'Regulation needed' to stop abuse following Philip Pickett case
4 March 2015
An external regulatory body is needed to prevent further cases of sexual abuse in the UK’s conservatoires, according to a lecturer at one of London’s top universities.
Ian Pace, the pianist and head of performance at City University, said the case of Philip Pickett, who was jailed in February after being found guilty of raping two students at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama (pictured), was ‘the tip of the iceberg’.
However, he said a culture of silence was preventing people from coming forward. ‘At some conservatoires, I have heard of threatening behaviour from senior management preventing people from going to the police,’ he said.
In his blog, Desiring Progress, Pace has written a set of guidelines he believes conservatoires should follow to prevent further abuse. But he said external regulation was needed if music colleges were to get to the root of the problem.
‘In the classical music profession as a whole, patronage is held by so few people in a manner which is in no sense transparent or open to criticism,’ he said. ‘There is no way of holding people to account. We need an external body to regulate it. There are so many informal networks that it is eminently corruptible. I know this would not be popular, but think it necessary.’
Pickett, a recorder player and early music ensemble leader, was jailed for 11 years in February in relation to historic sex offences that occurred in the 70s and 80s during his time as a freelance teacher at the Guildhall.
The Old Bailey handed down a guilty verdict for two rapes and two indecent assaults on two schoolgirls and one student between 1979 and 1983, perpetrated in sound-proofed practice rooms. Judge Charles Wide called the behaviour a ‘gross abuse of trust’ and said the impact on the victims must have been ‘very great indeed’.
The Guildhall released the following statement: ‘Although these events took place several decades ago, this does not diminish our utter shock that a professional music teacher could abuse the trust placed in him by the School and its students.
‘The Guildhall school wholeheartedly welcomes the verdicts. Justice has been done and our thoughts are with the victims of these dreadful crimes.
‘The Guildhall school takes the duty of care of its students extremely seriously. Robust safeguarding procedures are in place at the school to ensure safe learning environments for all students and these measures are regularly reviewed.’
A full article by Ian Pace will be published in the April edition of Music Teacher
Petition launched to save Wiltshire Music Service
2 March 2015
The petition, which was launched on Sunday evening after the council said it planned to close Wiltshire Music Service as part of a plan to save £30m, attracted 200 signatures in its first two hours.
It says: ‘Without the music service, children across Wiltshire, as well as their families, may miss out on the joy of music and the inspiring music sharing opportunities it offers.
‘Withdrawal of the music service would seriously discriminate against low and middle-income families and those living in rural communities. Music should not just be for the wealthy – we’d miss out on so much undiscovered talent.
‘According to articles in the press, the council has said the withdrawal of funding will not have any impact upon the provision of music lessons in schools. However, when they are washing their hands of all control, they absolutely cannot know that this will be the case – teachers may be forced to leave the area to find more stable employment.’
In February, several local councils announced cuts to their spending on music provision. Bromley Council has proposed cutting its annual grant to Bromley Youth Music Trust from an existing £305,650 to £76,000 in 2015/16, and to zero from 2016/17. More than 10,000 people have signed an online petition against the cuts.
Elsewhere, Redbridge Council has dropped plans to cut its contribution to Redbridge Music Service by £166,650 following a local campaign.
Wiltshire council cabinet member Laura Mayes told the local Gazette & Herald newspaper: ‘I can definitely say that music lessons for children will not change. The only thing that is changing is the exact way the service is delivered.
‘At the moment the council acts as a bridge between the music teachers and the schools but from the start of the autumn term schools will liaise directly with Wiltshire Education Music Hub which is mainly funded by the Arts Council.’
Arts education debated in BBC panel show
2 March 2015
The importance of education in the battle against elitism in the arts was among the issues debated during the BBC’s Arts Question Time programme on Sunday.
Six panellists joined an audience of arts lovers and presenter Kirsty Wark (pictured) at the Radio Theatre in Broadcasting House, London, for the Question Time-style debate, which was broadcast on BBC Four.
To a question from an audience member about the danger of careers in the arts being available only to the privileged and wealthy, novelist Jeanette Winterson responded: ‘It starts with education, and it has to. We have to make kids in schools feel that art is for them.
‘Every child on this planet that ever was, across time, is born creative,’ added the author of Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit. ‘They’ll paint a picture and stick it on the fridge; they’ll make a kingdom out of pots and pans; they’ll do a little dance; they’ll tell a story. That’s hard wired, it’s our creative DNA, and we knock it out of them. We say, that’s not for you, it’s elitist, it’s only for people with money. And it’s absolutely false.’
Wark made reference to a report published in February by the Warwick Commission on the Future of Cultural Value, which showed a marked decline in the number of children taking arts subjects at GCSE.
Artist Cornelia Parker said: ‘My daughter is 13 and starting to think a about her GCSEs at the Camden School for Girls. I did a lecture there and a lot of the students were saying, I’m not going to do A-level art because it’s going to bring our school down, it’s not going to be useful as an A-level.’ She added that she felt arts subjects were being ‘demoted’.
The other panellists were Rupert Goold, artistic director of the Almeida Theatre in London; Jamal Edwards, founder of youth culture channel SBTV; Charles Saumarez Smith, chief executive of the Royal Academy of Arts; and Yancey Strickler, co-founder of crowdfunding website Kickstarter.
More 'evidence' to support the benefits of music education
2 March 2015
A report on the benefits of music education has produced ‘compelling evidence’ that learning music can help children develop a wide range of other skills, according to its author.
The Power of Music: a Research Synthesis of the Impact of Actively Making Music on the Intellectual, Social and Personal Development of Children and Young People was produced by Susan Hallam for the Music Education Council (MEC) and published by the International Music Education Research Centre (iMerc). It brings together research evidence that has accrued over recent years, supporting the argument that every child and young person should have access to quality music making opportunities, and calls for schools to ensure that all pupils receive a thorough and broad-ranging music education.
Hallam said: ‘The research shows there is compelling evidence of the benefits of music education on a wide range of skills: listening skills, which support the development of language skills, awareness of phonics and enhanced literacy; spatial reasoning, which supports the development of some mathematical skills; and, where musical activities involve working in groups, a wide range of personal and social skills which also serve to enhance overall academic attainment even when measures of intelligence are taken into account.’
The benefits were shown to be greatest when musical activities started early and continued over a long period of time. It was also noted that the teaching of music had to be of high quality for the benefits to emerge.
Winners of Expo Fanfare competition revealed
19 February 2015
Garrett Norton and Daniel Hall are the winners of our inaugural Fanfare Composition Competition and their pieces will be performed at the Music Education Expo on 13 March.
Students in two categories were asked to submit a fanfare for up to eight instruments, comprising up to four B flat trumpets and up to four B flat tenor trombones. We received some really fantastic entries, and the judges had a tricky time picking our two winners. Daniel Hall was the winner in the 18 and under section. Hall, 18, impressed the judges with his ‘sophisticated approach to harmonic rhythm and musical gesture’. Garrett Norton, 13, won the 16 and under group. The judges said: ‘At just 13 years of age, Garrett Norton has produced a sparkling flourish that balances an intuitive simplicity with a satisfyingly rich texture.’
Premieres of both pieces will be given on the second day of the Music Education Expo, which takes place at Barbican Exhibition Hall 2. The performances will take place on the balcony at 12.15pm.
The fanfares will be performed by young musicians from Music for Youth, and they will play on plastic instruments provided by Korg.
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