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Singers wanted for Kings Place performance

26 March 2010

Contemporary Music-making for Amateurs (CoMA)  is looking for singers for a COMA Voices performance at King's Place, near King's Cross, London. Partipants will join CoMA London Ensemble in a concert of Irish and American pieces commissioned by CoMA. They will be singing Stephen Montague's Chorale for the Cauldrons of Hell, written in 2005 from his experience of visiting the Auschwitz/Birkenau concentration camps in the seventies. It is a powerful and emotional piece. There will be three rehearsals: Saturday 17 April 14:00 to 17:00 and Tuesday 20 April 20:00 to 21:30 at St Leonard's Church, Shoreditch and at 17:00 on Thursday 22 April before the concert at 19:45.

There will be no cost to participate in this event, though singers will be expected to be members of CoMA (£20 per year, £10 concessions).

To book a place, contact Mick Kahn, Co-ordinator of CoMA Voices at coma-voices@downham.org.uk or 020 7249 5139.

Newham aims to make every child a musician

24 March 2010

The London Borough of Newham is to provide two years' free music lessons and an instrument for all pupils entering Year 5 in September 2010. The scheme, called 'Every Child a Musician', will initially reach nearly 4,000 pupils from 67 schools in Newham. Unusually, they will be allowed to keep their instruments at the end of the two-year period. Newham, where two-thirds of the London Olympics and Paralympics will take place, is also the only London borough to be piloting free school meals for all primary school pupils, in order to encourage youngsters to eat more healthily. It is investing £1.5m to launch 'Every Child a Musician', which will include teaching the children to read music and to play an instrument. Up to now, Newham parents have had to pay part of the cost of their children's instrumental lessons, currently priced at £42 per term for a half-hour lesson in a group of three or four. Instruments can be hired for £12 per term.

The new scheme is about opening access to music and breaking down barriers, something young people from more affluent backgrounds take for granted, said Sir Robin Wales, Mayor of Newham. 'Music should be about access for all, not just those who can afford it. It has the power to enrich, uplift and even transform people's lives. However, for children from poorer backgrounds, this can be impossible. For many nationally the price of instruments and tuition is prohibitive and provision in schools can be limited and patchy. That is not the case in Newham.

'For centuries London's East End has been one of the poorest areas in Europe,' Sir Robin added. 'We all have to get more real about balancing east and west London and offering our residents the same opportunities as anywhere else in the capital. Nothing less will do. We are using the excitement of the Olympic games to boost the aspirations of young people locally. This scheme has been inspired by the Simon Bolivar Orchestra who set the Royal Albert Hall alight during the BBC Proms a few years ago.'

Every Child a Musician is supported by cellist Julian Lloyd Webber, the government's participation director Richard Hallam, and Tony Hall, chief executive of the Royal Opera House and chair of the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad Board. 'We would love to have some Newham pupils from this scheme go on to perform on the stages of the biggest abnnd best concert halls one day. All pupils from whatever background deserve the same success. Talent is all - but it needs to be nurtured and developed.'

Brass quintet serenades RWCMD construction workers

24 March 2010

Royal Welsh College brass band quintet Castle Brass are the first performers to play in what will be the college’s new Concert Hall. The quirky lunchtime concert entertained Willmott Dixon builders while they worked to ensure the building is completed for early 2011.

‘Being the first ensemble to play on the Royal Welsh College's new concert hall stage was a privilege for us as a brass quintet,’ said band member Gareth Robinson. ‘Castle Brass has been together for 18 months and this has been one of our most exciting gigs yet. Playing in front of a group of builders in the outdoors was a very different but enjoyable experience for us too! We were proud to represent the college by performing at this new venue and hope we get the chance to do so again soon.’ Fellow Castle Brass player Sion Tansley added, ’It was great to play at the heart of the building and even at this early stage we can imagine what it will be like to perform there when it's finished.’

‘It was fantastic for the construction team on site to have a taste of the work that goes on within the college and we all enjoyed the performance,’ said Alan Pitman, Operations Manager for Willmott Dixon. ‘Work has been developing well on site and we have already made significant progress on the concert hall. The groundwork is finished and we have completed the exterior drum of the concert hall and theatre. We are now progressing with internal works where the acting and movement studios will be located.'

 The new facilities, which will also include four Acting and Movement Studios, the 160-seat Courtyard Theatre and an exhibition gallery, as well as the 450-seat Concert Hall, will open in January 2011.


Stepping into Music early years training programme is recruiting now

5 March 2010

Stepping into Music (SiM), the Dalcroze Society’s early years workshop and training programme, is accepting applications for a new intake of trainees for its accredited course for musicians, dancers and the early years workforce. The next course will begin in April and an application pack can be found at www.steppingintomusic.org.uk, which also offers more information about the programme and about the proven developmental benefits of integrated music and movement activity for this age group. The deadline for applications is Wednesday 31 March 2010.

SiM will help address the lack of skilled and experienced practitioners to lead and deliver music and movement activity in early years settings across the country, by equipping an enthusiastic new team of practitioners with the skills to develop and deliver work to babies and young children in the future. Successful trainees will emerge from the course with either a Level 4 or Level 5 Certificate in Early Years Music and Movement accredited by Canterbury Christ Church University. It is hoped that, together with this recognised qualification and the confidence gained from undertaking the course, these trainees will go on to set up and run their own regular sessions with under-fives.

Mayor of London launches strategy for music education

3 March 2010

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, has announced a two-year programme of activity aimed at boosting music education provision in the capital, supported by £100,000 of seedbed funding. Making Music Matter: A Music Education Strategy for London 2010-1012, was launched at the Royal Festival Hall on 2 March.
Since the closure of the Inner London Education Authority music service in the 1990s, there has been no London-wide strategic agency for music education. While musical activity for young people is flourishing in some respects, provision is not consistent across the 32 boroughs and some aspects of music teaching, particularly instrumental and vocal tuition, that are difficult to access for those on low incomes. While early access is generally good, the increasing pressure on local authority budgets means it is harder to provide free intensive tuition and progression opportunities at intermediate and advanced level.
The Greater London Authority (GLA) Music Education Programme has grown out of the lord Mayor’s summit on music education in January 2009. It will seek to improve the provision of music education in London by brokering relationships, conducting research and producing advice for the music education sector in London, with the intention of stimulating growth and partnerships by 2012, leading to sustained improvement in the longer term. It will consist of the following strands of activity:
The Mayor’s music education fund
£100,000 to seed fund partnerships between local authority music services and ensembles in the city, through a grant fund which opens in May 2010. The aim is to give young people the experience of working with professional musicians, encouraging them to make music in ensemble while helping to raise their musical aspirations. It will also strengthen and deepen the partnership working between London’s music services and the orchestral sector. The fund will be administered by the GLA in partnership with the London branch of the Federation of Music Services, working closely in the first instance with the Association of British Orchestras.
An audit of music education provision
This will be produced in stages throughout 2010-12 and used to shape understanding of provision and identify gaps or areas needing additional support
Rhythm of London
An annual showcase event, inaugurated last year. This year’s will take place 17-24 April. Supported by a website signposting musical opportunities for young people and ultimately linking advisory services and schools
Events and publications to support teacher development
Advocacy to funders and government
Consultations with young people, teachers, parents and music education providers through events, online activity and social media to help improve communications across the sector and ensure that providers are aware of people’s needs.
The programme is steered by a 15-strong board chaired by Karen Brock, head of Tower Hamlets Arts and Music Education Service, with Richard Morris, recently-retired chief executive of the ABRSM, as deputy chair. It includes representatives of the Barbican, the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, the Southbank Centre, the London Symphony Orchestra, Youth Music, Music for Youth, Arts Council England and the charity London Music Masters.
Speaking at the launch, where he was serenaded on arrival by children from St Stephen’s Primary School who are participating in Lambeth InHarmony, Boris Johnson declared his own enthusiasm for music and paid tribute to the teachers at the Chalk Farm primary school attended by both the foreign secretary, David Miliband, and himself, who had nurtured that enthusiasm by putting violin and recorder-playing at the heart of school life. He said that although the GLA is not a major funder of music education in London, it works in partnership with a range of organisations to improve the delivery of cultural services and there was a widespread consensus that it should play a strategic role in shaping music education in the capital.

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