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Music teachers sceptical about online tuition, The Tutor Pages report shows 

10 April 2015

Music teachers are more sceptical than most other tutors about the idea of online tuition, a report has revealed.

The Tutor Pages, an online directory of UK private tutors for academic, languages and music tuition, carried out a survey of 400 tutors about the pros and cons of online tuition.

Of all the groups surveyed, music teachers (comprising singing and instrumental teachers) were the most likely to think online tuition was not appropriate for their subject.

Among the tutors who identified themselves as teaching exclusively musical instruments or singing, 16 per cent said they used an element of online tuition in their teaching.

Of those who were not using online teaching, 27 per cent said they would like to try it.

However, 81 per cent of music teachers agreed that ‘Technology can never be a substitute for the physical presence of the tutor’.

The respondents cited several barriers to successful online tuition, including the visual and auditory limitations of the internet and the importance of being able to make physical adjustments to posture.

One respondent commented: ‘Music tuition is not just about imparting knowledge and technique. It is about building rapport, friendship and in many cases becoming a mentor and counsellor to the pupils.
‘This is especially true in singing teaching, where the voice is intrinsically linked to the emotions and state of mind of the pupil.’

Another said: ‘Results are certain to be possible but in instrumental teaching they won't compare with being in the same room as a fine teacher.’

Overall, around 80 per cent of respondents said they used Skype to tutor online. These tutors reported a number of advantages, such as flexibility in lesson scheduling and no travel costs.

Youth Music awards £6.8m of funding to education projects across the UK

9 April 2015

Project supported by Youth Music

Youth Music has announced new grant awards worth £6.8m as part of its recently refreshed grants programme.

The charity has awarded funding to 80 organisations in England supporting a wide range of projects, from a music programme for young people with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) to a choir project for young carers.
Matt Griffiths, chief executive of Youth Music, said: ‘The grant awards will provide thousands of opportunities to support young people’s lifelong engagement with music.

‘Our focus on the development of personal and social skills, as well as musicality, will ensure that many of the participants attending Youth Music projects will have a life-changing experience.’
The grants include awards to 13 strategic partner organisations which will work with Youth Music to help it achieve its aims. They include Sage Gateshead in the North East, which is set to receive £160,000 a year for up to three years.
Steve Jinski, head of youth participation at Sage Gateshead, said: ‘This funding will enable us to provide sustained musical provision for young people who would not otherwise have the opportunity.

‘Our focus will be on those who are not in employment, education or training, those who are looked after and those with special educational needs.

‘It will enable us to make real progress not just in terms of music-making but also in helping participants to become more confident and resilient, qualities that can be carried into all aspects of their lives.’

Other organisations that will receive funding include ADHD Solutions CIC in Leicester, which has been awarded £17,400 for a music project focused on children with ADHD (Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder).

Youth Music supports projects around the country that provide music-making opportunities for children and young people facing significant challenges in their lives.

The charity has recently restructured its grant-making process following a review by Arts Council England, led by Derek Avis, in light of the new National Plan for Music Education.


Two charities awarded 2015/16 Rhinegold Charity Fund

8 April 2015

Young Classical Artists Trust (YCAT) and Live Music Now have been named joint recipients of 2015/16’s Rhinegold Charity Fund, offering £10,000 of advertising across Rhinegold’s classical music and education publications, websites and services.
Rhinegold Charity Fund chairman Stephen Turvey said: ‘We have chosen YCAT and Live Music Now because, although significantly different in their focus, we passionately believe in the work of both charities. We also felt that their thoughtful and detailed applications clearly demonstrated a strategic and organisational maturity that would fully make use of the support offered by the fund.’

Both recipients spoke of the impact they hoped the charity fund would have on their organisations: YCAT’s chief executive Alasdair Tait said: ‘The impact and profile the fund provides will directly benefit our exceptional young artists at a crucial point in their career, whilst introducing YCAT’s unique work to a wider, international audience.’; with Ian Stoutzker, founder chairman of Live Music Now, adding: ‘We hope that working with Rhinegold will give us the opportunity to publicly celebrate our wonderful musicians, and encourage more people to become involved in this important and ground-breaking work.’

Entries for the 2016/17 Charity Fund will open in autumn 2015. The fund is open to all charities within the music industry; full details will be available from

Drum teacher in angry protest after primary school charges him £80 a month

8 April 2015

Angry: Stuart Ellerton

A private music teacher from North Yorkshire has spoken out after a primary school began charging him £80 a month to teach on the premises.

Stuart Ellerton, a drum teacher from Darlington, used to teach a regular cohort of children at Whinstone Primary in Ingleby Barwick during school time.

However, last year the school began charging him for the time he spent there. Ellerton has left the school in protest and has spoken to the local press about the ‘damaging and unfair’ charges.

‘I left in protest as I could not continue to be a part of this immoral, ludicrous and grossly unfair practice,’ he told Music Teacher.

‘This is potentially an incredibly dangerous situation. Imagine all Key Stage 2 schools in the country doing this.'

Ellerton said the Musicians' Union had written to Mike Poppitt, headteacher of Whinstone Primary, to inform him that the practice may be illegal.

‘I have been teaching since the age of 18 professionally and have never encountered such an unfair system,' he added. 'I teach at five other schools and even the heads there have expressed their disbelief.’

Ellerton called for a change in the law to ensure the practice does not become widespread. ‘This could put thousands of superb high quality and experienced tutors of music completely out of work, leaving less experienced vultures to pick up the work,’ he said.

Poppitt said Whinstone Primary had a duty to make the best use of its assets and the number of children receiving music lessons in the school was on the increase.

Government announces new centralised copyright license system

7 April 2015

Politicians have agreed a new system that they say will make it easier for schools to apply for music copyright licenses.

The government confirmed last week that copyright licences will be held centrally from now on, freeing schools from the burden of applying for them independently.

Previously, licences for the use of music had to be bought individually by schools and local authorities, often involving expensive and time-consuming negotiations.

The copyright licences will cover a wide variety of uses of music, including the recording of pupils’ performances on CD and DVD, school discos, radios in the staffroom and even holding music on telephones.  

The latest deals follow previous agreements over the past two years on rights to use films, TV shows and newspapers in schools.

Schools minister David Laws said: ‘We want to do all we can to support [schools] to reduce the burden of unnecessary tasks so they can channel their resources into what is most important – educating young people.  

‘The simplifying of copyright licensing in schools is another example of this, giving schools across the country the freedom to work on raising attainment levels further while saving millions of pounds.’

However, some leading music education practitioners have questioned the importance of the announcement.

Music teacher and blogger Jane Werry said: ‘This might put some people’s minds at rest but it will not make a huge difference to what they do.

‘Many teachers are not 100 per cent sure whether they are working within the law or not. There are massive grey areas around this stuff which we have been operating in for years.

‘If there is going to be any change, it should be to make more explicit what is and isn’t legal.’

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