Latest education U-turn: ABacc plans revised
15 April 2013
The government has dropped plans which would have prevented arts and creative A levels from counting in the proposed ‘ABacc’ league tables, modelled on the controversial EBacc performance measure at GCSE.
Under the proposed ABacc, schools would have been measured by the number of students achieving ABB at A level in three of the five EBacc subjects (maths, English, science, a language and history or geography). Now, only two out of three A levels need to be in these subjects to qualify for the ABacc, leaving room for one creative subject such as music.
The Incorporated Society of Musicians, which has campaigned against the EBacc, said: ‘It is vital we now show MPs that the anti-arts Ebacc and ABacc measures should either include creative subjects or be dropped – because the Department for Education has shown how easy it is to change big things without a word.’
The Institute of Career Guidance recently called the ABacc ‘a very crude measure’, saying students ‘may be persuaded to take subjects not because they are right for the individual, but because it may lead to a higher percentage in the performance measures for the institution, regardless of the pupils’ aspirations.’
New research disputes link between music and IQ
15 April 2013
Psychologists in Canada say new research proves that music does not boost children’s IQ. Many recent reports have made a link between music lessons and a child’s academic performance, but Professor Glen Schellenberg of the University of Toronoto says that evidence linking musical children to high achievement in school can be better explained by the fact that such children usually come from privileged backgrounds and have better educated and richer parents.
Schellenberg studied the link between musical training and intelligence in a group of 130 children aged 10 to 12. ‘We were motivated by the fact that kids who take music lessons are particularly good students. In school they actually do better than you would predict from their IQ, so obviously something is going on and we thought that personality might be the thing.’
But, presenting the study at the American Association for the Advancement of Science, Schellenberg said that the link between music lessons and intelligence was mainly down to the children’s personalities. And when the researchers took into account the likely contribution of each child’s personality to their school grades and IQ scores, and removed it from the equation, the link between music lessons and intelligence was no longer apparent. ‘You can explain almost all of the data by saying that high-functioning kids take music lessons,’ said Schellenberg.
Professor Daniel Levitin, a psychologist from McGill University in Montreal, said the findings did not mean music lessons were valueless. ‘There are benefits to having a society where more people are engaged with the arts, so even if music instruction doesn’t make you a better mathematician or a better athlete, even if it only gives you enjoyment of music, I think that is a good end in and of itself,’ he said.
The report is available at aaas.org by typing ‘music’ into the site search engine.
Trinity College London invites composers to submit piano works
15 April 2013
Trinity College London is inviting composers to submit new compositions for inclusion in its 2015 piano syllabus. It will select pieces which vary in difficulty and style, from Initial level to Grade 8, and chosen works will be published in Trinity’s next series of piano repertoire books.
Compositions must be original and must not have been published previously. Arrangements will be considered, providing the original piece is available in the public domain internationally. An audio CD and a written commentary of the piece(s) can be included as part of the submission. All submissions will be acknowledged, and successful applicants will be contacted within five months of the closing date.
Works must be sent by 31 May as a printed score, accompanied by a full CV, to Vicky Yannoula, music qualifications manager, Trinity College London, 89 Albert Embankment, London SE1 7TP. Trinity is also inviting piano teachers to comment on its piano exam syllabus at surveymonkey.com/s/Trinity_Piano_survey_2013.
Trinity College London appoints new head of teacher development
22 March 2013
Trinity College London, an international examinations board for the arts and English Language, has appointed Christopher Walters as its new head of teacher development (music). Walters is currently editor of Music Teacher magazine and will step down from this role in April.
The appointment follows the announcement that Trinity College is one of two exam boards that will deliver the new Certificate for Music Educators (CME), the other being ABRSM. The CME was first called for in the government’s 2012 National Plan for Music and subsequently drafted by Arts Council England and Creative and Cultural Skills, in consultation with the music education sector.
Francesca Christmas, head of academic governance for music at Trinity College, said: ‘We are delighted to have Chris join the team here at Trinity to help us develop the CME as part of our growing programme of teacher support. Trinity has a strong track record of providing qualifications for teachers of music and other subjects, and we are confident that we can continue developing our international teacher development portfolio in order to meet the needs of the sector effectively.’
Before joining the staff at Music Teacher magazine in 2009, Walters spent eight years as an instrumental and classroom teacher and professional musician. He said: ‘It is a great honour to be offered this exciting role. I’m hugely looking forward to joining Trinity to work at the heart of music education in the vital area of teacher support.’ He added: ‘It has been a pleasure and a privilege to edit Music Teacher, and I wish my successor well.’
It has been a busy year for Music Teacher magazine and Rhinegold Publishing, with the company’s inaugural Music Education Expo and Music Teacher Awards having just taken place at London’s Barbican on 20-21 March.
Ciaran Morton, managing director of Rhinegold Publishing, said: ‘We wish Chris well in his new role and would like to thank him for the sterling work he has done in developing Music Teacher over the last few years. It’s an exciting time for Music Teacher and Rhinegold, and we look forward to seeing our work in the area of music education continue to grow.’
Rhinegold is now recruiting a new editor for Music Teacher. Interested candidates should send a CV and cover letter to the address provided.
Winners announced of inaugural Music Teacher Awards for Excellence
21 March 2013
On 20 March 2013 the winners were announced of the inaugural Music Teacher Awards for Excellence. The awards were created by Rhinegold Publishing and Music Teacher magazine to celebrate excellence in the UK’s music education sector and to recognise the projects, organisations and products that are contributing the most to the development of music education in the UK.
The awards ceremony and gala evening was sponsored by Classic FM and Yamaha, presented by Classic FM presenter Margherita Taylor, and attended by 180 guests from across the music education sector.
The Music Teacher Awards for Excellence were held on the first night of Music Education Expo, the UK’s largest exhibition for music educators. The event is being held on 20 and 21 March 2013 at London’s Barbican Centre, and has over 120 exhibitors and 3,700 pre-registered visitors.
The winners were selected from a pre-announced shortlist by an experienced panel of music educators, chaired by Christopher Walters, editor of Music Teacher.
- Best musical initiative: Young Pianist of the North International Competition
- Best vocal initiative: Gloucestershire County Youth Choir
- Best print resource: How to Create a Successful Music Ensemble
- Best digital/technological resource: JamPod
- Best school music department: King’s School, Grantham
- Hub innovation award: Portsmouth Music Hub
- Lifetime achievement award: Peter Dunkley
- Music Teacher magazine editor’s award: David Idowu Choir
- Best classical music education project: National Children’s Orchestras of Great Britain
The award winners will be featured in the May issue of Music Teacher, due out on 24 April, and available digitally from www.pocketmags.com or in print from http://rhinegold.subscribeonline.co.uk
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