Yamaha UK launches Class Band education project
1 July 2011
Yamaha UK is piloting an education project called Class Band in collaboration with music services in Coventry and Staffordshire. The project will run until July 2012 with whole-class wind band teaching at the heart of its work, and gives pupils aged 11 and 12 the opportunity to learn Yamaha wind instruments over three years, delivered through weekly classroom music lessons in participating schools. Three Coventry schools have already begun their pilots, with three more in Staffordshire due to launch before the summer holidays, and two more in Coventry in the autumn. Participating schools will benefit from teacher training and networking opportunities, as well as exchange trip opportunities between Yamaha Class Bands across Europe. In addition, Yamaha UK is involving some of its national and international brass and woodwind artists, including saxophonist and double Mobo award-winner YolanDa Brown, who was appointed as the UK's Class Band ambassador in February 2011.
One secondary school deputy headteacher commented: ‘The Class Band programme is bursting with opportunities for our students. They get excellent music tuition on a new, quality instrument and there’s also a strong team ethos evident in the class. Their continued enthusiasm, excitement and real progress reflect significant success for the programme to date.’
Yamaha has also announced a new bursary programme with the European Guitar Teachers Association (EGTA). The bursary will help fund talented young guitarists to participate on the EGTA National Youth Guitar Ensemble’s annual course. Gerald Garcia from the EGTA commented: ‘We are pleased that a major music company has taken an interest in the bursary fund and look forward to a long and fruitful partnership with Yamaha.’
ARBSM launches new jazz course
2 June 2011
ABRSM is to run a new four-day course entitled Developing Jazz Techniques, which will be held in Bournville, Birmingham, on 2-5 August. The course is aimed at instrumental teachers who have some experience of jazz but would like to develop their skills through sessions on teaching, performing, history and theory of jazz.
It will cover all aspects of jazz playing and teaching, with a particular focus on rhythmic styles, modes and scales, interpreting chord symbols, improvisation, and playing by ear and from notation. Richard Crozier, ABRSM’s director of professional development said: 'Teachers who come on this course will expand their performing and teaching repertoire, develop new musicianship skills, and gain confidence in teaching jazz to their students.'
CT ABRSM Alumni Association members receive a 10% discount.
JamPods have landed in Wales
2 June 2011
Mix Music Education, JamHub and Roland have worked with Gwent Music Support Service (GMSS) to launch Wales’ first JamPod ‘noiseless’ rock and pop facility at Duffryn High School in Newport. The space offers high-tech facilities for up to 12 separate bands, of up to 6 people each, to enjoy professional electronic pop and rock instruments and recording equipment. Digital instruments with headphones allow each player to choose what they hear for either private practice or a mix of band instruments. Players can access expert tuition and the JamPod is available for all ages and groups. Band members from Goldie Lookin Chain launched the facility, saying: ‘a lot of people will realise potential they didn’t know they had because of this.’
The project in Newport is the biggest JamPod site in the UK, with others already set up in Bristol, Liverpool, Windsor and Swindon, with more planned for Birmingham, Bolton and Hampshire. GMSS have also been working with Mix Music Education in the development of Bandplayer video tutorials.
EBacc harming music in schools, musicians tell government
25 May 2011
The Incorporated Society of Musicians (ISM) continues to lobby government against the current English Baccalaureate (EBacc) policy. The EBacc ranks schools by attainment across a narrow selection of subjects which excludes, among others, music. The ISM believes that the effects of this policy are already being seen in schools and that young people in England may soon find it difficult or even impossible to study music at GCSE level.
In a letter to Nick Gibb MP, schools minister, and the Education Select Committee, the ISM’s chief executive Deborah Annetts said: ‘Fifty-six per cent of our members in a position to comment have already noticed music being squeezed out of their schools.’
The ISM also drew attention to Cambridge University entry guidelines which put music among the highest subject rankings, and Darren Henley's reccomendation for music to be included in the EBacc. Deborah Annetts added: ‘Without music GCSE being given the weighting it deserves, our cultural and creative economy will be put at risk, and young people who want to be involved in the music sector will have their efforts hampered.’
In a parliamentary written response on the subject Nick Gibb commented that: ‘The EBacc is not intended as a list of the only valuable or rigorous subjects. We recognise the importance of music which is why we commissioned Darren Henley's review of music education. We will respond to his recommendations with a new national plan for music education in the summer.’
Findings from the Education Select Committee’s inquiry into the EBacc are yet to be presented.
Call for anecdotal evidence
20 May 2011
Jonathan Savage, MT contributor and reader in education at the Institute of Education, Manchester Metropolitan University, is collecting evidence of current secondary music provision at Key Stage 3 and 4. In particular, he hopes to present an overview of how music teaching has been affected by recent changes in education, such as the English Baccalaureate. Should any readers feel willing to contribute to this research you can view request for stories here and either respond via the teachingmusic.org.uk forum or to Jonathan Savage directly at email@example.com.
It is hoped that by gathering accurate anecdotal evidence of the changing landscape of music in our schools, and publishing these short stories online, and anonymously if preferred, Savage can provide a platform for music teachers to be heard.
You can read the stories that have been collected so far at jsavage.org.uk.
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