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Teaching Materials 2015

British Music Education Yearbook

Music Pages
Music Teacher Guide about Music and Dyslexia

Latest News

First RSNO Composers’ Hub participants selected

1 October 2015

Clockwise from top left: Peter Longworth; Lillie Harris; Desmond Clarke; Cameron Graham; Jay Capperauld
Clockwise from top left: Peter Longworth; Lillie Harris; Desmond Clarke; Cameron Graham; Jay Capperauld

The first five composers to participate in the Royal Scottish National Orchestra's Composers' Hub - a new initiative to develop the talents of individuals in the early stages of their careers - have been announced. 

Peter Longworth, Cameron Graham, Lillie Harris, Jay Capperauld and Desmond Clarke will write for the RSNO in a range of different contexts, develop skills and creative relationships, and acquire an understanding of the business of a major arts organisation.

As well as working with Alchemy, the orchestra’s contemporary music group, each composer will write a ten-minute work for full symphony orchestra. The programme will culminate in a public workshop led by Brett Dean in the RSNO Centre in April 2016, from which one work will be chosen to be performed by the RSNO as part of its 2016/17 Season.

Stuart MacRae, one of the scheme's mentors, said: 'There are very few opportunities for emerging composers to get the help they need in developing their approach to working with an orchestra; so the Composers’ Hub is a welcome move by the RSNO and I very much look forward to working with the first composers to join the hub. I‘d encourage RSNO audiences to take full advantage of this new strand and lend their support to these very talented musicians.'

The scheme is supported by the PRS for Music Foundation.

RSNO Composers' Hub

RNCM launches UK's first four-year degree in popular music

29 September 2015

Harpist Anna McLuckie
Harpist Anna McLuckie

The Royal Northern College of Music (RNCM) is launching the UK’s first ever four-year BMus (Hons) degree in popular music on 1 October.

The course, one of only three four-year popular music degrees in the world (alongside Amsterdam Conservatorium and Berklee College of Music), provides intensive training for instrumentalists and singers who intend to work as freelance musicians, bands and artists in the popular music industry, or as a foundation for postgraduate study.

Delivered at the RNCM, Blueprint Studios and Lever Street Studios, students will work with academics and professionals from the music industry such as session musicians, producers, songwriters, recording artists, composers, music directors, managers, promoters and performers.

The new BMus (Hons) in popular music seeks to develop students’ musical identity through creative composition, production and performance-based modules that enables them to be high quality performers and original artists in their own right.

Andy Stott, head of popular music at RNCM, said: ‘I believe there’s a revolution going on in Manchester, driven by the creative talents of the popular music students at the RNCM. We find ourselves in a unique position – offering the UK’s first four-year BMus popular music degree while enjoying all the benefits of a world-class conservatoire in a city with a rich musical heritage and dynamic popular music scene.

‘We have the opportunity and ambition to cultivate what is already the UK’s premier training programme for popular musicians into one of the world’s leading centres for popular music education, innovation and artistic development. Our students are our biggest asset, and it won’t be long before they become leading lights in the UK’s popular music industry – trained in Manchester.’

RNCM BMus (Hons) in popular music

NCOGB appoints new managing director

29 September 2015

Dominic Jewel
Dominic Jewel

Dominic Jewel has been appointed as the new managing director of the National Children's Orchestras of Great Britain.

Jewel joins the NCOGB from the Three Choirs Festival, where he has been chief executive for the past three years. He is a proud NCO alumnus and passionate about the involvement of young people in classical music.

NCO artistic director and principal conductor Roger Clarkson said: ‘I am greatly looking forward to Dominic joining NCOGB and to building a strong executive partnership with him. We have made tremendous progress over the past year, and the future is bright indeed. We will be building on strong foundations as we work alongside each other to take this wonderful organisation forward into the next phase of its development.'

Jewel is expected to take up his post early in 2016, until which time Carrie Sage will continue as NCO's acting executive director.

National Children's Orchestras of Great Britain

Bristol Plays Music opens two new centres

29 September 2015

Bristol Plays Music has opened two new music centres.

The Bristol Music Centre South (based at Merchants’ Academy) and the Bristol Centre for Young Musicians (based at Bristol Cathedral Choir School) will help Bristol Plays Music achieve its aim to support 10,000 young people learning, playing and performing music in the city.

The two new centres build upon the success of facilities at Henbury Secondary School, Cotham Secondary School and Stanton Road, Southmead, and respond to demand for more choirs, bands and ensembles.

The Bristol Music Centre South will host the Bristol Modern Orchestra, the South Side Choir, and Creative Music Technology sessions on Saturdays, all of which cost £25 for two terms. Orchestra rehearsals include sectional coaching, while choir sessions emphasise progression of part singing, vocal blend and tone. The technology sessions are run in collaboration with Knowle West Media Centre’s XLR sessions, and aim to familiarise young musicians with processes of recording, composing and production. 

The Bristol Centre for Young Musicians will hold masterclasses, musicianship classes, ensemble development sessions, instrumental lessons, and a termly performance programme. Classes are taught by conservatoire teachers and performers from some of the UK’s leading orchestras. For a double term, shared lessons will cost £115 for 30 minutes and £200 for 60 minutes, or £200 for 30 minutes and £370 for 60 minutes for individual lessons. 

Bristol Plays Music is Arts Council England’s music education hub for Bristol. As part of Bristol Music Trust, it works with Colston Hall to ensure every young person has access to music education activities and performance opportunities. 

Bristol Plays Music

Improved SATS results for schools working with Opera North

29 September 2015

Children from Bude Park Primary School performing at their 2015 end of year concert
Children from Bude Park Primary School performing at their 2015 end of year concertDarren Casey

Children of Windmill Primary School in Belle Isle participate in a workshop with the Chorus of Opera North
Children of Windmill Primary School in Belle Isle participate in a workshop with the Chorus of Opera NorthSimon Marshall

Two primary schools which are participating in intensive music programmes run by Opera North have seen a dramatic increase in SATS results.

Windmill Primary School in Belle Isle, Leeds (In Harmony Opera North), and Bude Park Primary School in Bransholme, Hull (Opera North Singing School) have both seen increases of up to 20% in the results of the tests (taken by those aged ten and 11). 

The schools allocate up to three hours within curriculum time every week, which teachers believe enhances pupils’ personal and academic development.

At Windmill Primary School, 2015 results in Key Stage 2 SATS exams have increased the percentage of children attaining a Level 4 in reading from 78% in 2014 to 98.7% in 2015. In writing, 86.7% achieved Level 4 or above, up from 75.6%, while the results in Maths increased from 73.2% to 93.3% of children attaining Level 4 or above.
In Harmony Opera North began working in Windmill Primary School in January 2013. In addition to musical activity during curriculum time, many children attend Opera North ‘After School’ music sessions three times a week. All of the children regularly perform to family and friends, and they have all had the opportunity to perform at several events with the Orchestra and Chorus of Opera North; initiatives which helped parental engagement with the school rise from 7%-39% in 2013. 

Andy Gamble, executive headteacher at Windmill Primary School, said: ‘I am delighted with these results, which prove that the In Harmony Opera North programme at Windmill Primary School continues to go from strength to strength. We have observed many significant effects on the pupils’ skills such as teamwork, co-operation, social skills and self-confidence.’

The Opera North Singing School has also offered pupils at Bude Park Primary School regular performance opportunities; some of these have been with members of the Orchestra and Chorus of Opera North. After this first year of delivery, the school’s Key Stage 2 SATs results have increased the percentage of children attaining a Level 4 in Reading from 80% in 2014 to 96% in 2015. Lower down the school in Key Stage 1 the school’s SATS results have increased from 81% in Mathematics in 2014 to 96% in 2015. 

In Harmony Opera North and Opera North Singing School are part of Opera North Education’s community residency strand, which aims to encourage sustained arts engagement in challenged communities and deliver wider benefits such as increased confidence, aspiration, enhanced health and wellbeing. 

Opera North

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