary of the Musician’s Union, said he would like to thank all of the MPs and Lords who have been involved in the process.

'The MU has been lobbying for changes to the Licensing Act for many years now, and this exemption is fantastic news for musicians and will be a real boost for live music,' said Smith. 'We look forward to the implementation of the act later this year and we will be working with the government to ensure that the act has maximum impact.'

School choirs invited to participate in worldwide recording

23 April 2012

Schools and youth choirs around the world are being encouraged to create their own recordings of a new song for inclusion in a mass worldwide recording to be released as a single in December.

The song, entitled Voices around the World, has been written by UK singer-songwriter Howard Jones. Vocals, choir parts and backing music are all available free of charge at www.wave7music.co.uk.

Grazebrook Primary School in Hackney, London has already begun rehearsals. 'Being part of a global recording is incredibly exciting for us all,' said headteacher Michelle Thomas. 'It's a thrilling collaboration and we can't wait to hear the mass recording, knowing that we’re a part of it.'

The song, explains Jones, 'is about the potential within all of us to create our own unique future, and taking on the responsibility for the happiness of ourselves and our fellow human beings.'

The International Primary Curriculum and the British Council are also involved, and are encouraging their associate schools around the world to participate. Organiser Laurie Lewin says: 'It's a collaborative project on a global scale aimed at linking the voices of young people everywhere.'

Recordings need to be submitted by 18 July and the song can be heard at www.youtube.com/watch?v=mWnnHj8OgPY

BBC Inspire runs first composer lab for teachers

5 April 2012

The BBC Proms Inspire team has run its first ever Teacher Composer Lab. The day was based on the BBC’s Composer Labs which offer 12 to 18 year olds the opportunity to work alongside established composers and professional musicians from the BBC’s six performing groups in a day of music-making, exploration and discovery.

Held at Dr Challoner’s High School in Little Chalfont, Buckinghamshire, the Lab was led by composers Fraser Trainer and Stuart MacRae, and was designed to help teachers broaden and explore their compositional teaching skills. Both men are judges at this year’s Young Composers’ Competition.

Depending on feedback from the pilot session, Teacher Labs could be run around the country next year.

The closing date for the 2012 Inspire Young Composers’ Competition is May 28. More details are available at the website.


Rockschool announces specialist syllabus for guitar, bass and drums

3 April 2012

Rockschool, Europe’s leading rock exam board, has launched a new syllabus for guitar, bass and drums, with bespoke pieces from specialist writers.  The syllabus features Grammy award-winning guitarist Larry Carlton and session percussionist Nir Z, whose credits include Genesis, Chris Cornell and John Mayer. 

A Rockschool spokesman says that producer Nick Davis, who has worked with Genesis, Deep Purple and Bjork, has helped achieve stylistic authenticity by using top session musicians: 'The overall final result is commercial quality recordings that deliver the best production values and tracks to learn and play along to'.

Musicians used on the tracks include drummers Noam Lederman and Jason Bowld, guitarists Charlie Griffiths and Stuart Ryan and bass players Henry Thomas and Dave Marks. Other contributors include guitarist Kit Morgan, of Curved Air, Peter Huntingdon, an occasional drummer with the Who, and sound designer and hip hop drum specialist Neel Dhorajiwala, as well as Colin Wollway and Deirdre Cartwright.

In preparation for the launch, Rockschool talked to students and teachers and used their comments as a guide to developing the syllabus, which 'represents an accumulation of more than 20 years’ experience in the design and delivery of graded examinations in popular music all around the world.'

There are a number of new features and refinements, including a revised marking scheme which should make it easier to understand, and help to improve quality and consistency.

The syllabus has been designed to recognise that performers often want to concentrate on a particular musical genre and thus allows a high degree of flexibility in musical choice. All the supporting test and exercises are designed to support a candidate’s musical skills, enabling them to approach the performance pieces with confidence, as well as providing many of the tools needed for improvisation.

'As students move through the grades, developing a greater sense of style and taste, a greater degree of choice and specialism is available - reflecting the realities of how pop musicians learn, perform and progress,' said the spokesman.


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