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

5 May 2015

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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.’


Youth music in Birmingham receives funding boost

30 April 2015, Katy Wright

The National Foundation for Youth Music has awarded mac birmingham £153k for 2015, with further grants of £292k to be made over the following two years.

The ‘mac makes music’ programme offers workshops in music technology, song writing, ensembles and performance for children and young people who may not otherwise have access to such experiences. The programme aims to nurture talent and raise aspirations in young people.

Matt Griffiths, chief executive officer of Youth Music, said: ’We’re really delighted to be working with mac birmingham as one of our strategic partners to deliver an exciting programme of music-making opportunities for children and young people in Birmingham and surrounding areas. These three-year grants will really help to develop and sustain music-making locally, taking our investment in the West Midlands to £776,500 in this funding round.’

The charity has awarded grants to 80 music organisations around the country and currently supports over 400 projects.

Youth Music

LSO On Track to perform in Trafalgar Square

30 April 2015, Katy Wright

Kevin Leighton

Young musicians from the London Symphony Orchestra's On Track programme will perform in Trafalgar Square in a high-profile concert on 17 May.

Those participating in the On Track scheme will join members of the LSO and musicians from the Guildhall School for performances of Shostakovich's Jazz Suites (arranged by Gareth Glyn).

LSO On Track is an initiative in which young instrumentalists from East London receive coaching from LSO musicians. The scheme is a partnership with the music services of 10 London boroughs: Barking & Dagenham, Bexley, Greenwich, Hackney, Havering, Lewisham, Newham, Redbridge, Tower Hamlets, and Waltham Forest.

The all-Shostakovich programme also includes the composer's Festive Overture and Symphony No 1, with Valery Gergiev conducting the LSO. Violinist Nicola Benedetti will perform movements from Shostakovich's first violin concerto.

Munira Mirza, deputy mayor for education and culture, said: 'I am delighted to welcome the LSO to Trafalgar Square for what has become a much-loved event in London’s musical calendar. This year promises to be another unforgettable event with the LSO playing with their talented young musicians and guest soloist Nicola Benedetti, a young talent herself and Ambassador to the Mayor’s Music Fund. I am deeply committed to championing music and music education and I look forward to the LSO and their aspiring young musicians sharing this free concert with Londoners.'

The performance will begin at 6.30, but it is recommended to arrive at least an hour early. For further details, click here.

LSO On Track

Education software provider FFT rolls out new dashboard system

30 April 2015

Secondary school teachers can track the performance of their pupils online thanks to a new system from education software provider FFT.

FFT Aspire was launched at the beginning of this academic year and has since been phased in across the country, with the rollout completed last month.

The technology uses a set of interactive dashboards to help schools evaluate pupil performance, identify strengths and weaknesses and set targets for the future. Dashboards are currently available from KS1 to KS4, with KS5 to follow later this year. 

FFT’s data was previously available to only to one specialist per school and the information was not easily accessible to individual subject teachers.

The new dashboard system allows subject leaders to easily pinpoint strengths and weaknesses, helping them to predict future GCSE results and prepare for Ofsted inspections.

Teachers can access data on pupil progress and subject performance, as well as comparing the progress of their pupils to others across the country.

Paul Charman, managing director of FFT, said: ‘Our new subject dashboard means that subject leaders can really drill down and identify both underperforming children and pupil groups, as well as those doing well, all at the touch of a button.

‘Schools can use data to identify weaknesses in order to help the following year’s cohort get better grades as part of their department’s long-term improvement plan.’

Founded in 2001, FFT provides data to around 70 per cent of UK state schools. Teachers who are interested in using the new technology should contact their local education authority.

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