BBC Proms Composers Competition open for entries
17 January 2014
The sixteenth annual BBC Proms Inspire Young Composers’ Competition is open for entries.
Institute of Education research links exposure to classical music with enhanced listening skills
13 January 2014
Opportunities to listen extensively to classical music in the early years of primary school are likely to lead to children appreciating a wider range of music in later years, according to a study by Sue Hallam of the Institute of Education (IOE).
Professor Hallam carried out the research to evaluate the effectiveness of Apollo Music Projects, a music education programme which brings live classical music to children who might not otherwise experience it. The evaluation of the programme showed that children had a positive reaction and had not developed any prejudices against classical music.
During the course of the project children listened to a range of music including Beethoven, Haydn, Mozart, Ravel, Shostakovich and Mendelssohn. Hallam’s research found that the process of listening to live classical repertoire enabled children to enhance their listening skills and develop other skills needed for careful listening, including concentration and self-discipline.
Hallam said: ‘This music programme is unique in focusing on developing children's listening skills through guided exposure to classical music. There is no dumbing down in this programme. It recognises the ability of children to respond to sophisticated ideas and provides them with an opportunity to explore their feelings and use their imagination. Teachers also found an improvement in a range of the children's skills but particularly listening.’
The programme was originally developed by Apollo Music Projects in partnership with Hackney Music Service. This is the tenth year that it has been delivered in primary schools in Hackney and Tower Hamlets and it is now expanding into neighbouring boroughs.
Mary Igoe, head teacher of one of the schools involved, said: ‘Working with Apollo Music Projects brings a new dimension to our pupils' appreciation of music. For many of the children it is the first time they have experienced musicians playing classical music before their eyes. There is delight as the sound fills their own classroom and excitement when they attend a public concert. The skills of careful listening and differentiating musical sounds transfer to other areas of the curriculum and improve their ability to concentrate and attend to details.’
Big Big Sing launches in Glasgow
13 January 2014
Glasgow is working to put singing centre stage as part of the Commonwealth Games celebrations. Big Big Sing is an initiative of the Glasgow UNESCO City of Music, set to promote singing in the run up to the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games. Events planned so far include Big Big Sing Days, the launch of the Big Big Commonwealth Songbook, and a Schools’ Songwriting Competition.
Events kick off with Big Big Sing Days in Scottish cities, starting with Dundee Caird Hall on 1 February. Further Big Big Sing Days will also take place in Glasgow on 9 February, Edinburgh on 16 February and Aberdeen on 8 March. These events welcome singers of all ages and abilities for a large variety of concerts and workshops. It is hoped that similar events will take place across the whole of the UK between February and June, though nothing was confirmed at time of going to press.
Music For Youth announces launch of new resource
13 January 2014
Music For Youth (MFY) has launched a new composition resource aimed at supporting KS1-3 music teachers.
Developed by MFY, with sponsorship led by the National Union of Teachers and the Musicians’ Union, Infinity begins with ‘I’ is a new music composition project offering free resources for teachers of 6-12 year olds. The resource incorporates six weeks of creative work aimed at unearthing grass roots talent, and providing a platform for selected groups to perform at the MFY National Festival in Birmingham in July.
The teacher resource pack, written by Madeleine Casson, is available online. Video tutorials will be made available shortly. Teachers can also obtain advice and guidance by submitting work to MFY for review.
All participating schools are invited to bring pupils to the MFY National Festival for an 'Infinity' project day, involving workshop activity and involvement in the rest of the festival. Selected groups will perform their composition.
Infinity begins with ‘I’ can also be adapted to be used more flexibly for workshops or ongoing creative projects in more informal settings.
Kevin Courtney, Deputy General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers, said: “The NUT believes music education is a vital part of children’s learning and is too often marginalised in the curriculum. Infinity begins with ‘I’ is a high-quality resource which will support teachers to encourage children to participate in music successfully.”
In Harmony Secures Funding for 2015-18
12 January 2014
Arts Council England has confirmed another three years of funding for In Harmony, the UK-based project inspired by El Sistema.
Although exact figures are still subject to negotiations with the government, ACE made a strong commitment to funding In Harmony during the period 2015-18.
ACE’s continuing confidence in the In Harmony
programmes stems in part from the positive impact it has had on pupils’ academic
attainment, behaviour and general wellbeing. An evaluation conducted by the
National Foundation for Educational Research, commissioned by ACE, concluded
that In Harmony is ‘enhancing children’s social and emotional wellbeing and
improving their attitudes to learning.’ Another independent evaluation, focused
on the In Harmony Liverpool programme, highlighted ‘excellent musical progress,
improved academic achievement in English and Maths, improved school attendance,
and increased confidence, aspirations, teamwork, cooperation, resilience and
enjoyment of school.’
Julian Lloyd Webber, chairman of Sistema England, said: ‘Sistema England is delighted that the council recognises the very positive impact the In Harmony programmes are having on its children and their communities. We believe that additional funding from 2015 should allow further expansion across England.’
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