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Funding for National Youth Orchestras of Scotland halved

1 July 2011

The National Youth Orchestra of Scotland (NYOS) is no longer a foundation programme organisation (FPO) of Creative Scotland, the Scottish arts funding body, and has seen its year-on-year central grant slashed by 50%. In the year beginning April 2012 it will receive £103,000 from the body.

The results of a review of Creative Scotland's FPOs were published in a press release on 30 June, with 41 organisations retaining central support.

A spokesman for Creative Scotland siad: 'We value the work and achievements of NYOS but both they and Creative Scotland recognise that there is an opportunity now to re-focus the organisation on its core activities, and Creative Scotland will continue to support them through that transition.'

Julian Clayton, chief executive of NYOS, was quoted in The Herald: 'This is a frightening time for the arts in Scotland. We are doing fantastic work. Just the other day I was a school in Partick and met a young boy who was a mute before he took part in our programme. Now that boy is talking. This will affect our ability to do that kind of work.'

Meanwhile, the National Youth Choir of Scotland (NYCoS) received an increase to its annual award, which rises by 20%, to £91,760. This is 'to celebrate their ongoing high-quality contribution to the youth arts sector and innovation within their business model'.

Venu Dhupa, Creative Scotland's director of creative development, announced the outcomes of the review: ‘These organisations are the foundation of Scotland’s cultural sector and have delivered significant benefits to Scotland’s creative development, its economy and in growing audiences.'

She continued: ‘It’s been great to see so many good ideas put forward in the effort to deliver for a creative Scotland. The review has been an opportunity for celebration and congratulation, as much as a "health check".'

The announcement can be viewed here.




Yamaha UK launches Class Band education project

1 July 2011

Yamaha UK is piloting an education project called Class Band in collaboration with music services in Coventry and Staffordshire. The project will run until July 2012 with whole-class wind band teaching at the heart of its work, and gives pupils aged 11 and 12 the opportunity to learn Yamaha wind instruments over three years, delivered through weekly classroom music lessons in participating schools. Three Coventry schools have already begun their pilots, with three more in Staffordshire due to launch before the summer holidays, and two more in Coventry in the autumn. Participating schools will benefit from teacher training and networking opportunities, as well as exchange trip opportunities between Yamaha Class Bands across Europe. In addition, Yamaha UK is involving some of its national and international brass and woodwind artists, including saxophonist and double Mobo award-winner YolanDa Brown, who was appointed as the UK's Class Band ambassador in February 2011.

One secondary school deputy headteacher commented: ‘The Class Band programme is bursting with opportunities for our students. They get excellent music tuition on a new, quality instrument and there’s also a strong team ethos evident in the class. Their continued enthusiasm, excitement and real progress reflect significant success for the programme to date.’

Yamaha has also announced a new bursary programme with the European Guitar Teachers Association (EGTA). The bursary will help fund talented young guitarists to participate on the EGTA National Youth Guitar Ensemble’s annual course. Gerald Garcia from the EGTA commented: ‘We are pleased that a major music company has taken an interest in the bursary fund and look forward to a long and fruitful partnership with Yamaha.’

ARBSM launches new jazz course

2 June 2011

ABRSM is to run a new four-day course entitled Developing Jazz Techniques, which will be held in Bournville, Birmingham, on 2-5 August. The course is aimed at instrumental teachers who have some experience of jazz but would like to develop their skills through sessions on teaching, performing, history and theory of jazz.
It will cover all aspects of jazz playing and teaching, with a particular focus on rhythmic styles, modes and scales, interpreting chord symbols, improvisation, and playing by ear and from notation. Richard Crozier, ABRSM’s director of professional development said: 'Teachers who come on this course will expand their performing and teaching repertoire, develop new musicianship skills, and gain confidence in teaching jazz to their students.'

CT ABRSM Alumni Association members receive a 10% discount.


JamPods have landed in Wales

2 June 2011

Mix Music Education, JamHub and Roland have worked with Gwent Music Support Service (GMSS) to launch Wales’ first JamPod ‘noiseless’ rock and pop facility at Duffryn High School in Newport. The space offers high-tech facilities for up to 12 separate bands, of up to 6 people each, to enjoy professional electronic pop and rock instruments and recording equipment. Digital instruments with headphones allow each player to choose what they hear for either private practice or a mix of band instruments. Players can access expert tuition and the JamPod is available for all ages and groups. Band members from Goldie Lookin Chain launched the facility, saying: ‘a lot of people will realise potential they didn’t know they had because of this.’

The project in Newport is the biggest JamPod site in the UK, with others already set up in Bristol, Liverpool, Windsor and Swindon, with more planned for Birmingham, Bolton and Hampshire. GMSS have also been working with Mix Music Education in the development of Bandplayer video tutorials.


EBacc harming music in schools, musicians tell government

25 May 2011

The Incorporated Society of Musicians (ISM) continues to lobby government against the current English Baccalaureate (EBacc) policy. The EBacc ranks schools by attainment across a narrow selection of subjects which excludes, among others, music. The ISM believes that the effects of this policy are already being seen in schools and that young people in England may soon find it difficult or even impossible to study music at GCSE level.

In a letter to Nick Gibb MP, schools minister, and the Education Select Committee, the ISM’s chief executive Deborah Annetts said: ‘Fifty-six per cent of our members in a position to comment have already noticed music being squeezed out of their schools.’

The ISM also drew attention to Cambridge University entry guidelines which put music among the highest subject rankings, and Darren Henley's reccomendation for music to be included in the EBacc. Deborah Annetts added: ‘Without music GCSE being given the weighting it deserves, our cultural and creative economy will be put at risk, and young people who want to be involved in the music sector will have their efforts hampered.’

In a parliamentary written response on the subject Nick Gibb commented that: ‘The EBacc is not intended as a list of the only valuable or rigorous subjects. We recognise the importance of music which is why we commissioned Darren Henley's review of music education. We will respond to his recommendations with a new national plan for music education in the summer.’

Findings from the Education Select Committee’s inquiry into the EBacc are yet to be presented.

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