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Teaching Materials 2015

British Music Education Yearbook

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Latest News

Colin McKerchar to lead Sistema Scotland for a year

4 January 2016

The BBC's Colin McKerchar will take over as chief executive of Sistema Scotland for a year while Nicola Killean is on maternity leave. He will take up the secondment on 4 January.

McKerchar has spent 15 years working in arts for the BBC (as reporter, broadcaster and producer), and is currently talent manager for BBC Arts Television. He is also a qualified mentor.

'The main reason for taking this opportunity is to help build on the outstanding work Nicola Killean and the team have done to date,' he said. 'I’d like to redirect the skills I’ve acquired over the last decade and give something back to individuals and communities.

'I’m completely committed to the values embodied in Sistema Scotland and want to do my best to help realise the ambition of this organisation.'

Sistema Scotland chairman Richard Holloway said: 'We will miss Nicola when she goes off for her maternity leave, but we are confident that Colin will bring a new set of skills and experience to the role.

'The charity is going from strength to strength with almost 2,000 children being helped every week by the Big Noise Orchestra Centres. Colin will play a huge part in helping the charity grow and develop during the next year.'

Sistema Scotland aims to use music to create permanent social change in deprived communities and to help children and young people to reach their full potential. Approximately 1,300 Scottish children currently participate in the intensive orchestral programmes, which involve regular coaching, performances and trips to concerts.

Sistema Scotland

Hubs funding kept at £75m for 2016/17

18 December 2015, Alex Stevens

The Department for Education has confirmed that funding for England’s music education hubs will be maintained at £75m for 2016-17.

The individual allocations remain unconfirmed by distributing body Arts Council England, although significant changes would seem unlikely given the short time until the funding period begins.

The fact that the funding level has been announced for only one year, despite last month’s spending review confirming spending limits past 2020, will raise speculation that ACE might run a more comprehensive process for hub funding from April 2017.

Deborah Annetts, chief executive of Incorporated Society of Musicians, said: ‘We are absolutely delighted that the Government has confirmed their continuing commitment to music education by announcing that the funding for music education hubs for 2016-17 will be maintained at £75m.

‘The ISM would like to thank the secretary of state Nicky Morgan and the schools minister Nick Gibb for their continued support for music education and in particular maintaining the current level of hub funding. This is hugely welcome.

‘This funding is a critical component in supporting the fantastic work of the music education hubs and services up and down the country and ensures that all children have sufficient access to music education.’

Sinfonia Viva launches residency celebrating Roald Dahl

17 December 2015

About 100 young people from the Derby area will take part in Sinfonia Viva's 'Marvellous Musical Medicine' project.


The residency marks the centenary of Roald Dahl, who was educated at Repton School, Derbyshire.

Students from Becket and Firs Estate primary schools, St Benedict Catholic Academy and Derby College will work with composer Jack Ross and musicians from Sinfonia Viva to create their own music and songs.

The works will be performed in concert at Derby Theatre on 26 January.

Sinfonia Viva education manager Marianne Barraclough praised the diversity of Dahl's work, saying: 'it is perfect to inspire young people from a wide age range.'

Charlotte Moore, music coordinator at Firs Estate Primary School, said: 'We are thrilled to be part of a project which will enable the children to develop their music skills to a whole new level.'

‘Marvellous Musical Medicine’ is presented in association with Derby Theatre.

Sinfonia Viva

New Centre for Music would be ‘transformative’

16 December 2015



Sir Simon Rattle
Sir Simon RattleJohann Sebastian Hanel

Sir Nicholas Kenyon
Sir Nicholas Kenyon

A newly released feasibility study suggests that the creation of a new Centre for Music in London ‘is needed, that it is timely, and that it is possible to deliver it.’

Towards a World-Class Centre for Music makes the case for a new centre, recommending the current Museum of London site as the preferred location. 

The Centre would work with orchestras and music and education organisations from across the country to develop opportunities for everyone to experience, participate in and learn about all aspects of music, reaching hundreds of thousands of people directly and millions through digital learning resources.

The report states: ‘Every household within the M25 should have had at least one interaction with the Centre for Music.’

In their foreword, Sir Nicholas Kenyon, Kathryn McDowell and Professor Barry Ife state that a new centre would be ‘transformative for a new generation of audiences and participants, offering performance excellence and developing engagement and discovery for all’.

A number of individuals objected to the idea of a new concert hall when the feasibility study was commissioned in February 2015, with many taking to social media to express their thoughts that the money would be better spent on music education.

The document outlines the economic advantages of the new £278 million centre, predicting that it would deliver a net present value of over £890 million to the UK economy. It argues that London currently lacks a concert hall with world-class acoustics.

With the Museum planning to relocate to West Smithfield, the area surrounding its current site would be transformed to ensure greater accessibility for visitors. The City of London Corporation is willing to make land available for the site, which would reduce the amount of external funding required.

The nearby Barbican Hall would be redeveloped as a home for contemporary music and performance, while LSO St Luke’s would be adapted to enhance its community work and digital recording facilities. Combined with the Guildhall’s new Milton Court, this would create a collection of linked venues at the heart of London.

The Centre would be home to the LSO and would provide a venue for guest orchestras (including the BBC Symphony Orchestra, which would continue as associate orchestra across the Centre and the Barbican).

The next stage of the project will involve completing the full business case for the project, agreeing the terms for the acquisition and development of the preferred site, developing the concept design to RIBA Stage 2 and beginning the private sector fundraising with a view to securing a lead funder.

The government will provide £5.5m to fund a business plan and analysis of costs and benefits, work on the initial design, explore the options for funding, and undertake further consultation with the arts and education sectors.

Professor Barry Ife, principal of the Guildhall School of Music & Drama, said that the development would be ‘transformative’, adding: ‘This development will be a beacon for music education, stimulating interest in live performance and inspiring the next generation of music makers.’

‘The Centre for Music is not just viable but could be transformative, significantly raising the profile and visibility of music and offering world-class arts and learning opportunities for all,’ said Sir Nicholas Kenyon, managing director of the Barbican Centre. ‘The elements are all there now to create a unique opportunity: we want to work with all our partners to shape and realise the vision in a way that can be inspirational for all.’

Mayor of London Boris Johnson said that the project would be ‘of huge importance to the UK economy, as well as music education, not just for local youngsters, but for young people up and down the country.’

Towards a World-Class Centre for Music

Dartington International Summer School & Festival 2016

15 December 2015





The programme for the next Dartington International Summer School & Festival has been announced.

The 2016 event will be the second under Joanna MacGregor’s artistic directorship. Her inaugural year saw 700 students attend and concert ticket sales increase by 200%.

Dartington's new name acknowledges its role as a music festival as well as a learning institution.

The four-week event will take place from 30 July – 27 August 2016 on the Dartington estate in South Devon, comprising more than 80 concerts.

Courses include jazz, opera, folk, contemporary, classical, music theatre, world music and electronica, as well as poetry, literature, dance, multimedia and film. 

Each week of the summer school and festival is themed: week one is 'Early and Middle Eastern Music, improvisation, poetry, and fairy tales'; week two is 'Baroque Orchestra, Baroque Opera, Folk Music and Creative Writing'; week three 'Conducting and Orchestral Music, Opera, Music Theatre and Brazilian Music'; and week four 'Carmen and Composition, Film and Multimedia, Gospel and Jazz'.

Week one includes a ‘Shakespeare and Theatre’ course led by the City Musick and playwright Peter Oswald; a Dowland project directed by Emma Kirkby and David Miller; Monteverdi’s 1610 Vespers with Stile Antico; and a session on Middle Eastern music and Arabic poetry with oud player Abdul Salam Kheir and writer and cultural historian Marina Warner.

The programme for week two includes Jane Glover conducting Handel’s Alexander’s Feast and Margaret Faultless directing Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas; folk tuition with Kathryn Tickell and the Dartington Folk Choir; and courses in vocal and baroque practice from Hilary Summers and principals from the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment.

Week three is aimed at pianists and string players, with lectures from Alfred Brendel and tuition from Hamish Milne, Joanna MacGregor, Chloé Hanslip and the Heath Quartet, while week four includes a composition workshop with Judith Weir and a jazz course led by Andy Sheppard and Eric Vloeimans. 

Other tutors, lecturers and performers include Alison Balsom, Adriano Adewale, Škampa Quartet, Simon Armitage, Jo Shapcott, Steven Osborne, and Paco Peña.

Courses and concerts cost £425 (students £385; under 12s £215); this does not include accommodation or catering. Bursaries are available.

Dartington Summer School 2016


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