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Free tickets available for Music Education Expo 2014!

3 September 2013

Following the success of last year's Music Education Expo, which attracted well over 2,000 visitors, the 2014 event will be taking place over Friday 7 and Saturday 8 February 2014.

Members of the music teaching community are warmly invited to come to the Barbican Centre's Exhibition Hall for two days of learning, browsing, networking and playing. The conference programme will feature over 50 sessions designed for a range of teachers - including primary, secondary, SEN, and instrumental / vocal tutors. Details of the full programme will be released later this month.

Entrance is free for those who pre-register online - visit the Music Education Expo website for more details and to book your free ticket!

Apprentices 'failed by careers advice'

30 August 2013

Latest research by the National Union of Students has revealed clear failings in the provision of careers advice from schools, colleges and universities about apprenticeships.

Although the government has recently campaigned to promote apprenticeship schemes and vocational courses, almost 50% of respondents reported their careers advice to have been of a poor standard. 20% of those working as apprentices have never received advice from a careers service, and a whopping 50% of university students have never even been presented with apprenticeship opportunities available to them.

Those young people who have managed to find information about apprenticeships opportunities are further put off the idea by the fact that minimum wage for apprentices is a mere £2.65 per hour. This is less than half the national minimum wage for those aged over 21 at £6.91.

Despite this, 20% of higher education students still believe that taking up an apprenticeship is a great way of getting work experience, and would consider it as an option in the future.

NUS president Toni Pearce commented from the student media summit: 'Education has changed, and the old route that ends with a three year full time undergraduate degree no longer needs to be norm. The lack of proper careers advice about the available study options and pathways to work is failing young people. Students need the information and tools to thrive, whatever their learning journey. We need a no holds barred review of information, advice and guidance to ensure it is fit for purpose, fit for the twenty-first century and fit the realities of students’ lives.'

Hot Tickets for Schools

28 August 2013

A new 'one-stop shop' website is going live on 9 September which aims to simplify research and bookings for schools trips.

Launched by AKA, Hot Tickets For Schools will provide a fully searchable range of events, including musicals, exhibitions and plays, alongside advice and resources on how to support this trip in the classroom. The website will also help teachers ensure that they are getting the best available rates for schools tickets – not just for the production itself, but also for travel options to the venue and local school-friendly restaurant and hostel prices. 

Nitasha Rajoo, subject leader for Drama at The City Academy, Hackney, was part of the Hot Tickets For Schools focus group. ‘As many teachers will all too well know, it can be a struggle to find enough hours in the day to do all the things that you’d like. That’s why websites like Hot Tickets for Schools are an invaluable resource. With this one-stop portal, it’s never been easier to go and see a top show or attraction with my students and make the experience seamlessly part of lesson plans.’    

The new website will also feature a forum for teachers to share reviews and tips from their experiences, and there will be an option to sign up to receive latest news on shows and events suitable for their students. 


Piano fest - coming soon!

27 August 2013

Over 40 models of Yamaha pianos are going to be available to try out in London and Liverpool over the next few months.


Exclusive selection sessions will be held, where people can book 45 minute slots to have a look at the latest instruments in privacy, with advice on hand from leading technicians and piano specialists. 

The sessions will run between 9.30am and 7.30pm on 11-12 October 2013 at London’s Southbank Centre, and on 17-18 January 2014 at St George’s Hall, Liverpool. The selection sessions are aimed at individuals as well as institutions. In line with Yamaha’s ‘piano upgrade’ initiative, all buyers will be offered a part-exchange deal on the value of their existing instrument. 

Yamaha’s Leanne Barrell comments: ‘These selection sessions provide the most comprehensive range of Yamaha pianos in the UK and are a rare opportunity for pianists to try multiple variations of the same models.’

Amongst the pianos on display will be the acclaimed Yamaha CFX concert grand, as well as a wide range from the CX series. A number of high-end upright pianos will also be available to view, with options including Yamaha’s ‘SH’ silent technology for practice with headphones.
To book your private session, email craig.hughes@gmx.yamaha.com, or call 01908369224.

Conservatoire and Opera House Collaboration

23 August 2013

The Guildhall School of Music & Drama, together with the Royal Opera House, have just announced plans for their first Doctoral Composer-in-Residence. Starting this September 2013, composer Philip Venables will spend three years researching and writing a major operatic work, for performance in the Linbury Studio Theatre the end of the residency. 

This collaboration is the first example of an opera company joining forces with a conservatoire to offer a Composer-in-Residence studentship which leads to a doctoral degree. This new initiative will be part of Guildhall’s existing doctoral programme, fully funded by the conservatoire and supported by the ROH. While the idea of a resident composer has long been established in the world of orchestral music development, it is a fairly new notion in opera. 

Philip Venables said of his appointment: ‘I'm really excited about starting work on this opera with the Royal Opera House and the Guildhall School – it’s a potential game changer for me, and a chance, in a structured and supported way, to really explore what opera means to me, to be completely inventive, bold and daring and to present the results of that on a high-profile stage… I know there's going to be a lot of collaboration with writers and hopefully some exciting and diverse cameo performers. It'll be great to be able to try everything out over the next three years at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama. Bring it on!’ 

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