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Cultural Learning Alliance's 'The Big Link Up' discusses future of arts education

23 November 2010

The Cultural Learning Alliance, an arts education umbrella organisation, held 'The Big Link Up' on 23 November at the British Museum in London. The event was attended by over 200 delegates from across the arts education sector, and was addressed by culture minister Ed Vaizey with responses from panellists including children's author Michael Morpurgo, educationalist Professor Mick Waters and Arts Council England's director of arts strategy Andrew Nairne.

Many of Ed Vaizey's comments focused on music education and the current Henley Review. The minister stated that, if successful, the review could and should become the model for all areas of cultural learning, effectively putting music at the forefront of the coalition's policy on arts education.

However, one delegate, a music teacher with Bedfordshire Music Service, questioned the relevance of the review, claiming that Bedfordshire local authority had not even been aware of its existence until very recently. The delegate claimed that she and and her colleagues had been forced to undertake a time-consuming campaign to persude councillors to wait for the review's findings before making any funding decisions that might affect the music service's future. Bedforshire's councillors had previously indicated that the music service's local authority funding might have to be withdrawn, leaving parents and schools to pick up the shortfall.

In addition, there was some disagreement between delegates who focused on the need to fight cuts and those for whom the current austerity suggested opportunities for creativity and development.


Venezuelan quartet visits Sistema Scotland

23 November 2010

The Millennium string quartet
The Millennium string quartetMarc Marnie

A string quartet whose members are graduates of Venezuela’s famous El Sistema has just completed a successful six-week residency at Sistema Scotland in Raploch, Stirling, the Scottish pilot project based on the Venezuelan model.

It is the second visit to Raploch for the Millennium Quartet, and has come during a busy autumn for the project – violinist Nicola Benedetti also visited recently to give masterclasses and perform with participants at the Scottish Parliament.

Staff and teachers were thrilled when the quartet identified several children with the potential to have musical careers – though the primary aim of the project is not necessarily to produce future maestros, but to nurture talent. 

‘What’s really exciting about having people like the Millennium Quartet and Nicoletta Benedetti mentor for us is that the children can see themselves that this is where they could get to,’ said George Anderson, the project’s communications officer.

There are plans for the Millennium Quartet to return next year and Benedetti is keen to become more involved. So far the project has exceeded expectations with 350 children, from an original 30, now taking part.



'Buy-a-brick' appeal launched by Chetham's school of music

17 November 2010

Pupils and staff making bricks for the new building
Pupils and staff making bricks for the new building

Chetham’s school of music has launched a public fundraising campign to ‘buy-a-brick’ of its new £36m concert hall complex.

Each brick costs £10, and the school is hoping to raise £1m as part of the School’s ‘Raise the Roof’ campaign. Works started on the building project in April 2010 and are scheduled for completion in early 2012.

The new building will be a crucial part of the school’s existing community projects, as well as holding a 400-seat Concert Hall and all of the music teaching and academic classrooms required for the school's 290 students.

Claire Hickman, head of Chetham’s, said: ‘This is a fantastic opportunity for people to pledge their support to help us secure the future of the school, enabling us to raise funds to complete the fit-out of a much needed 21st-century school building.’


Discount for MT readers at www.choraline.com

15 November 2010

Music publisher ChoraLine last month launched a new website for its range of voice part-specific choral learning materials. The site provides SATB vocal scores, rehearsal recordings, performance CDs, and comprehensive ‘Singing Sets’ for learning outside of rehearsals.

A special 10% discount has been set up for MT readers: simply type MUSICTEACH in the discount code box on the website’s shopping basket page to take advantage.


Young Voices schools concert tour to feature Dionne Bromfield, All Angels and Josh Oso

12 November 2010

The Young Voices tour starts in Birmingham on 23 November. Young Voices currently organises concerts for schools, children, teachers and parents in some of the country’s largest venues. 

This year’s performers include Dionne Bromfield, the 14-year-old protege and goddaughter of Amy Winehouse, as well as vocal crossover group All Angels, singer Josh Osho and dance from Urban Strides.

The tour will stop off at Birmingham's LG Arena (23/24/25 Nov), the Manchester Evening News Arena (29/30 Nov), the Sheffield Motorpoint Arena (1/2/3 December) and the London O2 Arena (6 Dec, 11/12 Jan). 


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