RPS launches Musical Routes report
25 September 2015
A report into the provision of musical education for school-aged children and young people has concluded that the national strategy for music education is not being evenly delivered.
‘Musical Routes, A Landscape for Music Education’
, commissioned by the Royal Philharmonic Society and authored by Sarah Derbyshire, examines the provision of music education for school-aged children and young people in England, evaluating the equality of access, the nature of opportunities offered, and how well these opportunities help individuals to fulfil their musical potential.
The report identifies the lack of an infrastructure ‘that knits together the many and various strands for delivery’. The current structure for music education is acknowledged as complex and disjointed, with insufficient communication of opportunities both between organisations and to children, families, carers and teachers.
The report recognises a bias towards learning via the formal exam structure, and a tendency to downplay those who choose alternative routes to learn. It concludes that the sector has yet to embrace fully the richness and diversity of musical forms and the ways in which young people engage with music, and recommends that mechanisms are put into place to encourage Music Education Hubs to extend their horizons beyond local areas and embedded practices.
Other recommendations include ensuring that children are aware of the pathways open to them, encouraging an entrepreneurial approach to developing teaching models, and ensuring that a national statement of music education gives equal weight to different pathways, with each striving for musical excellence.
To implement these recommendations, the report suggests implementing a network of national musical mentors and champions to widen diversity in music, creating a national online music education map and resource centre to improve communication, and launching a national celebration of young people’s many and varied musical achievements.
It also recommends instituting six building blocks for musical progression:
- Reading music
- Access to instrumental tuition – formal and informal – with feedback on progress
- Introduction of relevant digital technology
- Attending live performance
- Creative involvement – composition, improvisation, performance of their own work
Speaking at the launch of the report at Wigmore Hall on 25 September, RPS chief executive Rosemary Johnson suggested that we don’t celebrate variety enough and cautioned that the aim was ‘evolution, not revolution’. ‘There's much extraordinary work in the music sector, yet so many are still missing out’.
Presenting her findings, Sarah Derbyshire highlighted regression, diversity and workforce as concerns, but also recognised that there was ‘much to celebrate’ since the introduction of a national plan. She said: ‘Let us try making the musician the starting point of what we do.’
Dame Evelyn Glennie, who was presented with her Royal Philharmonic Society honorary membership at the event, said: ‘It is important that the music profession takes careful note of areas of difficulty highlighted in the report, and comes together to find a way forward. We need to inspire, to create, to engage and to empower every child with an interest in music to fulfill his or her potential.’
The 'Musical Routes' report
ABRSM launches Aural Trainer 6-8
24 September 2015
The app helps students to prepare for all the individual elements of ABRSM aural tests through a series of interactive challenges.
With Aural Trainer 6–8, users can:
• Exercise their musical memory (remember how music sounds and learn to repeat it)
• Develop confidence and accuracy at sight-singing (reading and singing the music on screen)
• Improve recognition of cadences, chords and modulations
• Learn to describe texture, structure, dynamics, articulation, tempo and tonality
• Practise identifying the features in music that make up its style and character
• Develop the skills to know when a piece of music was written
The app can be used anytime or anywhere for personal practice, or during lessons. Exercises can be taken in any order, and can be repeated as often as necessary. A progress page helps students to keep track of their achievements.
The app follows on from the Aural Trainer for Grades 1–5. Both apps are compatible with iPhone, iPod touch.
ABRSM Aural Trainer
ABRSM announces autumn events for music teachers
24 September 2015
The Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music (ABRSM) is hosting two events for music teachers this autumn.
The ABRSM and Music Mark Roadshow, which takes place in Berkshire on 16 October and Staffordshire on 20 October, will explore the common threads connecting classroom and one-to-one music teaching.
Using video footage as a basis for discussion, the roadshow will focus on ways in which well-chosen musical learning objectives can lead to effective learning outcomes.
More dates and venues will be announced later in the year. For more information or to book a place, visit www.abrsm.org/roadshow.
In addition, the ABRSM Conference will take place on 7 November at London’s Grange Tower Bridge Hotel.
With a focus on the broad range of skills that support musical performance, the sessions will aim to give attendees ideas to implement in class, group and one-to-one lessons.
Presenters will include educators Anthony Williams, Louise Matthew and Paul Harris as well as ABRSM chief examiner John Holmes.
Attendance costs £80 per delegate, including refreshments and lunch. A full conference programme and booking facility can be found at www.abrsm.org/conference.
Dame Evelyn Glennie awarded honorary RPS membership
22 September 2015
Dame Evelyn GlenniePhilipp Rathmer
Dame Evelyn Glennie has been made an honorary member of the Royal Philharmonic Society (RPS) in recognition of her outstanding services to music - as a percussionist and a passionate advocate for music education.
The full statement from the council of the RPS reads:
‘Evelyn Glennie is the first person in western musical history to successfully create and sustain a full-time career as a solo percussionist. She has fired the enthusiasm of audiences, engaged a whole new generation of performers, actively campaigns for music education and is constantly redefining our expectations of percussion. She has also demonstrated forcibly that it is possible with a serious hearing impairment to perform music at the highest possible level and in so doing she has given us a completely different understanding of how we listen.
'Her advice to young people is to “grab on to any opportunity that comes your way, but also to practice the art of creating your own opportunities”. No one has proved that more forcibly than Evelyn herself. She a great ambassador for music and an extraordinary role model for all performers striving to achieve their goals.’
The presentation of the certificate of honorary membership will be made on 25 September at the launch of ‘Musical Routes: A New Landscape for Music Education’, an independently commissioned report into the provision of musical education for school-aged children and young people in England by Sarah Derbyshire in partnership with RPS.
Glennie is the first percussionist to receive honorary membership. Other honorary members include Carl Maria von Weber (1826), Brahms (1882), Stravinsky (1921), El Sistema founder José Antonio Abreu (2008), and Graham Johnson and Fanny Waterman (2010).
Dame Evelyn Glennie
NYMAZ report shows success of online music lessons in primary schools
22 September 2015
A pilot project led by youth music development charity NYMAZ has identified a new way of using technology to provide music education to students who live in remote locations.
Connect: Resound, set up in response to a recommendation made in Darren Henley’s 2011 Review of Music Education in England, gave children at primary schools across north Yorkshire the chance to access online music tuition.
The project used the Roland VR-3EX video and audio mixer and streamer, along with three cameras (to allow pupils and teachers to see different views, including close-ups), microphones and Skype.
A report on the pilot, released last week, concluded that if music education hubs across the country were set up with similar facilities, they would have the potential to reach a greater number of pupils and widen access to music education.
Seventy per cent of pupils said they enjoyed the lessons ‘very much’ and 74 per cent wished to continue to learn their instruments ‘very much’ or ‘quite a lot’.
It was also reported that 79 per cent of parents/carers would not have tried to find instrumental lessons for their children had this opportunity not been available.
Heidi Johnson, director of NYMAZ, said: ‘It’s an incredible step forward for music education.
‘Music teachers in rural areas could spend far less time on the road between schools and more time teaching, meaning that more children would be able to receive lessons – in particular those in very small or very rural schools who currently miss out – as well as having access to a greater choice of instruments.
‘Children living in rural areas currently miss out when it comes to music education. The use of digital technology could put an end to that inequality and it’s our collective responsibility to ensure it happens.’
The project was led by NYMAZ in collaboration with the North Yorkshire Music Hub, researchers from the University of Hull and technologists from UCan Play.
It was funded by the Digital R&D Fund for the Arts, a partnership between Arts Council England, the Arts and Humanities Research Council and Nesta.
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