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Latest News

In Harmony kicks off in Lambeth

25 June 2009

In Harmony Lambeth was formally launched yesterday evening at the Lansdowne Green Estate, Lambeth.

In Harmony Lambeth is part of the £3 million programme funded by the Department for Children, Schools and Families (DSCF) which encourages participation in orchestral music to help children to grow and develop both socially and musically.

The launch event saw over 70 children from local primary schools showcasing their newfound skills. Some of the children have been having group singing lessons, and some have studied the cello. In addition to this, folk band Bellowhead, Artists in Residence at the Southbank Centre, gave a performance.

The event was attended by Ed Balls, secretary of state for the DSCF, who commented: ‘As well as promoting invaluable life skills such as creativity and concentration, music has the power to change lives. I’m looking forward to seeing the effect the In Harmony programme has on the children of Lambeth and their community over the next two years. In a year’s time these children could be playing to a packed Festival Hall, and I will certainly be buying a ticket.’

Balls also had some advice for the children themselves: ‘I hope you’ll do lots of practice when you take up the violin, viola or cello. If you practise every night, you’ll do better and better.’

Boffins recreate Ancient Greek instrument

24 June 2009

A collaboration between music and computer technology will be showcased in a concert this week. The sound of the harp-like Epigonion, an ancient Greek instrument, will be recreated using the GÉANT and EUMEDCONNECT networks and computer modelling technology by the ASTRA (Ancient instruments Sound/Timbre Reconstruction Application) project. The Epigonion will play alongside physical instruments in the Musica @ Fisica concert in Catania, Italy on 26 June.

The Epigonion is a stringed instrument with a sound similar to a modern harp or a harpsichord. Knowledge of the Epigonion is based on archaeological findings, historical pictures and literature. Using this archaeological data as an input, it was then transformed by a complex digital audio rendering technique to model the actual sound of the instrument. This advanced physical modelling synthesis creates a virtual model of the instrument and reproduces the sound that the instrument might have made by simulating its behaviour as a mechanical system. ASTRA’s computer modelling procedure needs extreme amounts of computing power, requiring half an hour of processing time for each minute of the concert.

Friday’s concert will be broadcast live via the internet here, starting at 7pm UK time.

Lancashire Music Service launches new online teaching resource

23 June 2009

Lancashire Music Service (LMS) has linked up with software developer and publisher Charanga to create an online package designed to bring music education to larger numbers of schoolchildren.  

Inspira provides teachers with a three-term non-notational programme of instrumentation and singing lessons which will be provided free to all schools in Lancashire. It offers a wide range of activities, including new songs, play, rap, backing tracks and lesson plans. The programme can be bought and used by music services elsewhere in the country via either a CD-Rom or a web download. It is being launched at the Red Rose Hub in Preston on 2 July. 

FMS teams up with Marc Jaffrey

17 June 2009

The Federation of Music Services (FMS) is launching a campaign to champion the value of music and to raise awareness of the essential role of music services for children, schools and families in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Former Music Manifesto Champion Marc Jaffrey, of Think Again Media, will be supporting the FMS in a programme of media and advocacy work with Music Services around the country. Think Again Media aims to help politicians and the public understand the value of the FMS and Music Services’ work and the role they play in enriching children and young people’s lives. Services will have access to training and expertise to help them get their messages across powerfully.

‘We are going to see a one of the toughest spending rounds in UK history and all public services will be asked to prove their value,’ says Jaffrey. ‘Think Again Media will work with the FMS nationally and with individual services in their areas to help them demonstrate their worth in compelling and imaginative ways.’ Full details will be announced later this month.  

Stentor donates violins to Gallions

17 June 2009

Stentor has just donated £1000 worth of violins to an East London primary school.

At Gallions School in Newham, all 240 children and all teachers learn to play the violin or cello, using Stentor instruments. At the London International Music Show at ExCeL last week, at which children from Gallions performed their own piece with the school choir and string ensemble, Stentor presented £1000 worth of Stentor violins to the school. This will enable even more music making, as students currently share instruments due to the large number of children playing.

‘This is fantastic news,’ said Paul Jackson, head teacher at Gallions.  At Gallions, the whole curriculum is taught through the creative arts. It is believed that this engages the children’s interest, creativity, thinking skills, co-operative working and positive behaviour.

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