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BBC Ten Pieces extended to secondary schools

6 May 2015, Katy Wright

The BBC’s Ten Pieces will be extended to secondary schools from October 2015.

The initiative, which has worked with nearly half of UK primary schools, launched in the autumn term of 2014 with a week of free cinema screenings for primary schools across the country. 

The scheme invites young people to respond to a selection of works through music, dance or digital art. 

A new film will feature footage of the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra performing the chosen pieces (which the BBC will announce within weeks).

Cinema booking for secondary schools opened last month, with screenings taking place from October. Curriculum-linked resources will be available on the Ten Pieces website, with DVDs posted to schools on request.

BBC Ten Pieces

Schools receive donated instruments after Don't Stop the Music campaign

1 May 2015

Primary schools across the UK have received £1m worth of donated musical instruments thanks to a campaign led by pianist James Rhodes.
 
Rhodes launched the Don’t Stop the Music campaign last year to encourage the British public to donate their unwanted musical instruments to local Oxfam stores.

His efforts were filmed for a two-part Channel 4 documentary, Don’t Stop the Music, which was broadcast in September.

The campaign resulted in the donation of 6,500 instruments, which have now been delivered by parcel carrier Yodel to 170 primary schools across the country.

Don’t Stop the Music was supported by celebrities including Paul McCartney, Jessie J, Damon Albarn, Tom Jones, Tinie Tempah and Ronnie Wood.
 
Rhodes said: ‘Young children have a hunger and thirst to learn music and we must give every child the opportunity to learn a musical instrument. 

‘The campaign has helped make this a reality for thousands of kids up and down the country.’
 
Lin Phillips, headteacher of Falconbrook Primary School in Battersea, London, which received some of the instruments, commented: ‘Thanks to the brilliant Don’t Stop the Music campaign, we have started a new band which gives the children another opportunity to play in assemblies and concerts.

‘I’d like to thank all those who donated instruments, as well as James Rhodes, Yodel and all those who made the amnesty happen. You’ve helped change lives and your instruments have gone to a fantastic new home.’

 

Youth music in Birmingham receives funding boost

30 April 2015, Katy Wright

The National Foundation for Youth Music has awarded mac birmingham £153k for 2015, with further grants of £292k to be made over the following two years.

The ‘mac makes music’ programme offers workshops in music technology, song writing, ensembles and performance for children and young people who may not otherwise have access to such experiences. The programme aims to nurture talent and raise aspirations in young people.

Matt Griffiths, chief executive officer of Youth Music, said: ’We’re really delighted to be working with mac birmingham as one of our strategic partners to deliver an exciting programme of music-making opportunities for children and young people in Birmingham and surrounding areas. These three-year grants will really help to develop and sustain music-making locally, taking our investment in the West Midlands to £776,500 in this funding round.’

The charity has awarded grants to 80 music organisations around the country and currently supports over 400 projects.

Youth Music

Lesley-Ann Smith joins Kent Music as Head of Teaching and Learning 

29 January 2015

Music teacher and double bass player Lesley-Ann Smith has joined Kent Music as its new Head of Teaching and Learning, leading a network of more than 150 instrumental and vocal tutors working with up to 12,000 people a year across Kent and Medway. 

Originally from Prestwick in Ayrshire, Lesley-Ann graduated with a Bachelor of Music Degree and Post Graduate Diploma in Music Performance from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland in 2007. She has played as a freelance double bassist with professional orchestras across Scotland, including the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra and Scottish Opera. Her early career was spent working as an instrumental instructor with multiple Instrumental Music Services and as a community musician for Artlink Central. 

As Education & Projects Officer at Enterprise Music Scotland, Lesley-Ann designed and managed their first music education conference, Music Education Matters, in 2014. There she designed and administered over 90 music education workshops annually across Scotland as well as chamber music projects and training events. She was most recently Team Leader Music Development at West Dunbartonshire Council where she managed the Instrumental Music Service. 

Peter Bolton, Chief Executive of Kent Music, said: “Lesley-Ann is a talented musician with wide experience of organising music tuition at all levels and I am delighted to welcome her to Kent as our new Head of Teaching and Learning.” 

Government publishes new GCSE, AS and A Level subject content

28 January 2015, Thomas Lydon

The Department for Education has published details of the subject content for the GCSEs, AS Levels and A Levels in music to be taught from autumn 2016. It is anticipated that exam boards will soon publish their own specifications, based on these guidelines.

The headline here is that the much-criticised compulsory 1700 to 1900 area of study at all levels has been widened to the more conventional stylistic boundaries of 1650 and 1910, largely due to the efforts of the ISM's Protect Music Education campaign. The other specification at all levels has also been re-framed, now stating that one other area of study ‘must not be drawn from the Western Classical Tradition’. Otherwise, there are no huge surprises here, with the final content guidelines being based  largely on the consultation documents published last July.

Some of the more proscriptive language around the demands on the composition element at all levels has been dropped (no longer must students be able to show that they have achieved their work through one or more of a set list of ‘means’, including experimenting, developing, or critical refinement).

At GCSE, the ‘musical elements’ have been updated to include sequences (listed at A Level in the consultation) chord progressions and simple modulations.

At AS and A Level, we're pleased to report that the ISM’s sub-campaign to save the gerund has been successful, and the terms ‘performance and composition’ from the consultation documents have been re-phrased as ‘performing and composing’, presumably in response to the ISM’s stated preference for stressing the ‘musical processes’ rather than the ‘end products of study’. Elsewhere, in the ‘musical elements’ section, all reference to identifying sonorities of different instrumental groupings has been removed, and there is some genuinely interesting new wording in the 'musical context' section. Lastly of note, in the ‘appraise’ section, the requirement to be able to make critical judgement about your own work has been removed.

The GCSE content can be found here

The AS and A Level content can be found here

If you want to play a game of 'spot the difference', here are the consultations documents for GCSE and AS/A Level.


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