Dame Evelyn Glennie awarded honorary RPS membership
22 September 2015
Dame Evelyn GlenniePhilipp Rathmer
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.’
Sir David Willcocks (30 December 1919 – 17 September 2015)
17 September 2015
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.’
Tileyard Studios and Youth Music announce charity partnership
15 September 2015
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