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Teaching Materials 2015

British Music Education Yearbook

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Music Teacher Guide about Music and Dyslexia

Latest News

RCM announces new autumn concert and lecture series

25 August 2015

The Royal College of Music (RCM) is launching a new concert series as well as a new strand of talks and debates this autumn.
Orchestral Masterworks, a new series by the RCM Philharmonic, will feature classical favourites across six concerts.

The orchestra will perform works such as The Sorcerer’s Apprentice by Dukas and music from The Nutcracker by Tchaikovsky, plus symphonies by Beethoven, Brahms and Mozart and concertos by Martinů and Tchaikovsky.

The first three Orchestral Masterworks concerts will take place at 6pm, giving audiences the opportunity to avoid the rush hour travel. Ticket prices are being kept deliberately low, starting at £5.

The Music and Ideas series, meanwhile, will include talks from internationally renowned artists such as Sir Thomas Allen, John Lill, Alina Ibragimova and Sarah Connolly. 

Stephen Johns, artistic director of the RCM, said: ‘I am delighted to announce the Royal College of Music’s new Orchestral Masterworks series, a truly exciting venture on both an artistic and educational level.

‘Our students will be given the opportunity to immerse themselves in a plethora of key orchestral works, gaining the crucial performance experience needed for their future professional careers.

‘Our audiences will be reminded why this repertoire is so loved, hearing refreshing interpretations from our young musicians – many of whom will be performing these works for the first time.’


Registration for Music Education Expo 2016 opens

24 August 2015

Registration for Music Education Expo 2016 has now opened.

The fourth Expo will be held at the new venue of Olympia Central, London, on 25 and 26 February and will remain, as in previous years, entirely free to attend for those who register online.

The event will include more than 60 professional development sessions, from practical workshops to keynote speeches on the future of the music education sector.

The new venue will give the event more space and light to make attending a more pleasant experience, and free WiFi will make this year’s event the most connected so far. 

This year’s Expo will also incorporate the new Musical Theatre & Drama Education Show, run in conjunction with MT’s sister publication, Teaching Drama. This event will showcase a range of musical theatre and drama exhibitors and feature a number of workshops, Q&As and performances. 

Ticketholders are able to attend both shows, with organisers hopeful of providing some fascinating new perspectives. 

Alongside the programme of events there will again be an extensive exhibition showcasing a wide variety of musical instruments, technology products, sheet music, teaching resources and more. 

The 2016 Music Teacher Awards for Excellence will be held during the Expo on the evening of 25 February. Nominations are open to all through an online form here.

Music Education Expo 2016, 25 & 26 February 2016, Olympia Central, London.



British Youth Opera prepares for two new productions

21 August 2015

Claire Barnett-Jones as Maurya in <em>Riders to the Sea</em>
Claire Barnett-Jones as Maurya in Riders to the SeaBill Knight

British Youth Opera (BYO) will present two new productions during its summer season this year.

The company, which provides professional opportunities for young singers, musicians and technical trainees, will perform Janáček’s The Cunning Little Vixen on 5, 8 and 11 September.

The production will be directed and conducted by Stuart Barker, director of training and productions at BYO, and Lionel Friend, the company’s music director.

They are joined by designers Simon Bejer (set, costumes and puppets) and David Howe (lighting). Mandy Demetriou takes charge of movement.
The production will also feature puppetry, with students getting the opportunity to work with puppetry consultant Darren East.

The company’s second production of the summer will be a double bill of two rarely performed 20th-century works, Vaughan Williams’ Riders to the Sea and Holst’s Savitri, on 9 and 12 September.

Both productions will be performed at the Peacock Theatre in Holborn, London.

The season has been dedicated to the memory of BYO’s founder, Denis Coe, who died earlier this year.


Philip Pullman speaks up in favour of music education

20 August 2015

Philip Pullman
Philip Pullman

Author Philip Pullman has stated that he considers music to be the most important school subject.

A feature in the September/October issue of Intelligent Life magazine asked a number of high-profile writers (including Alain de Botton, Rose Tremain, and Herman Koch) what they considered to be the most important school subject. Pullman – a former English teacher – nominated music:

‘Too much of what passes for education splits children in two, and throws away half. Children are turned into little exam-takers far too early; to think of infants being sent home with homework to do is to contemplate a sort of wilful maiming.

The half that’s thrown away is the body, and all the ways it can move and feel and be intelligent and cause delight. And of all the things the body can do, the richest, the most interesting, the most emotionally and intellectually fulfilling thing is music. Every child needs to encounter music as early as possible, and I don’t mean just listen and then answer questions: I mean make, with voice, with clapping hands and stamping feet, with instruments of every kind.

First of all I’d make sure that every school had a talented and qualified teacher of singing. Children will sing very willingly if they can see and hear that it’s fun. I vividly remember the first time I sang a round in class; I can’t remember whether it was “Frère Jacques”, or “London’s Burning”, but I do remember the delight of waiting till it was my turn to come in, and finding the right note, and hearing my voice winding in and out of the lines and making a pattern with others.

Then I’d require every school to provide instrumental teaching for every child. The recorder used to be the first instrument children were given, but I’m glad to see the ukulele being used a lot nowadays. You can play it and sing at the same time, and it’s a great gateway to other instruments.

And finally, once I’d got all the schools making music, I’d do something about the wretched conditions many fine professional musicians have to work in: exiguous rehearsal time, poverty-level pay, a culture that regards music as a free good and sees no need to pay composers or performers properly for their skill and their work. Children need to see that the music they begin to learn in school has a real cultural and social purpose, and is properly valued by the nation.’

Pullman has acknowledged the importance of music on his work on previous occasions. On his website, he writes: ‘Music is so important to me that I don’t listen to it when I’m writing, because I can’t concentrate on my work. I can only listen to it when I’m doing something that doesn’t involve words. And I love all kinds of music – jazz, classical, pop, everything.’

The author has previously spoken out against illegal downloads. In an article for the Index on Censorship, he writes: ‘In order to steal someone else’s literary or musical work, all the thief has to do is press a few keys, and they can make our work available to anyone in the world, and take all the money for themselves […] The ease and swiftness with which music can be acquired in the form of MP3 downloads is still astonishing even to those of us who have been building up our iTunes list for some time.’

Pullman is perhaps best known for his fantasy trilogy His Dark Materials and the fictionalised biography of Jesus, The Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ. His accolades include the 1995 Carnegie Medal, the 1996 Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize, and the 2005 Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award.

Philip Pullman

RSNO launches scheme for emerging composers

20 August 2015

© Mark Coulsen

The Royal Scottish National Orchestra (RSNO) has launched a new initiative to develop the talent of emerging composers.

The RSNO Composers’ Hub will give up to five composers in the early stages of their career the opportunity to write for the orchestra in a range of different contexts during the 2015/16 season.
As well as working with RSNO’s contemporary group, Alchemy, each composer will write a ten-minute work for full symphony orchestra. 

The scheme will culminate in a public workshop in the new RSNO Centre auditorium in Glasgow in April 2016, led by composer and viola player Brett Dean (pictured).

One work will then be chosen to be performed by the RSNO as part of its 2016/17 season. 
Manus Carey, executive producer at the RSNO, said: ‘We are very excited to be launching the pilot year of our new Composers’ Hub.

‘With the imminent move into our new purpose-built home, we will have the opportunity to extend the support we give to Scottish and UK-wide composers, and to provide the creative space for them to explore and develop.’
Dean added: ‘Opportunities presented to emerging composers make an enormously positive difference to the development of a composer’s voice. I’m very happy to be able to contribute to this valuable new initiative by the RSNO.’

The initiative is supported by the PRS for Music Foundation.


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