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Create's Exploring Sounds project to partner with mainstream schools

29 May 2015

A project to deliver music workshops for children with special educational needs (SEN) is being expanded into mainstream schools thanks to a three-year grant from the Queen’s Trust.

Exploring Sounds was launched two years ago by Create, a charity that aims to use the power of the arts to transform the lives of disadvantaged and vulnerable people.

The project began life when Nicky Goulder, founder and chief executive of Create, was awarded £30,000 for winning the YOU/Clarins Most Dynamisante Woman of the Year award.

Goulder chose to invest the money in a sensory music programme for six SEN schools across the country catering for children with a range of issues including autism, behavioural difficulties, physical disabilities and profound learning needs.

In its first two years, Exploring Sounds gave 276 disabled children and young people access to music-making sessions with seven professional musicians. Now, the project is set to expand thanks to the new funding.

Starting in June, Exploring Sounds will pair the SEN schools with mainstream schools to encourage the students to use music to communicate with each other and make new friends.

The project will be incorporated into Create’s Creative Connection programme, which aims to introduce SEN pupils to children in mainstream schools through various creative activities.

Schools taking part will include Breakspeare School and Rickmansworth School in Watford for music-making and set design; Grange School and Loreto High School in Manchester for composing workshops; and Sandgate School and Queen Katherine School in Cumbria for music theatre.
Goulder said: ‘We are committed to developing long-term partnerships with the schools with which we work, and this funding has enabled us to build on our relationships with these SEN schools.

‘The need for high quality creative music-making was clear, as were the benefits gained by the children from working with our musicians.

‘A new element of the programme has been to bring young people with disabilities together with non-disabled young people from local schools, using music to develop relationships, strengthen communication and break down barriers.

‘Music is such a powerful tool in enabling young people to socialise with one another without having to depend on words, something that can really bond people together.’

YCAT selects three young artists for representation

27 May 2015

Savitri Grier

A violinist, a pianist and a guitarist have become the latest young musicians to be selected for representation by the Young Classical Artists Trust (YCAT).
Savitri Grier (violin), Daniel Lebhardt (piano) and Sean Shibe (guitar) were chosen from eight finalists following performances at the Wigmore Hall in London on 21 May.

YCAT provides management, support, advice and performance opportunities for a select roster of young artists, acting as a stepping stone between study and a professional career.

Born in 1992, Savitri Grier read Music at Oxford University and is now a postgraduate student at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, where she studies with David Takeno. 

Hungarian pianist Daniel Lebhardt, 23, is studying for his Master’s at the Royal Academy of Music with Pascal Nemirovski.

Born in Edinburgh in 1992 of Scottish and Japanese heritage, Sean Shibe was the first guitarist to be selected for the BBC Radio 3 New Generation Artists scheme in 2012 and is a graduate of the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.

Royal College of Music tops Guardian university league table for music

26 May 2015, Katy Wright

The Royal College of Music (RCM) has been ranked first in the 2016 Guardian university league table for music.

The RCM was the only institution to score maximum marks of 100 in the table, which compares how final-year music students at a number of different institutions perceive their course. 

The Guildhall School of Music and Drama and the Royal Academy of Music ranked sixth and seventh respectively. The Royal Welsh College placed 21st, Trinity Laban Conservatoire 28th and the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland 35th.

The Guardian said: ‘Students at London’s Royal College of Music have no excuse not to feel inspired ... Facilities are top-notch and the RCM is aware that it has a duty to prepare its students for viable careers in a difficult industry, not just teach them how to make beautiful music.’

The RCM’s career score was also the highest among universities offering music, with 97% of graduates in graduate-level jobs or further study within six months of graduation. 

Individual investment in each student was scored 10/10 (which was also awarded to the universities of Edinburgh, Birmingham, Cambridge and East London).

Professor Colin Lawson, director of the RCM, said: ‘The RCM continues to be a natural first choice for talented students from around the world and I am delighted that the 2016 Guardian University League Table confirms our position as the UK’s leading institution for music education.’

Edinburgh University (ranked second) was the highest placing university, scoring 99.4 overall. Course satisfaction was highest at Sheffield University, which placed 8th. Brunel University came top for teaching satisfaction, with 99.2% of students satisfied with the teaching, while students at the University of Derby were most satisfied with feedback.

The Guardian university league table for Music 2016

Chetham's student Yuanfan Yang wins Cleveland piano competition

26 May 2015

A student at Chetham’s School of Music in Manchester has won first prize in the senior division of the Cleveland International Piano Competition’s Young Artists Competition.

Yuanfan Yang, 18, is a student in the upper sixth form at Chetham’s, where he studies with Murray McLachlan.

He wins $25,000 and a debut recital at the Frick Collection in New York on 13 August.

The Cleveland International Piano Competition’s Young Artists Competition was launched in 2005 as a one-day competition for Ohio piano students.

It was expanded this year to include international pianists and follow the same format as the main competition, one of the most prestigious music contests in the world.

McLachlan said: ‘I have been so pleased and delighted to see Yuanfan’s amazing progress and development as an artist, musician, pianist and young person over seven years of teaching him at Chetham’s.

‘He is a phenomenal worker and is blessed with exceptional musical instincts, co-ordination and natural facility.

‘Already his diary is incredibly full and I expect him to continue developing the international career that has already started in the decades ahead.

‘As a person, Yuanfan has proved to have sensitivity, modesty and integrity and is a great ambassador for Chetham’s.’

Yang was also awarded first prize at the 2014 International Franz Liszt Competition for Young Pianists in Weimar and won the keyboard category of the BBC Young Musician of the Year in 2012.

Manchester’s RNCM introduces principal study recorder options

22 May 2015

The Royal Northern College of Music (RNCM) in Manchester will introduce principal study options in recorder from September at both undergraduate and postgraduate level.
Recorder students will be part of the college’s historical performance department, led by fellows in historical performance Roger Hamilton and Harvey Davies.
Lessons will be given by recorder player Chris Orton and a newly appointed international tutor in recorder, to be announced next year.

Students will also benefit from the RNCM’s partnership with the Academy of Ancient Music.
Paul Goodey, vice-principal (performance) at the RNCM, said: ‘Two years ago, the RNCM appointed two fellows in historical performance who engage with all students, in all schools of study.

‘Their work is closely linked to the instrument-specific training given by the tutors of early instruments.
‘This work is now firmly embedded in the curriculum and has resulted in some outstanding performances ranging from chamber music through to projects with orchestras and choirs, and full-length operas by composers including Handel and Monteverdi.
‘The college now wishes to enhance this work with the introduction of principal study recorder.’
Recorder students will also receive instruction in contemporary music and opportunities to collaborate with students in the school of composition to create new repertoire.

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