MMF awards 70 scholarships
24 September 2014
70 talented young Londoners will attend a ceremony today at the Mayor’s City Hall, where they will be awarded four-year music scholarships worth £280,000.
The Mayor’s Music Fund was established in 2011 to help gifted children from disadvantaged families fulfil their musical potential. Each Mayor’s Music Scholar receives over two hours of tuition, music-making and other developmental activities each week, as well as opportunities to perform at and attend live music events. Each child is also matched up with their own mentor, who is the link between the child, their parent, their school, the local music service and the Fund. There are currently 300 primary school children benefitting from the scheme.
This morning’s ceremony has been sponsored by Trinity College London, with concert pianist James Rhodes presenting the awards.
NYJO and BuJazzO celebrate 100 years of jazz
24 September 2014
This autumn two of the leading jazz youth orchestras in Europe – NYJO, from the UK, and BuJazzO, from Germany – are coming together to celebrate 100 years of jazz history. This ground-breaking collaboration also marks the centenary of the start of World War One.
Jazz officially started with the publication of St Louis Blues in 1914. The two youth orchestras got together to form a double big band, performing music from 1914 up until the present day. Audiences in Heek, Cologne and Hamburg enjoyed roof-raising concerts from the ensemble last week, and the English leg of the tour will feature performances at Leeds College of Music and the EFG London Jazz Festival this November.
NYJO music director Mark Armstrong said: ‘We’ve just got back tired but happy from an incredible week in Germany working with our counterparts BuJazzO. There was a genuine meeting of musical minds between the two groups, with both bands playing with great commitment and feel for the varied history of the music whilst demonstrating a shared sense of adventure! We showcased charts from St Louis Blues to Julian Siegel’s MBadgers by way of I Got Rhythm and Battle Royale, both arranged for double big band. We’ve arrived back in the UK invigorated and excited for BuJazzO’s visit in November where we look forward to giving audiences in Leeds and London this rare treat and further strengthening our bonds through this special music.’
Ten-year-old gains distinction in ABRSM diploma
23 September 2014
At ten years old, James Chen has become one of the youngest musicians in the world to be awarded a performance diploma from the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music (DipABRSM).
James, from Stockton-on-Tees, started learning the piano four years ago. He achieved grade 8 with distinction eight months ago, and has just started at Chetham’s School of Music. In addition to his accomplishments on the piano, James also gained 144 for his grade 5 violin earlier this year.
James’s piano teacher, Barbara White, commented: ‘I am thrilled to witness his latest remarkable achievement. James clearly has a wonderful gift for classical music and immerses himself in his performances. He is also such a determined young person, with a real passion to learn. Despite his high level of achievement on the piano, violin and academically across the board, he is very polite and humble and never feels the needs to boast about anything. I am sure his attitude will take him very far.’
Ukelele group strikes chord with audience
22 September 2014
As they progress from strength to strength, the Grantham U3A Ukelele Group are proving that you’re never too old to learn a new skill.
The group, led by SoundLINCS music facilitator Jonny Gillard, have begun to take part in concerts and events at care homes, fundraisers and even weddings. Videos of the group playing two of their favourite repertoire pieces, Bill Haley’s ‘Rock Around the Clock’ and Tom Jones’ ‘Delilah’, have been uploaded to YouTube and are receiving great feedback online.
‘The progress and increased confidence of the group has been brilliant,’ said Jonny Gillard. ‘Their enthusiasm to learn and play is infectious with nobody ever missing a session!’
Research suggests that as we grow older, active music-making can enhance social cohesion, increase personal development and help contribute to all-round wellbeing. If you’re interested in setting up a similar project, contact SoundLINCS.
Music Tuition Service struggling in fight for survival
19 September 2014
Music Cornwall’s Music Tuition Service has been dealt what may be the final blow in its fight for survival.
Acclaimed as the most successful music service in Britain ten years ago, Music Cornwall had been subsidised by Cornwall Council with an annual input of between £200,000 and £300,000. The council can no longer afford to provide this subsidy without cutting other facilities, so has decided to close the Tuition Service – which is one of three strands of the wider Cornwall Music Service.
The Cabinet voted in May to implement a new brokerage model, whereby instrumental teachers would have to register with the council as self-employed. Members of the cabinet agreed to consider any further proposals from staff and unions, but two alternative models brought forward at a meeting last month were deemed financially unviable by the Council’s chief financial officer.
However, the knell has not yet sounded for the Tuition Service. A group representing music teachers currently employed by the Council are trying to set up a trust to deliver the service. An initial meeting has been held and further discussions will determine whether this is a viable solution.
Hannah Packham, NUT Regional Officer, told Music Teacher: ‘Our members have demonstrated remarkable resilience during this process, continuing to deliver an excellent service while contemplating their futures. Our members are bearing the brunt of government cuts to local authorities, losing their employment, terms and conditions, and pay. It is not good enough for David Laws, with much fanfare, to announce increased spending on music, when the reality on the ground is that cuts to local authority funding have resulted in the reduction or removal of key support services for schools and education.
‘The NUT will continue to support our members in their new venture, working with the Musicians Union, with whom we have a partnership agreement, unionlearn and our other sister unions.’
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