Music teachers to be replaced by 'volunteers'
7 May 2014
The Musicians’ Union (MU) is supporting music teachers in their campaigns against council cuts in Cornwall and the Isle of Wight, where a total of 92 teaching jobs are under threat.
Recent comments by councillor Steve Priest on BBC South led to a rally and open air concert held by 250 protestors alongside the MU on 26 April. Priest remarked that he would be ‘looking for musicians in the area to teach our children as volunteers as there are many people who can play instruments’.
Diane Widdison, the MU’s national organiser for education
and training, responded: ‘As part of this Government’s idea of “Big Society”
they appear to think that they can use the newly set up Music Hubs as a
smokescreen for cutting teachers’ jobs.
'Music teachers are highly trained, skilled professionals and the idea that they can adequately be replaced with volunteers is absurd and can only be detrimental to the young people of the area.’
Supporters can sign a petition here.
ISM releases support document for new National Curriculum
2 May 2014
The Incorporated Society of Musicians (ISM) has published an assessment and progression framework that will help schools and music hubs prepare for September’s new National Curriculum.
Released this week, the document is a short accessible guide for teachers. It was drawn up by the ISM in consultation with music educators, teachers, school leaders, teaching unions and hubs. Complete with wall chart to help with assessment and progression planning, the document can be found here.
Dr Alison Daubney, a research fellow and music teacher at the University of Sussex, said: 'This substantial piece of work celebrates the genuine collaboration between a large number of local, regional and national organisations through an open peer review process. I would like to express my thanks to everyone who has contributed, particularly the teachers and school leaders in SoundCity, Brighton and Hove’s Music Education hub, who initiated this work in November 2013. This document forms an important part of the ISM’s support for the implementation of the new curriculum. We are confident that it is relevant across all phases of music education and that the principles described here are in line with guidance for excellent practice in other subjects.'
Two further guides on how to prepare for the new National Curriculum for Music can also be found on the ISM’s National Curriculum page.
Creative Scotland launches 2014/5 YMI fund
1 May 2014
Creative Scotland has announced the launch of the 2014/5 Youth Music Initiative (YMI), supported by £10m from the Scottish government.
Now entering its twelfth year, YMI runs hundreds of projects each year for young people of all ages, offering them opportunities to get involved in various different genres of music. To date the Scottish government has invested £97.5m in this hugely successful initiative.
£8m of this year’s funding will go to Scottish local authorities to run music-making activities in schools from August 2015. A further £1.6m will be available to individuals through The Access To Music Making Fund, which runs music projects outside schools. £200,000 will be put towards training that will improve the youth music sector in Scotland. Details of how to apply for this funding can be found here.
Janet Archer, CEO at Creative Scotland, commented: ‘The YMI will create new music-making opportunities delivered by Scotland’s diverse and talented music practitioners. Participants will learn music making skills, build their confidence, be provided with progression opportunities and hopefully have a lot of fun along the way. Our continuing strong partnership with all thirty two of Scotland’s local authorities enables the YMI to have a truly national reach.’
To date, YMI has trained 1000 Bookbug Session Leaders who have delivered song, story and rhyme sessions to more than 1.5m preschool children. YMI has provided one year of free instrumental tuition to primary school children across Scotland, as well as creating opportunities for children to create music with providers such as Drake Music Scotland, Fèis Rois and the Scottish Brass Band Association. 400 young bands and musicians have also been granted access to professional standard recording facilities at studios throughout the country.
Culture secretary Fiona Hyslop said: ‘This is an innovative and popular programme which has made a real difference to the lives of our young people. The Youth Music Initiative has created career pathways for Scotland’s young talent as well as giving many thousands of young people across the country the opportunity to learn about and enjoy making music.’
Julian Lloyd Webber retires from performance
29 April 2014
British cellist Julian Lloyd Webber has been forced to bring an end to his performance career due to a herniated disc in his neck which has reduced the power in his right arm.
Lloyd Webber’s final performance as a cellist will take place on 2 May at the Forum Theatre, Malvern with the English Chamber Orchestra.
In a statement to his agent, Lloyd Webber said:
‘I am devastated. There were so many exciting plans that cannot now come to fruition. I have had an immensely fulfilling career and feel privileged to have worked with so many great musicians and orchestras but now I have to move on.
I have no intention of enduring a forced retirement though. I would like to use the knowledge I have gained through my life as a musician and an educator to give back as much as I can to the music profession which has given me so much over the years.
I have just completed two new recordings which will be released later this year but after 2 May my cello will fall silent. I now need time to reflect and to consider this sudden and distressing life-changing situation and there will be no further comment at this time.’
Lloyd Webber’s determination to keep giving back to the music community is a testament to his passion for music education. He was recently awarded the ISM’s ‘Distinguished Musician Award’ in recognition of his contribution to this field.
More details of Julian Lloyd Webber’s plans for the next stage of his career will be discussed in the June edition of Music Teacher.
NCO turmoil: Statements from both sides
28 April 2014
Following our coverage of recent disputes regarding the management of the National Children’s Orchestras of Great Britain (NCO) and the petition launched by the authors of the website www.ournco.org.uk, we have received statements from both ourNCO and the NCO board, as follows:
- A statement from OurNCO:
‘The NCO is a wonderful and much-loved institution that has nurtured the musical talents of thousands of children and launched many professional careers. Integral to its success is the expertise and tireless support of staff, conductors, teachers, social staff, parents and numerous other givers of time and energy. These vital stakeholders are being entirely ignored as the NCO board attempts to drive through fundamental changes to NCO. At the heart of the problem is the fact that the current members of the board appoint themselves, make decisions among themselves, refuse to publish agendas or notes of their meetings, make decisions behind closed doors, are wholly unaccountable and will not consult. For any organisation, especially a children’s music charity, this is quite wrong. For over two years a group of concerned stakeholders, including NCO parents and musicians, has been attempting quietly to persuade the board that it must change and become accountable. Every argument and suggestion has been dismissed out of hand. We had no choice but to go public to protect the future of an organisation we care so much about.
‘That 1750-plus supporters have signed the petition so quickly shows how overwhelming is the support for constitutional change. However, the board has not made one statement in acknowledgement that there is a problem at all. It appears content to issue all kinds of material attempting to show it works well, or, quite outrageously, to claim that the successes delivered by NCO staff are down to its own efforts. The board has made a number of misleading claims in an attempt to discredit opposition to it, such that [NCO founder] Vivienne Price is attempting to wrest back control or that Roger Clarkson retains sole responsibility for musical matters. The record has been put straight on www.ournco.org.uk and Facebook. The board is using its energies to attack opposition to it rather than discuss rationally how change can be managed in the interests of all.
‘There is no argument to be made against openness and accountability. The continuation of NCO’s wonderful legacy for future children is too important to be put at risk at the hands of the self-appointed and self-interested. That is why we are calling for resignations and reform.’
- A Statement from the NCO board:
‘Only five years ago, the NCO was in financial straits. The board at that time fought long and hard to recover the situation, as things just could not continue as they were. Their efforts gave the NCO enough money to continue on a day-to-day basis and to invest for our future. All through this difficult period the board worked to keep Vivienne’s vision alive, because each and every one of them supports the NCO wholeheartedly. We were able to give more children the opportunity to transform their lives through music, and now we offer more bursaries than ever before. For this, all members of the board, even those who have joined recently, have been described as ‘bean counters’, as being ‘secretive’, and as ‘lacking in understanding’. On the contrary, the current board, which counts among its number an alumna, music professionals and NCO parents, do this work voluntarily. They understand exactly how to protect Vivienne’s vision and Vivienne and Roger’s transformational teaching of children in our modern professional world.
‘We have been accused of not listening. This is just not true. We have initiated a consultation programme with all interested groups, and have drawn up the NCO’s first full business plan based on this feedback. The consultation programme involved the NCO staff in forming an initial business plan, and engagement with music tutors, parents and social staff has been feeding into the plan, something not done before in the NCO’s history. We have been working on governance changes for some months, even before the launch of ourNCO.com. We are proud to have moved away from a model where trustees were only appointed if they had personal connections and could serve indefinitely, to one where trustees are recruited by open advertisement and for a restricted period, following Charity Commission guidelines. New relationships have been developed with organisations and new support found from funders, and we continue to be extremely grateful to everyone who has given in the past. All this is now at risk. We remain deeply sorry that Vivienne is so upset. If some things have not been done well, we are sorry – but we have made our very best efforts. As a board we remain confident that the decisions that have been made have been made with proper consultation and will ensure that the NCO, founded by Vivienne, will continue to go from strength to strength.’
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