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Apply now for Grand Union Orchestra summer school

12 June 2014

Young musicians between the ages of 12 and 21 who are interested in discovering more about world music are invited to apply to the Grand Union Orchestra’s three-day summer school this August.

Formed 30 years ago, the Grand Union Orchestra is known for its cross-cultural music making in the UK. The orchestra’s musicians are highly experienced teachers and workshop leaders, and will run specialist sessions at the summer school.

Applications are welcome from young musicians who have reached grade 4 (or an equivalent standard), with priority given to residents of Cambridgeshire and Essex and members of the Grand Union Youth Orchestra. Applicants should be keen to learn about music from other parts of the world, and/or play a non-European instrument.

The summer school will be held at the Oundle School, Peterborough, and costs £135 which covers three days of food, accommodation, tuition, travel and performance. Participants will be able to discover new instruments and develop improvisation skills, and will perform in a final concert showcasing the music created during their workshops.

For more information and how to apply, visit the Grand Union website. Applications must be received by 30 June 2014.

ABRSM Piano Syllabus Launch

11 June 2014

Syllabus writer and examiner Timothy Barratt will be launching the ABRSM 2015 & 2016 piano syllabus at Yamaha Music London on 3 July.

Timothy will be holding two sessions, covering grades 1-5 and 6-8 respectively. Each session’s attendees will receive a £10 voucher towards the new ABRSM range of books and CDs.

Spaces are limited. To book a place visit the Yamaha Music London website.

Julian Lloyd Webber becomes Pro Corda Patron

10 June 2014

Renowned musician and educationalist Julian Lloyd Webber has been confirmed as Pro Corda’s patron, with immediate effect.

Julian has already given master class sessions and a concert at Pro Corda as part of its annual residential cello course for under-18s.

Andrew Quartermain, CEO and artistic director of Pro Corda, commented: ‘I am thrilled Julian has accepted the post of Patron of Pro Corda. His contribution to music education in the UK is second to none, and he has been a passionate campaigner on securing access to high quality music education for those young people who suffer disadvantage in society. As Pro Corda continues its exciting journey as a leading national music course provider, now serving 2,000 people each year, it is great to have the support of such a figure.’

Ten days left to 'Protect Music Education'

9 June 2014

Individuals and organisations in the music sector are being called on to support the campaign led by the Incorporated Society of Musicians (ISM) as the deadline approaches to respond to the government’s consultation. Support can be shown by completing a response to the consultation, and/or by signing the online petition for the ISM campaign.

As previously reported, the Department for Education is running a consultation on how best to make savings to the Education Services Grant (ESG). While in the past funds have been allocated to local authorities for music provision, the government has stated its expectations that ‘music services should now be funded through music education hubs and from school budgets’.

The DfE’s consultation document states:

‘Before we make any final decisions on the level of savings to the ESG, we want to gather views from the sector about how the grant is currently being used, how much money could be saved and the impact of making those savings. We are also interested in whether there is any further clarification or guidance we could provide in order to help local authorities and academies deliver these savings, as well as whether there are any functions that local authorities or academies should stop doing completely.’

The deadline to responding to the government’s consultation is Thursday 19 June 2014. The DfE has stated that it will review all opinions from the music sector before making any final decisions about ESG savings, so it is vital that all those able to help have submitted a response form to the DfE by 19 June. The ISM has put together a consultation response pack which provides helpful facts and survey data for those completing a response form.

The ISM is also organising a petition for individuals to sign up and show support for the campaign, which can be found on their ‘Protect Music Education’ website.

To date, the ISM has gained backing from 85 organisations in the music sector, as well as support from a number of high-profile individuals.

Last month an ISM/YouGov poll showed that 85% of British adults back Michael Gove’s statement, taken from the foreword of the National Plan for Music, that ‘Music education must not become the preserve of those children whose families can afford to pay for music tuition.’ Through the ‘Protect Music Education’ campaign it is hoped that the public can make it clear to the government how much we value and rely on funding for music provision from our local authorities.

Sing for Pleasure Awards Five Conducting Scholarships

6 June 2014

Leading choral charity Sing for Pleasure has awarded five young musicians a year-long scholarship on its second annual Young Conductors programme.

Mark Bassett, Charlie Gower-Smith, Hannah Davidson, Craig Lees and James McEvoy-Stephenson were selected as the best aspiring choral talents between the ages of 21-25. The scholars will benefit from individual mentoring, three training weekends, a summer school and a choir placement over the course of next year.

The Young Conductors scholarships were launched in 2013 and funded by donations from grant giving trusts and foundations. Five scholars completed the course in May 2014. Sing for Pleasure's head of conductor training, Manvinder Rattan, commented: ‘Sing for Pleasure is passionate about fostering talent and providing a positive and enriching environment for students to develop their skills. This year's students are extremely gifted and I look forward to supporting this stage in their career.’

Mark Bassett is a music student at the University of Reading and an aspiring specialist music primary teacher. Leeds based Charlie Gower-Smith is a recent graduate from Leeds University and is involved with a number of local chamber choirs and orchestras. Hannah Davidson currently undertaking a placement at St Nicholas Cathedral in Newcastle, is involved with the Newcastle Bach Choir and is a music student at Newcastle University, whilst former Leeds College of Music student, Craig Lees is a specialist music teacher. James McEvoy-Stephenson is a choral scholar at Oxford University and formed the Liverpool Cathedral Youth Choir.

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