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Teaching Materials 2015

British Music Education Yearbook

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Music Teacher Guide about Music and Dyslexia

Latest News

Steve Reich's Clapping Music app launched

9 July 2015, Katy Wright

A new smartphone app –  available to download free on iTunes from today –  challenges users to learn and play an iconic piece of minimalist music while contributing to academic research.

Steve Reich’s Clapping Music is based on the 1972 work for two performers. The four-minute piece is built from a single rhythmic pattern, with one performer varying the pattern, shifting it by one beat every 12 repetitions.

The app allows iOS device owners to take the part of the second performer, tapping their device screen in time with coloured discs which light up to indicate the shifting beat patterns. If users fall behind or their level of accuracy drops, they have to start again.

It is more than just a game, though – anonymous user data will be analysed by researchers from Queen Mary University of London to explore the factors involved in learning rhythm. The institution wants to explore whether digital gaming technology can teach specific rhythmic skills, and whether this could attract a wider audience.

There are also educational in-app videos explaining the compositional technique behind Clapping Music and Electric Counterpoint (part of the current GCSE Music syllabus), and a video of Steve Reich talking about the works.

Players who make it to the app’s hardest level are in with a chance to perform Clapping Music on stage with the London Sinfonietta. A selection of those who submit high scores to the ensemble by 30 July will be chosen for a masterclass on 1 August, with one winner going on to perform in the Clore Ballroom at 6pm.

Clapping Music app

BBC 10 Pieces event at Hampton Court Palace

9 July 2015, Katy Wright

On 7 July 2015, 300 Year 4 and 5 pupils from nine schools across London joined forces for a project based on Handel’s Zadok the Priest

The event culminated in an event at Chapel Royal, Hampton Court Palace with a choir comprising nine members of Genesis Sixteen, nine members of The Sixteen, and choristers of the Chapel Royal, conducted by Eamonn Dougan and Robbie Jacobs (Genesis Sixteen conducting scholar).

The pupils, from Tower Hamlets and Croydon, visited Handel House before writing lyrics and music for a song dedicated to Princess Charlotte. Paul Mealor made a video advising the children on how to write music for a royal occasion, while the Duchess of Cambridge sent a message to wish them well.

Photography by Richard Champness, with the gracious permission of HM the Queen 

BBC 10 Pieces

Trumpeter wins first Joan Trimble Bursary Award

9 July 2015, Katy Wright

Adv.'ory Committee Member and daughter of the late Joan Trimble Joanna McVey with Jason McAuley
Adv.'ory Committee Member and daughter of the late Joan Trimble Joanna McVey with Jason McAuleyFermanagh Trust

Trumpeter Jason McAuley has been awarded the first Joan Trimble Bursary.

The 16-year-old will put the grant towards membership fees for three different orchestras, providing him with experience to support his applications to the Royal Colleges of Music in 2016. He is to play with the National Youth Orchestra of Ireland in the 2015/16 season, and will also perform with the Ulster Youth Orchestra and the National Youth Brass Band of Great Britain next summer.

McAuley said: 'I am incredibly grateful to have been awarded this Joan Trimble Bursary as it will allow me to avail of these courses and gain experience with three renowned orchestras which will open up a number of opportunities. It’s fantastic that such a scheme exists to support aspiring young musicians.'

Caroline Gant, daughter of the late Joan Trimble and chair of the bursary awards, said: 'We are delighted to have been able to grant this first bursary to such a promising young musician.  We wish Jason every success in the future.'

The Joan Trimble Bursary Awards, administered by the Fermanagh Trust, were set up in 2002 in memory of the Enniskillen born musician and composer. The scheme relaunched for 2015, awarding bursaries to young individuals to support training, education and practical experience in a number of fields.

The Joan Trimbell Awards

Centre for Young Musicians to open new division in Saffron Walden

9 July 2015

The Centre for Young Musicians (CYM), a division of London’s Guildhall School of Music and Drama, is opening a new Saturday school in Saffron Walden, Essex.

The Saffron Centre for Young Musicians, which will open in October, has been created in partnership with Saffron Walden County High School, Saffron Hall and the Essex Music Education Hub.

It will be open to young people throughout the area and will have a bursary scheme to promote access. Kate Goatman, a teacher and graduate of the Guildhall School, has been appointed head of centre.

The curriculum will be based on the principles of the CYM, founded in 1970. More than 420 young musicians aged eight to 18 attend the CYM’s main Saturday Centre at Morley College in London.

The Saffron Centre will be the CYM’s third outside of London. The Norfolk Centre for Young Musicians opened in September 2013 and the Hestercombe Centre for Young Musicians, near Taunton in Somerset, opened in March 2014.

Stephen Dagg, director of the CYM, said: ‘It gives me great pleasure to announce the opening of the Saffron Centre for Young Musicians.

This partnership between the Guildhall School, Essex Music Education Hub, Saffron Walden County High School and the prestigious Saffron Hall precisely reflects the National Plan for Music Education’s commitment to collaborative working across the under-18s sector.’

Ray Gooding, Essex County Council’s cabinet member for education and lifelong learning, said: ‘I’m thrilled that the hub is involved in this exciting venture.

‘Music education is evolving rapidly in this country, evidenced by this dynamic collaboration.

‘It’s great to have a partnership between a local school with a strong reputation for music, the county hub and a well-renowned organisation like the CYM.’

For more information about Saffron Centre for Young Musicians, please email

Birmingham Conservatoire calls for donations to its 'Arco' project

8 July 2015, Katy Wright

Samson Diamond, Arco ambassador and leader of the Odeion String Quartet
Samson Diamond, Arco ambassador and leader of the Odeion String Quartet

Birmingham Conservatoire has launched a crowdfunding campaign to raise money for its 'Arco' project, in which conservatoire students will teach under-privileged children in South Africa via video conferencing. 

The project will initially run for a year, with Birmingham Conservatoire musicians acting as role models for young people living in deprived areas.

In order for Arco to take place, 150 people are needed to pledge £30 each in the next 30 days. The money will be used to purchase instruments and live streaming equipment, as well as supporting a music festival at Cape Gate MIAGI Centre for Music in Soweto, South Africa.

Over the coming year, 24 students from MIAGI will participate in weekly instrument lessons with students and recent graduates of Birmingham Conservatoire via video conference. Masterclasses, workshops and performances which take place at Birmingham Conservatoire will be streamed live for the students at MIAGI and the wider Soweto community. The project will conclude with a music festival held at the Cape Gate Centre for Music in 2016.

Louise Lansdown, head of strings at the Birmingham Conservatoire, said: 'Arco is a project of sharing, learning, building and inspiring and one that will be a privilege to be a part of. The impossible is now possible due to the incredible development of technology and we are able forge worlds together around the common denominator of music.'

Arco Crowdfunder page

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