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Students achieve diploma success at Hertford's Simon Balle School

7 May 2015

Six students at a state school in Hertford have achieved London College of Music (LCM) diploma qualifications.

Hugo Maclean, Stuart Bowden, Alex Salter, Sam Trendall and Nick Stokes all took the jazz saxophone performance DipLCM, while Niamh Parris took the classical saxophone performance DipLCM.

The students, who are all in Year 13 at Simon Balle School, were taught by lead instrumental teacher Clare Taylor, who directs the school’s 70-strong Concert Band.

Mark Taylor, director of music at the school, said it had a long tradition of participation in music and almost one in three students were learning a musical instrument.

‘Our diploma candidates were inspired by former diploma students who have gone on to excel at music college,’ he said.

‘Music is the lifeblood of Simon Balle School. The discipline, hard work, team work and musical family that we have are so important to all our musicians.

‘For many, it is their best memory of school life. For some each year, it is the stepping stone to music college and a career.’

Two of the students are hoping to pursue careers in music, while the others intended to continue playing alongside their studies.

Southbank Centre War Requiem project wins RPS Music Award

6 May 2015

© Hana Zushi-Rhodes

The Southbank Centre’s Britten’s War Requiem project has won the Learning and Participation award at the Royal Philharmonic Society (RPS) Music Awards. 

The project, which took place in November 2014, was part of a day of activities to mark the 100th anniversary of World War One.  

Talks and workshops were held throughout the day and in the evening the work was performed by the Royal Academy of Music Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Marin Alsop (pictured). 

The judges said: ‘Britten’s War Requiem at the Southbank Centre was a truly immersive experience introducing, exploring and ultimately performing Britten’s epic War Requiem.   

‘An ambitious project encompassing talks, participatory workshops, films and the creation of a new children’s choir. The Southbank team – including the committed input of Marin Alsop – drew participants of all ages and experience into the creative and rehearsal process.  

‘The project reflected the profound nature of Britten’s work and was distinctive for its overall quality and its attention to detail.’ 

Other winners included the Philharmonia Orchestra’s iOrchestra, which won the Audiences and Engagement award, and the Royal Opera’s Opera Machine, which took the Creative Communication prize.

BBC Ten Pieces extended to secondary schools

6 May 2015, Katy Wright

The BBC’s Ten Pieces will be extended to secondary schools from October 2015.

The initiative, which has worked with nearly half of UK primary schools, launched in the autumn term of 2014 with a week of free cinema screenings for primary schools across the country. 

The scheme invites young people to respond to a selection of works through music, dance or digital art. 

A new film will feature footage of the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra performing the chosen pieces (which the BBC will announce within weeks).

Cinema booking for secondary schools opened last month, with screenings taking place from October. Curriculum-linked resources will be available on the Ten Pieces website, with DVDs posted to schools on request.

BBC Ten Pieces

One in four adults keen to learn a musical instrument, NIACE survey reveals

5 May 2015

© Shutterstock

Almost a quarter of adults would like to learn a musical instrument, according to a survey by the National Institute of Adult Continuing Education (NIACE).

In the run-up to its Festival of Learning, which takes place throughout May and June, NIACE asked 1,018 adults which skills they would be most interested in learning.

Learning to play a musical instrument was the second most popular answer, cited by 23 per cent of respondents. The top answer was baking, chosen by 39 per cent.

Fifty per cent of the respondents polled said they would be prepared to take up a course to enable them to improve their skills, with 60 per cent of 25 to 34 year olds interested in taking up a course.

Singing was chosen by 17 per cent of respondents. Other areas of interest included photography, languages and dance.

David Hughes, chief executive of NIACE, said: ‘All of the top skills people would love to learn most are about people expressing themselves, who they are, what they stand for.

‘The confidence learning those skills brings is crucial for everyone in life and in work. That’s why we will continue to campaign for lifelong learning to be truly accessible for everyone.’

Paul McManus, chief executive Music for All, said: ‘We know that making music enriches and changes lives. You are never too old to start to learn (or return to playing) an instrument.’

The Festival of Learning started on 1 May and culminates in Adult Learners’ Week on 13-19 June.

Schools receive donated instruments after Don't Stop the Music campaign

1 May 2015

Primary schools across the UK have received £1m worth of donated musical instruments thanks to a campaign led by pianist James Rhodes.
Rhodes launched the Don’t Stop the Music campaign last year to encourage the British public to donate their unwanted musical instruments to local Oxfam stores.

His efforts were filmed for a two-part Channel 4 documentary, Don’t Stop the Music, which was broadcast in September.

The campaign resulted in the donation of 6,500 instruments, which have now been delivered by parcel carrier Yodel to 170 primary schools across the country.

Don’t Stop the Music was supported by celebrities including Paul McCartney, Jessie J, Damon Albarn, Tom Jones, Tinie Tempah and Ronnie Wood.
Rhodes said: ‘Young children have a hunger and thirst to learn music and we must give every child the opportunity to learn a musical instrument. 

‘The campaign has helped make this a reality for thousands of kids up and down the country.’
Lin Phillips, headteacher of Falconbrook Primary School in Battersea, London, which received some of the instruments, commented: ‘Thanks to the brilliant Don’t Stop the Music campaign, we have started a new band which gives the children another opportunity to play in assemblies and concerts.

‘I’d like to thank all those who donated instruments, as well as James Rhodes, Yodel and all those who made the amnesty happen. You’ve helped change lives and your instruments have gone to a fantastic new home.’


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