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MFY Regional Festival series: sign up this week!

4 December 2013

Music For Youth's Regional Festival series will be taking place across the UK between February and April 2014. Young musicians aged 21 and under have until 9 December to sign up.

The Regional Festival series is a wonderful opportunity for young music ensembles to perform for free, and receive feedback and advice from professional musicians on how to develop their performances further. Some groups will be selected to progress to other national events, such as the National Festival Birmingham and the Schools Prom.

Any group can take part in the MFY Regional Festival, which is sponsored by ABRSM and open to all musical styles and standards. Last year around 1,500 bands performed all over the country, featuring 40,000 young musicians. 

Judith Webster, chief executive of MFY, said: 'The Regional Festivals are accessible to everyone who simply loves getting together to play music: from those who are starting out learning an instrument right the way through to young people who are set on making a career out of music. Music presents a world of opportunities for enjoyment, discipline, having fun, learning new skills and that buzz of performing live. We urge everyone to apply by 9 December.'

If you have a music group of your own, or know a group who could take part, visit the MFY website to apply.

New research into music provision for deaf children

3 December 2013

A report has just been published on the musical opportunities available for young deaf children (under the age of five) in the Humber Region and York.

The research was conducted by Music4U, and funded by Youth Music's Musical Inclusion programme. Carried out over the last year, the project examined current levels of provision for young deaf children in the areas of York, East Riding of Yorkshire, Hull, North Lincolnshire and North East Lincolnshire. The report also looked at emerging trends in music provision that are being developed in areas of technology and academia.

Douglas Lonie, research and evaluation manager for Youth Music, commented: 'This report is  an extremely valuable contribution to the evidence base demonstrating the importance of music-making for young children. The ability to express oneself musically is an important element of all children’s development and can help with stronger communication, language and motor skills throughout childhood. Children who are deaf deserve the same opportunities to develop in and through music as hearing children and we have an obligation to develop our understanding and practice in this area. This research provides a fantastic opportunity to do just that.'

The report is currently available for download from the Music4U website.

Introducing the UK's First Online Music Degree

2 December 2013

British company E-Mu has developed a new digital music degree that is being launched this week. This is the first qualification of its kind in Europe, and will allow music students the chance to study for a full Bachelor of Arts in Music (BA) from £3,500 a year.

E-Mus degrees can be completed over two-years on a full-time basis, or spread part-time over four years. The total cost of the two-year course is £9,000 - around one third of the cost of a location-based degree.

Run in conjunction with the University of Fulmouth, E-Mu degree students will receive one-to-one tuition online with experienced professional musicians from their chosen field. From September 2014 degrees will be available in guitar, song writing and music management, with further courses in bass, drums and vocals coming soon. 

The degrees have been developed by the founders of the Brighton Institute of Modern Music (BIMM) - Kevin Nixon, Sarah Clayman and Bruce Dickinson. 'If you look at today’s top talent, a huge number of them have found success following quality music education,' says Kevin Nixon. 'But the next generation of professional musicians are faced with academic choices they might not want, and prices they can’t pay. E-MU provides the alternative – an affordable degree gained through world class, online tuition. The future of music is digital and so is the future of music education.'

Interested applicants can find out more by visiting the E-Mu website.

Orchestra of the Swan wins grant from The People's Millions

29 November 2013, Toby Deller

The Orchestra of the Swan has been awarded £49,822 by the national grants programme The People’s Millions for its schools project Antony and Cleopatra – The Musical!

The programme, which is run by the Big Lottery Fund in partnership with ITV, distributes grants of up to £50,000 to community projects throughout the United Kingdom. The recipients are chosen by the general public by telephone vote from a regional shortlist drawn up by the organisers.

Antony and Cleopatra – The Musical! will involve children from Welcombe Hills school in Stratford-upon-Avon and Bray’s school in Birmingham, both special schools. Jane Edgerton, head teacher of Bray’s, said, ‘We are simply thrilled that Orchestra of the Swan has been successful in their bid to the People’s Millions. Our children are very special and Anthony and Cleopatra - The Musical! is a tremendous opportunity for our children to work with this wonderful orchestra.’

Beginning in early 2014, children will take part in workshops and rehearsals with the orchestra and professional singers, culminating in public performances towards the end of the year. The Stratford-based orchestra is collaborating with Coventry theatre company Talking Birds to create the project which will be written by Nick Walker with music by Derek Nisbet, and directed by Peter Cann. It will be the companies’ third schools collaboration together, following their earlier Homer-inspired productions Space Odyssey and Troy Story. 

David Curtis, artistic director of Orchestra of the Swan, said, ‘This is an incredibly exciting opportunity for us to work with wonderful children, their teachers and support staff. Through Central TV, Twitter, Facebook and other media, over 500,000 people now know about Antony and Cleopatra - The Musical! and we very much hope that our new friends will follow us and these children on our journey next year.’

While other music projects have been supported by The People’s Millions since it began in 2005, this is the first award made to an orchestra-run project. In all, it has made 523 awards worth over £27.8 million. Many of these have funded projects benefiting young and disadvantaged people, as well as performance, community building and regeneration work, sports facilities and leisure activities. The 2013 round of awards has a total budget of £3.8 million and will benefit 76 projects, four per ITV region. 

Details of the 2014 scheme will be announced in the new year, with the application period expected to open in the spring.

New Youth Opera Company Needs Your Help!

28 November 2013

A recent study by the Co-opera Co. has found that the majority of singers and audience members developed their love of opera from experiencing live productions at a young age.

As a result, to help encourage young singers and also boost the trend of dwindling audience numbers, a new Youth Opera company has been formed aimed at children and young people between the ages of 8 and 18. 'Co-oper8' are running a series of 30 skills-based workshops between September 2013 and Jun 2014, and will also hold a two-week summer course in August 2014 which will culminate in a professional opera production at The Apex (Bury St Edmund's).

Co-oper8 has now been accepted onto The Big Give Christmas Challenge, which kicks off next Thursday 5 December at 10am. Every donation will be matched by their Charity Champion, and they are hoping to raise a total of £20,000 (£10,000 in donations). 

To give to Co-oper8, click on this link at 10am next Thursday, Friday or Saturday, where you will be able to make a secure donation online. For more information, visit The Big Give website.

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