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Latest News

Belcea Launches New Charitable Trust

19 August 2013

The Belcea Quartet has now launched the Belcea Charitable Trust, created with the dual aims of commissioning new works and coaching young string quartets.

Young string quartets will benefit from regular coaching sessions with Belcea Quartet members for between one and two years, in the style of a residency. The first three ensembles selected for coaching are the Bernadel and Jubilee Quartets, both from the UK, and the Dahlkvist Quartet from Sweden.

The Trust’s first commission has been awarded to Austrian composer Thomas Larcher, whose new work will be performed by the Belcea Quartet in 2015 as part of their 20th birthday celebrations.

Pianist Imogen Cooper CBE is president of the newly-launched Trust. ‘I am proud and excited at the creation of the Belcea Charitable Trust. Adhering as it does to the best aims, namely new composition and the intensive coaching of gifted ensembles, it can only be an enriching success for all those involved. The Belcea Quartet members are generous in their musicianship and in their humanity, and will undoubtedly be a huge inspiration to the young players who they will coach, and to the composers whose works will be commissioned. I wish the Trust all the success that it deserves.’

A-Level Results Day: help is at hand!

12 August 2013

Students picking up their A-level results this Thursday will be able to contact a national helpline for career advice. Open from 8am on the 15 August, the helpline will stay open for 10 days across the exam results period, with all advice and guidance offered for free.

'Every year, there are students who don't get the grades they need for university, there are those who achieve better grades than expected and those whose career plans have changed since they made their original university choices,' says Nick Hynes, exam results helpline advisor. 'At such a critical and life-changing time, it's imperative that these students are clear what ALL of their options are, enabling them to make fully informed decisions about their futures.'

Delivered by UCAS on behalf of the Department for Education, the helpline can be reached on 0808 100 8000. All advisors are fully qualified with at least five years' experience working with careers.

Students who do get the grades they need for university may still have to organise their accommodation for next month. 'Unihomeswap' is a resource which allows students to register their rooms at home, and swap with a student in the town they are going to. Home-swapping can save thousands of pounds in living costs. For more information about this scheme you can watch this video, or visit the unihomeswap website.

RGT launches performance awards for bass guitar

1 August 2013

The registry of guitar tutors (RGT) has expanded its performance award offerings to include bass guitar. The qualification is entirely assessed on performance, and assessment can take place either live or recorded. In an effort to cater for those who may find it hard to get to an exam venue or those who get ‘overly nervous’ in an exam scenario, candidates are able to submit a DVD or upload an audio recording of themselves of their performance.  

For bass guitar Preliminary Level to Level 5 Performance Awards, candidates perform two bass patterns (from the appropriate level RGT Bass Patterns CD/booklet) and improvise a bassline over one track from the appropriate level of the RGT book/CD series Improvising Bass Guitar. For Levels 6 to 8, improvising basslines over two tracks is required.

Performance Awards are accredited by LCM Exams and certificated by the University of West London. Exam syllabus/information booklets for the new bass guitar performance awards, as well as for the rock, acoustic and electric guitar performance awards can be freely downloaded from the RGT website or can be ordered by calling 01424 222222. The Bass Guitar Performance Award booklet can viewed and downloaded here

Youth Music to Live-Stream 'Fresh Thinking' Education Seminar

22 July 2013

New Youth Music Ambassador Bill Bailey
New Youth Music Ambassador Bill Bailey

The National Foundation for Youth Music will be live-streaming a breakfast seminar this Wednesday 24 July at 8.45am, looking at the new ways young people engage with music and the implications this has for music education.

Perspectives will by provided by three key speakers: music journalist and radio presenter Pete Paphides, music strategist Chris Price, and Radio 1 presenter Jen Long. They will discuss latest developments in the music industry, and how this has affected young people as music-makers, listeners and consumers. This will lead to a conversation on the wider implications for music education, led by Youth Music's Executive Director Matt Griffiths.

The seminar will be chaired by Andy Parfitt, Youth Music Chair of Trustees and former Controller of BBC Radio 1. Viewers can watch the seminar live online from Youth Music's YouTube channel, and live listeners are invited to tweet in questions for the panel using the hashtag #ymseminar.

This seminar is part of Youth Music's new agenda following its rebranding last week. Youth Music is aiming to provide fresh thinking on music education issues, drawn from its extensive experience working with hundreds of thousands of young people over the years.

In line with this aim, Youth Music announced today that stand-up comedian Bill Bailey is to join the ranks of its Ambassadors. Alongside fellow Ambassadors Myleene Klass, Goldie and Sir James Galway (amongst others), Bailey will help the national charity to provide life-changing musical opportunities for young people. 

Youth Music's concern about the low level of participation in school music qualifications is something that Bill Bailey strongly identifies with. He said: 'Sadly, I was the only kid in my year to take an A level in music and it’s unfortunate that interest in music as a school subject is so low. I know this is something Youth Music cares about and I’m glad. I think it’s important that children feel encouraged to take music as a subject at school, it’s very rewarding.'

Academies on the Rise

19 July 2013

Latest analysis of the figures by GMB, the union for school support staff, shows that 115 state schools applied to become Academies over the last month. This brings the total number of Academy applications up to 42.9% of all state secondary schools, and 9.5% of state primaries. 

The government's plan to turn all state schools into Academies has always been viewed with controversy. Despite heavy criticism from teachers, teachers unions, parents and politicians, the government's current plan is to convert all state schools in England to Academy status. On 1 July 2012 there were a total of 1957 Academies in England; a year on the figure now stands at 3,049 - which indicates the government is well on its way to achieving its goal.

Avril Chambers, GMB National Officer, said: 'GMB is closely monitoring the steady stream of Academy conversions as we are always concerned for our members when schools leave the local education authority system. GMB experience is that support staff are frequently the first group of school staff to have their jobs and terms and conditions threatened when schools become Academies or when those in charge change. Anyone that works or has children at any of the schools that applied to become Academies last month should insist on full consultation from the Head and Governors. Heads and Governors should listen to the concerns of staff, parents and the community and respond accordingly.'

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