Government announces new centralised copyright license system
7 April 2015
Politicians have agreed a new system that they say will make it easier for schools to apply for music copyright licenses.
The government confirmed last week that copyright licences will be held centrally from now on, freeing schools from the burden of applying for them independently.
Previously, licences for the use of music had to be bought individually by schools and local authorities, often involving expensive and time-consuming negotiations.
The copyright licences will cover a wide variety of uses of music, including the recording of pupils’ performances on CD and DVD, school discos, radios in the staffroom and even holding music on telephones.
The latest deals follow previous agreements over the past two years on rights to use films, TV shows and newspapers in schools.
Schools minister David Laws said: ‘We want to do all we can to support [schools] to reduce the burden of unnecessary tasks so they can channel their resources into what is most important – educating young people.
‘The simplifying of copyright licensing in schools is another example of this, giving schools across the country the freedom to work on raising attainment levels further while saving millions of pounds.’
However, some leading music education practitioners have questioned the importance of the announcement.
Music teacher and blogger Jane Werry said: ‘This might put some people’s minds at rest but it will not make a huge difference to what they do.
‘Many teachers are not 100 per cent sure whether they are working within the law or not. There are massive grey areas around this stuff which we have been operating in for years.
‘If there is going to be any change, it should be to make more explicit what is and isn’t legal.’
Kent music education hub unveils digital ukulele lessons for primary schools
2 April 2015
Soundhub, the music education hub for Kent, has unveiled an online music education programme that enables non-specialist primary school teachers to deliver ukulele lessons.
MusicPlus Digital is a 30-week programme aimed at children aged 7 to 11. It consists of 15 digital lessons, each up to 40 minutes long, interspersed with 15 ‘live’ lessons delivered by a professional ukulele teacher.
The initiative has been trialled over two years and the initial pilot programme has now been rolled out to 25 primary schools across Kent.
Soundhub is hoping to sell MusicPlus Digital across the UK’s other 122 music hubs as well as to independent schools in the UK and music education providers overseas.
The programme is website-based and access can be purchased for £300 per school. There will be discounts available for bulk sales from music hubs, clusters of schools or groups of academies.
Musician Jake Painter, who presents the online lessons, said: ‘The ukulele is becoming the most popular instrument in primary schools and MusicPlus Digital also helps schools to cover Key Stage 2 National Curriculum, using sound educational principles, such as use of notation, pitch, composition and rhythm.’
Peter Bolton, chief executive of Soundhub, said: ‘Our two-year trial has shown that MusicPlus Digital can be of enormous benefit to teachers, whether or not they have specialist music training.
‘While the children watch and listen to Jake, the teacher can pass among them, helping individuals with hand-positioning and fingering, ensuring that all students receive the personal attention they need to keep up.
‘The ukulele is an inexpensive instrument, with basic models available for as little as £12. We believe that every child should have the chance to learn a musical instrument and MusicPlus Digital gives schools a cost-effective option for making high quality, whole-class music education more inclusive.’
South Hampstead High School singers named GDST Young Choir of the Year
1 April 2015
The 40 junior school students were awarded the title after a competition at the Queen Elizabeth Hall in London’s Southbank Centre last week.
The winning songs were Feed the Birds (words and music by Richard M Sherman and Robert B Sherman) and The Rhythm of Life (music by Cy Coleman and lyrics by Dorothy Fields).
The final featured eight choirs from across the GDST network of 24 schools and two academies. They performed in front of a panel of judges including children’s composer Sheila Wilson, soprano Elizabeth Llewellyn and voice specialist and composer Lin Marsh.
The other finalists were Bromley High School, Kensington Prep School, Putney High, Brighton and Hove High School, Oxford High School for Girls, Newcastle High School for Girls and Wimbledon High School.
Helen Fraser, chief executive of the GDST, said: ‘Music is such an important part of life in all GDST schools. It is wonderful to see so many young people showcasing their talents at this prestigious event in such a high-profile venue.
‘All our schools encourage young people to develop an appreciation for music early in life and I look forward to hearing more from our finalists in the future.’
The GDST is the leading group of independent girls’ schools in the UK, with nearly 4,000 staff and 20,000 students between the ages of three and 18.
As a charity that owns and runs 24 schools and two academies in England and Wales, it reinvests all its income in its schools.
London College of Music launches online exam repertoire shop
31 March 2015
The LCM Shop stocks more than 2,000 exam handbooks and publications, including repertoire from all publishers for the LCM syllabus. It also stocks the full range of Registry of Guitar Tutors (RGT) exam publications and handbooks, as well as music on exam lists from all other publishers.
An ‘exam music finder’ offers teachers and students a quick and easy way to select the sheet music they require for exams. After an instrumental syllabus and grade have been selected, exam lists are displayed with publications available for each piece.
John Howard, director of LCM Exams, said: ‘This is an excellent development, making our publications and other related exam repertoire much more easily available to all. We are delighted to be involved in such an innovative project.’
David Allenby of Boosey & Hawkes added: ‘We are delighted to partner the London College of Music to create this new online shop and exam music finder.
‘The UK examination sector is a world leader and our provision of online music shops helps organisations expand and supply exam music to teachers and students internationally.’
Reeltime Music plans outreach events in schools across Lanarkshire
26 March 2015
Lanarkshire music education charity Reeltime Music is planning a new series of outreach events in schools across the county.
The initiative, which will kick off in July at Coltness High School in Wishaw, has been made possible thanks to £10,000 of sponsorship from Creative Scotland and a £2,000 donation from Tata Steel subsidiary UK Steel Enterprise (UKSE).
Following a successful pilot last year, the charity is now looking to extend the initiative to schools across Lanarkshire.
Reeltime Music, which is based in Motherwell, aims to provide opportunities within the creative industries for disadvantaged young people.
The charity’s tutors, many of whom have benefitted from past Reeltime Music projects, help 11 to 18-year-olds to express themselves by playing and creating music. Most of this activity takes place in a purpose-built recording studio in Newarthill.
But with the new funding in place, Reeltime Music is now planning to rolls out informal music making sessions to young people in local schools.
The project will involve after-school workshops where students can experiment with different instruments, equipment and musical styles. The results of the workshops will be performed at band nights throughout the year.
Ryan Currie, project manager for Reeltime Music, said: 'We want to make music more accessible to students and rolling out informal sessions to schools is the best way to allow them to get hands on and be creative.
'We’ve found music is a great way to break down barriers, learn new skills, increase aspirations and develop a more active lifestyle.'
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