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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.

ABRSM launches international scholarship fund

25 October 2011

ABRSM has unveiled a new fund which is designed to encourage music-making throughout the world. The International Sponsorship Fund will be open to 'any individual, group or music organisation outside the UK and Ireland that is engaged in activities that inspire more people to participate in music, music teaching and learning.'

'As a registered charity, the vast majority of the money generated from our activities is used to provide donations to support music education,' said Guy Perricone, ABRSM’s chief executive.

'We recognise that much worthwhile activity takes place on a local basis and that we could play an active role in furthering this. The launch of our International Sponsorship Fund is a significant step in our mission to support music education worldwide. The fund will support activities that might otherwise be unable to move forward.'

Applicants can apply for up to £2,000 from the fund for a 12-month period, with the potential for renewal. Those applying for funding should contact their local ABRSM Representative for an application form or download one from the website. Applicants have until the end of December to submit their applications this year, while any applications received thereafter will be reviewed on a quarterly basis. ABRSM encourages applicants to work with their local ABRSM representative to fill out and submit application forms.


Tutors and coaches targeted in new tax campaign

10 October 2011

HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) today launched a Tax Catch up Plan (TCP), targeted at people providing private lessons regardless of whether or not they have a teaching qualification. TCP is aimed at those who profit from tuition and coaching as a main or secondary income on which the correct tax has not been paid, because they have not told HMRC about it.

Included in TCP is an opportunity for those providing tuition, instruction or coaching to come forward (deadline: 31 March 2012) and tell HMRC about their outstanding tax for the years up to 5 April 2010 and pay what they owe. Those who come forward by the deadline 'are likely to receive the best possible terms' for paying the tax owed, and if they have to pay a penalty, it is 'unlikely' to be more than 20% of the unpaid tax. Those who wait for HMRC to come to them will 'pay much higher penalties or even face criminal prosecution'. After 31 March, using information pulled together from different sources, HMRC will investigate those who have chosen not to come forward.

Marian Wilson, head of HMRC Campaigns, said: 'Our campaigns are designed to ensure tax is paid so that the money is available to spend on public services used by everyone. We are making it as easy as possible for people offering tuition and coaching to use this unique opportunity to put their tax affairs in order by making a full disclosure, and benefit from the best possible terms.

'We are using various intelligence sources to identify and then target those who do not take advantage of this opportunity to declare their full income. The message is clear: contact us before we contact you.'


Follow HMRC on Twitter at: @HMRCgovuk

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