Clint Boon and others celebrate Access to Music's new Manchester base
18 March 2015
Indie musician Clint Boon, The Smiths drummer Mike Joyce and Coronation Street actor Dean Fagan were among the guests at the official opening of a new music college in Manchester last week.
Access to Music Manchester is a £1m facility located in the former Jilly’s Rockworld and Music Box nightclubs on Oxford Street. The college will train around 150 students on a range of courses including music performance, music technology and music business, with a course in creative media being launched in September 2015.
The new centre, which replaces Access to Music’s former site in the city’s Northern Quarter, has a suite of rehearsal rooms, a full-size recording studio, classrooms and a dedicated 100-seat performance space.
The buildings, which hosted gigs by bands such as Joy Division and Depeche Mode in the 1970s and 1980s, are now owned by developer Bruntwood.
Boon, who has been made patron of Access to Music Manchester, said: “It’s brilliant to see a building that had such a rich musical heritage transformed into a state-of-the-art training centre, where new generations of talent can craft their musical skills.
“I am still learning about music – especially new digital technology – and therefore hope that as patron, I can not only share my musical experiences and knowledge but also learn from the new talent.”
Established in 1992, Access to Music provides courses covering all aspects of the music industry, using a curriculum developed in partnership with Rockschool, the accredited provider of rock music exams.
Access to Music has nine other sites around the UK and its graduates include Ed Sheeran and Rita Ora.
U-turn from Ousedale School on preferential places for musical children
16 March 2015
A school in Milton Keynes has reversed its plans to give preferential school places to musical children following a campaign from local parents.
In February, Ousedale School in Newport Pagnell proposed that from September 2016 it would select 10 per cent of new pupils on the basis that they had passed a Grade 2 exam in a bowed, stringed, brass, woodwind, keyboard or percussion instrument.
But local parents said it was unfair that non-catchment children who played a musical instrument would be given preference over other children living in the catchment area. They formed two Facebook groups and started a petition that gathered more than 350 signatures.
Local councillor David Hosking told the Milton Keynes Citizen: ‘This is unfair on children who are not musical. It means a child in the catchment area could be forced to travel up to 15 miles to another school while a musical child from out of catchment takes their place.’
Following a meeting last week, the school announced that it had dropped the controversial policy. Music Teacher contacted Ousedale School but no one was available for comment.
Richard Morris heads winners at Music Teacher Awards for Excellence
13 March 2015
Morris was presented with the award on Thursday evening during Rhinegold Publishing’s Music Education Expo. The awards ceremony was hosted by Classic FM’s Margherita Taylor and attended by more than 230 guests.
Having worked as a solicitor and investment banker, Morris went on to become finance director and then managing director of publisher Hodder & Stoughton. He later worked as chief executive of the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music (ABRSM) for 16 years, and has also served as chairman of the Music Education Council.
As well as being chairman of the Yehudi Menuhin School, Morris is also the co-founder and acting chairman of the Mayor of London’s Fund for Young Musicians and a governor of Kent Music. He has a diploma in leadership coaching and is active as a mentor and coach.
Morris said: ‘I am both honoured and very touched to receive this award. I have had the joy of working in music education for the past 23 years and much of this time has been spent trying to promote the provision of sustained musical tuition for all young people who show commitment and eagerness.
‘My sole condition on receiving this award is that I should be allowed to continue, since there’s so much more to do.
‘There has historically been much unfair criticism of the profession by government agencies, born of a lack of understanding of the breadth and complexity of music education. These splendid awards celebrate what’s really going on all over the country.’
Launched in 2013, the Music Teacher Awards for Excellence celebrate outstanding achievements in the UK’s music education sector. This year’s winners in full were:
Best Musical Initiative
iOrchestra, from the Philharmonia Orchestra
Best Print Resource
Listening Lab, published by Universal Edition
Best Digital/Technological Resource
Charanga Musical School
Best SEN Resource
Best Music Education Product
The 4-hole Oc
Excellence in Primary/Early Years
London Music Masters’ Bridge Project
Best School Music Department
Woodcroft Primary School
Musicians’ Union Inspiration Award
Anna Batson, Plymouth Music Zone
Music Teacher Magazine Editor’s Award
John Hornby Skewes
Best Classical Music Education Initiative
The Scratch Youth Messiah
Lifetime Achievement Award
Ed Miliband's plan to reduce tuition fees 'could damage conservatoires'
11 March 2015
Standards in the UK’s conservatoires could suffer under Labour’s proposal to reduce university tuition fees to £6,000 a year, according to leading figures in music education.
In February, Labour leader Ed Miliband said his party would cut tuition fees in England from £9,000 to £6,000 per year from autumn 2016. He said his party would pay for the reduction by reducing tax relief on pensions for people earning more than £150,000 per year.
Linda Merrick, principal of the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester (pictured), said: ‘To train a student in one of the world’s leading conservatoires costs about £20,000 a year. At the moment we have institution-specific funding, which fills the gap between the £9,000 and the additional cost of the intensive tuition, facilities and resources we need to provide for students.
‘I know there is a pledge from Labour to fill that gap, but that is absolutely critical to us if we are to remain competitive internationally.’
Asked whether the standard of training in conservatoires might suffer if tuition fees were reduced, Merrick said: ‘Unless that gap is filled, inevitably it will. The Labour party seems to be putting together a financial plan that will fill the gap, but if not it will compromise our ability to remain internationally competitive.’
Merrick added that conservatoires were at a disadvantage compared with universities: ‘All of our students are doing music degrees. A bigger university can spread funding across departments, whereas an independent music conservatoire cannot.’
Hilary Boulding, principal of the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, added: ‘There are particular issues and risks for courses whose cost structure is greater than the current £9,000 fee.
'For many small and specialist institutions – like conservatoires and drama schools, as well as more expensive subjects like medicine and dentistry – the real cost of these courses is well above £9,000.’
Transformation Trust seeks UK's best school bands for Act 10 competition
10 March 2015
Pupils who play music together are being encouraged to enter a competition to find the UK’s best school band, with the winner set to perform to a 10,000-strong crowd at Wembley Arena.
Education charity the Transformation Trust, which funds extra-curricular activities in schools, is calling for entries to its Act 10 competition, which is open to schools where an above-average percentage of pupils are on free school meals.
The winning band will perform on the main stage at the charity’s Rock Assembly concert and careers fair at Wembley Arena on 1 July, with ten runners-up getting the chance to play on a smaller stage.
This year’s full line-up has not yet been announced but previous performers have included Professor Green, the Saturdays, Ella Eyre and Tinchy Stryder.
Entrants to the Act 10 competition must fill in a form and provide a link to their band performing live. The bands will be judged on their business acumen as well as their musical ability and must provide detailed ideas for the marketing and launch of their debut album.
The competition was run for the first time last year and was won by Hex, a rock and rap music band from Greenwood Academy in Birmingham.
David Dawnay, project manager for Rock Assembly, said: ‘We want to get the message out to music teachers across the country who have bands in their schools.
‘Last year we had a real mix of entries, from indie to hip-hop to classical. In terms of the judging, we don’t discriminate – it’s about how well the band can play and how well their campaign has been thought about.’
The competition is open to schools where more than 21 per cent of pupils receive free schools meals. Teachers have until 24 April to submit applications on behalf of their students.
For an application form or to find out whether your school is eligible, email email@example.com
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