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Teaching Materials 2015

British Music Education Yearbook

Music Pages
Music Teacher Guide about Music and Dyslexia

Latest News

ABRSM announces autumn events for music teachers

24 September 2015

The Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music (ABRSM) is hosting two events for music teachers this autumn.

The ABRSM and Music Mark Roadshow, which takes place in Berkshire on 16 October and Staffordshire on 20 October, will explore the common threads connecting classroom and one-to-one music teaching.

Using video footage as a basis for discussion, the roadshow will focus on ways in which well-chosen musical learning objectives can lead to effective learning outcomes.

More dates and venues will be announced later in the year. For more information or to book a place, visit
In addition, the ABRSM Conference will take place on 7 November at London’s Grange Tower Bridge Hotel.

With a focus on the broad range of skills that support musical performance, the sessions will aim to give attendees ideas to implement in class, group and one-to-one lessons.

Presenters will include educators Anthony Williams, Louise Matthew and Paul Harris as well as ABRSM chief examiner John Holmes.

Attendance costs £80 per delegate, including refreshments and lunch. A full conference programme and booking facility can be found at


Dame Evelyn Glennie awarded honorary RPS membership

22 September 2015

Dame Evelyn Glennie
Dame Evelyn GlenniePhilipp Rathmer

Dame Evelyn Glennie has been made an honorary member of the Royal Philharmonic Society (RPS) in recognition of her outstanding services to music - as a percussionist and a passionate advocate for music education.

The full statement from the council of the RPS reads:

‘Evelyn Glennie is the first person in western musical history to successfully create and sustain a full-time career as a solo percussionist. She has fired the enthusiasm of audiences, engaged a whole new generation of performers, actively campaigns for music education and is constantly redefining our expectations of percussion. She has also demonstrated forcibly that it is possible with a serious hearing impairment to perform music at the highest possible level and in so doing she has given us a completely different understanding of how we listen.

'Her advice to young people is to “grab on to any opportunity that comes your way, but also to practice the art of creating your own opportunities”. No one has proved that more forcibly than Evelyn herself. She a great ambassador for music and an extraordinary role model for all performers striving to achieve their goals.’

The presentation of the certificate of honorary membership will be made on 25 September at the launch of ‘Musical Routes: A New Landscape for Music Education’, an independently commissioned report into the provision of musical education for school-aged children and young people in England by Sarah Derbyshire in partnership with RPS.

Glennie is the first percussionist to receive honorary membership. Other honorary members include Carl Maria von Weber (1826), Brahms (1882), Stravinsky (1921),  El Sistema founder José Antonio Abreu (2008), and Graham Johnson and Fanny Waterman (2010).

Dame Evelyn Glennie

NYMAZ report shows success of online music lessons in primary schools

22 September 2015

A pilot project led by youth music development charity NYMAZ has identified a new way of using technology to provide music education to students who live in remote locations.

Connect: Resound, set up in response to a recommendation made in Darren Henley’s 2011 Review of Music Education in England, gave children at primary schools across north Yorkshire the chance to access online music tuition.

The project used the Roland VR-3EX video and audio mixer and streamer, along with three cameras (to allow pupils and teachers to see different views, including close-ups), microphones and Skype.

A report on the pilot, released last week, concluded that if music education hubs across the country were set up with similar facilities, they would have the potential to reach a greater number of pupils and widen access to music education.

Seventy per cent of pupils said they enjoyed the lessons ‘very much’ and 74 per cent wished to continue to learn their instruments ‘very much’ or ‘quite a lot’.  

It was also reported that 79 per cent of parents/carers would not have tried to find instrumental lessons for their children had this opportunity not been available.

Heidi Johnson, director of NYMAZ, said: ‘It’s an incredible step forward for music education.

‘Music teachers in rural areas could spend far less time on the road between schools and more time teaching, meaning that more children would be able to receive lessons – in particular those in very small or very rural schools who currently miss out – as well as having access to a greater choice of instruments.

‘Children living in rural areas currently miss out when it comes to music education. The use of digital technology could put an end to that inequality and it’s our collective responsibility to ensure it happens.’

The project was led by NYMAZ in collaboration with the North Yorkshire Music Hub, researchers from the University of Hull and technologists from UCan Play.

It was funded by the Digital R&D Fund for the Arts, a partnership between Arts Council England, the Arts and Humanities Research Council and Nesta.

Sir David Willcocks (30 December 1919 – 17 September 2015)

17 September 2015

Sir David Willcocks
Sir David Willcocks

Choral conductor, organist and composer Sir David Willcocks died peacefully at home this morning (17 September), aged 95.

Born in Newquay, Cornwall, Willcocks was a chorister at Westminster Abbey and music scholar at Clifton College, Bristol before being appointed organ scholar at King’s College, Cambridge in 1939.

He served in the British Army during World War II, receiving the Military Cross for his actions on the night of 10/11 July 1944, before returning to the university in 1945 to complete his studies. In 1947, he was elected a Fellow of King’s College; in the same year, he became organist at Salisbury Cathedral, moving to Worcester in 1950.

He will be best remembered by many for his time as director of music at King’s College, Cambridge (1957-1974). He  leaves behind a considerable legacy in the shape of his arrangements and descants of Christmas carols (published in the five Carols for Choirs anthologies) and his recordings with the college choir.

During his time at King’s College, Willcocks also served as the organist of Cambridge University, conductor of the Cambridge University Musical Society, and as university lecturer. He was appointed music director of the Bach Choir in 1960.

After leaving Cambridge, he was appointed music director emeritus, and became director of the Royal College of Music, a post he held until 1984.

In the 1971 Queen’s Birthday Honours, he was appointed a Commander of the Order of the British Empire, and was made a Knight Bachelor in 1977 in the Queen’s Silver Jubilee Honours.

Music education figures welcome Jeremy Corbyn's new shadow cabinet

17 September 2015

Music education experts have reacted positively to the new shadow cabinet appointed by Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.

Corbyn, who was elected as the new leader of the Labour Party last week, named the members of his shadow cabinet on 14 September.

They include Lucy Powell, Ed Miliband’s general election campaign coordinator and MP for Manchester Central, who has been appointed as the new shadow education secretary; and Michael Dugher, the former shadow transport secretary, who is the new Shadow Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport.

Jonathan Savage, reader in education at the Institute of Education at Manchester Metropolitan University (pictured), welcomed the appointment of Powell as shadow education secretary.

‘Powell, who was newly elected to the House of Commons in 2012, is a strong advocate for state education, having been educated herself at Parrs Wood High School and Xaverian Sixth Form College in Manchester,’ he said.

‘Her own children attend state secondary, primary and nursery schools in Manchester. She has campaigned on many educational issues in the past including the reduction of university tuition fees and the provision of specialist facilities for children with learning difficulties.’

Henry Vann, head of external affairs at the Incorporated Society of Musicians (ISM), said the appointment of Michael Dugher as shadow culture secretary was also good news.

He said: ‘Michael Dugher has previously supported our concerns around tax breaks for orchestras and did some good work as chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Brass Bands.’

Vann also praised Corbyn’s positive vision for the arts in the run-up to his election as leader of the Labour Party.

He cited five pledges made during the Corbyn campaign: the maintenance of arts funding; a strong BBC, including investment in musicians; the protection of local education authority (LEA) funding; fair pay for creators; and the idea that every child should have the opportunity to learn a musical instrument.

Vann said: ‘The good news is that the argument about the importance of music education has won in the shape of Corbyn and his new team.

‘During the campaign, he set out his own views on education and the arts, and made a point of saying that the economy depends on the success of the creative sector. There was a real recognition of the importance of the arts to society as a whole.

‘We normally feel that it falls to us to make that statement, but with Corbyn it seems the door is already open. That was very promising and reassuring to everyone who saw it.

‘We would look forward to working with his team to develop those ideas into fully fledged policies.’

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