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Out now: new Trinity piano syllabus

3 July 2014

Music exam board Trinity College London (TCL) has released its new piano syllabus for 2015-2017, which is available to download from the TCL website. Supporting piano publications, including new graded repertoire books, are also available online and from music retailers.

The new piano syllabus contains a fully refreshed repertoire list, as well new technical works. Well-known classical pieces have been joined by original compositions by composers from all over the world, who were invited by Trinity to submit pieces for consideration.

New syllabuses for woodwind, jazz woodwind, guitar strings, singing and brass will be released by Trinity later this month. From September a new Electronic Keyboard & Organ syllabus will also be available.

Chris Walters, TCL’s head of qualifications for Music, commented: ‘Our graded music exams are strongly performance based and examine real musical skills specific to each instrument or voice. The wide choice of authentic repertoire found in each of our new syllabuses allows candidates to find pieces that reflect their own musical identity, and they are able to further express their individuality through options including improvising and performing original compositions. We’ve structured our exams so that they assess the whole musician – evaluating creativity, emotional response, critical listening and performing – and we provide precise and specific feedback through a diagnostic mark scheme, to encourage continued learning and development.’

A one year overlap arrangement is in place, so candidates may perform repertoire and technical work from current syllabuses until the end of 2015.

ACE Announces Investment Plans for 2015-2018

2 July 2014

The Arts Council England (ACE) has announced its funding and investment plans for the next three years.

The ACE’s new national portfolio covers a total of 670 arts organisations, down from 696. While 58 organisations will lose funding altogether, 46 new entrants to the portfolio will receive financial support over the next few years.

One of these new entrants is the National Youth Jazz Orchestra (NYJO), which will benefit from £125,000 of funding a year for the next three years. Executive chairman of NYJO Nigel Tully welcomed the ‘fantastic news’, commenting: ‘This is crucial recognition of NYJO’s development over the recent years and its increasing artistic and educational profile. NYJO will now work enthusiastically on increasing our activity and implementing our plans – to be an evangelist for jazz and to have a greater role in the musical and cultural life of the nation.’

For the most part, organisations supported by the ACE in previous years will receive standstill funding. Performing groups in this category include the LSO, Hallé, CBSO, London Sinfionietta, BCMG, BSO, LPO, Philharmonia, OAE, Sinfonia Viva, and Manchester Camerata, as well as organisations such as Music in the Round, the National Opera Studio, British Youth Opera, classical producer SoundUK, the Tête à Tête opera festival, Streetwise Opera, and Wiltshire Music Centre.

Organisations that will see a drop in their funding include the National Centre for Early Music, the Southbank Centre and Orchestras Live. Particularly hard-hit organisations are the Barbican Centre, which will be hit by a decrease of 20%, and the English National Opera, which will suffer cuts of roughly one third.

Those benefitting from an increase in funding include the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, Spitalfields Music, and the Aurora Orchestra.

ACE chief executive Alan Daley wrote yesterday: ‘Choices become particularly hard when your starting point is an existing portfolio that was carefully selected in the first place, and which contains so much outstanding quality.The Arts Council’s Grant-in-Aid budget has been cut by 36 per cent in real terms since 2010. We’ve had some mitigation from the Lottery ‒ and thank goodness for that ‒ with an increased share granted by the Government. But this has been countered by the blow of local government cuts outside London. These have and will challenge the whole funding model for culture, which depends on a real local-national partnership for its effectiveness. We have tried to ensure some degree of stability ‒ and we’ll need to work with our funding partners see what more we can do.’

James Rhodes leads instrument donation appeal

1 July 2014

Primary schools in the UK have until 11 July to sign up for free musical instruments as part of James Rhodes’ ‘Great Instrument Amnesty’.

The concert pianist’s ambitious plan is to encourage the public to donate unused instruments that might be ‘languishing in cupboards and attics’ to the cause. These instruments will then be distributed to schools via the dedicated registration website. James wants to involve state primary schools in every county and schools will be selected based on need, as well as their commitment to making their music education sustainable.

The motivation behind this campaign is James’s belief that too many children are missing out on the opportunity to learn and instrument and progress on it, due to instruments and lessons being an unaffordable luxury. ‘Music has become something of a lottery for children - excellent in some schools and simply inadequate in others,’ says James. He wants to ensure that children are able to learn an instrument at the age when it matters most.

Oxfam will be collaborating with James Rhodes for this project, which is linked to a three-part series due to air on Channel 4 later this month. These programmes will follow James as he pilots his amnesty at a primary school in Basildon, Essex, before preparing to roll it out nationwide.

Those interested in pledging an instrument can drop it off at any Oxfam shop.

Schools benefitting from the amnesty will be invited to take to the stage at Oxjam, the charity’s music festival, which helps raise money to fight poverty around the world. Participating schools will also receive an education pack from Oxfam, featuring guides and lesson plans.

To watch James’ video appeal and to register your school, visit the project's website.

First CME centres announced by TCL

30 June 2014

The first four centres to offer the Certificate for Music Educators (CME) have been approved by Trinity College London.

CPD Centre West Midlands and Norfolk Music Service will be open to all learners, with the East Midlands Hub Consortium and the RAF Air Cadets Music Service initially operating as closed centres, offering workforce development programmes.

The CME was created following a recommendation in the government’s 2011 National Plan for Music Education. It is designed to help music educators in all contexts and backgrounds to develop their skills, and is assessed practically in the working environment. The Trinity CME is a specially accredited version of the qualification, and any organisation equipped to offer a Trinity CME programme can apply to become a centre. These organisations include music education hubs, music services, specialist subject associations and other training providers.

Christopher Walters, Trinity’s head of qualifications for music, commented: ‘It is exciting to see these first four Trinity CME centres set sail – each with its own distinct offering, but all with the same ultimate purpose of developing and recognising music educators’ skills. These four centres will be the foundation stones of Trinity’s growing network of CME centres, and I look forward to seeing more centres approved over the coming year.’

Prospective learners should contact centres directly for more information. To find out more about the Trinity CME, visit the Trinity College website.

'My Europe'

30 June 2014

This term, ten emerging European artists will be teaming up with primary schools in the North West of England to develop ideas on multiculturalism and what it means to be a ‘European’.

Over 300 children will take part in creative activities led by musician Sarah Atter, alongside a flamenco dancer, a puppeteer, a poet, a sculptor, an animator, theatre practitioners and visual artists. The work they create will be presented as a mass-installation at Z-arts this summer, incorporating the whole building. Each school will present an immersive exhibition or performance that will represent a journey across Europe.

Z-arts aims to encourage young people in the North West to explore feelings and thoughts on Europe. This project is being organised in partnership with the European Commission in the UK and Instituto Cervantes, with support from The University of Manchester and Manchester Metropolitan University.

The selected primary schools are: Summerville Primary School, Holy Name RC Primary School, Rolls Crescent Primary School, Crosslee Community Primary School, Armitage CofE Primary School and Gorse Hill Primary School, all in Manchester; Rounthorn Primary Academy and Friezland Primary School in Oldham; Pikes Lane Primary School in Bolton; and Cheadle Heath Primary School in Stockport.

Z-arts CEO Liz O-Neill said: ‘As a referendum on Britain’s role in the EU is still on the political agenda, we thought it would be timely to explore our children’s ideas about Europe. We have identified 10 primary schools from across the North West, focusing particularly on diverse and multicultural communities. These schools will be linked with an individual artist who will create a bespoke project from a range of different disciplines inspired by their own European connections. This is the start of an amazing project which will unite language, creativity, culture and art in all its forms to inspire a generation of children across the North West and hopefully teach us all something about the world in which we live.’

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