One person, one day, six grade eight exams...
6 December 2013
Yesterday Russell Lock, a 23-year old peripatetic teacher from Sandwell in the West Midlands, took on the marathon task of sitting grade eight exams on six different instruments in one day, raising funds for Cancer Research UK in the process.
Mr Lock's repertoire for the day comprised 18 pieces, spread between the trumpet, tenor horn, euphonium, bass trombone, trombone and tuba. His fundraising was given a boost by Trinity College London who waived the exam fees, John Packer Music Instruments who loaned the instruments for the day, and Denis Wick who supplied all necessary mouthpieces and accessories.
Russell said: 'I'm happy with how the charity event has gone thus far and I am already considering the next challenge being a Grade 8 on each family of instruments in a day.’
Donations to Cancer Research UK can be made by visiting Russell Lock's JustGiving page. 100% of funds raised will go to charity.
Farewell and congratulations to Jonathan Reekie
5 December 2013
Jonathan Reekie, the chief executive of Aldeburgh Music, is set to leave his position in spring 2014 to take up a job as director of Somerset House Trust.
Mr Reekie has been at Aldeburgh for sixteen years, during which time he has overseen the redevelopment of the concert hall at Snape Maltings and led the celebrations for Benjamin Britten's centenary.
Commenting on his plans, Mr Reekie said: 'I never imagined I would stay in Aldeburgh for such a long time. What has kept me there is the combination of the inspirational place, the richness of the Britten legacy and the wonderfully supportive trustees and staff. I shall always treasure the time I have spent there and look forward to taking much of what I have learnt, particularly in the area of nurturing talent, into my next challenge. I envy the person who will follow me in running such a special place, and feel extraordinarily lucky to be moving onto somewhere equally special.'
We wish Jonathan Reekie congratulations and all the very best of luck with his new position at Somerset House.
December crossword - CORRECT version
5 December 2013
Apologies to all those mystified by the crossword in the December issue of Music Teacher magazine - the wrong grid found its way in. Here is the correct version!
What is the value of higher education music?
4 December 2013
A roundtable discussion was recently held at the Royal Academy of Music in order to discuss the current status and value of music in higher education. A panel comprising senior figures from higher education, sixth form education and the arts industry met to share their ideas and opinions on the topic.
In some areas, the position of music in higher education looks promising: Ucas applications to study music rose by 3.5% in 2013. However this was not matched by the number of prospective higher education music applicants, with A-level music entries down by 7%. Those applying for higher education courses are under more financial strain than ever before, and consequently there is a great deal of pressure to opt for ‘facilitating subjects’ – those which will open up the widest possible range of careers for the student.
Participants in the roundtable discussion agreed unanimously that studying music at higher education level provides a superlative set of transferable skills, making a music graduate highly employable. However, many contributors were extremely uncomfortable at this way of looking at music education, feeling that too much focus is being laid on the economic value of studying music when the crucial factor is the education itself.
‘It's time for music departments to wake up and promote more clearly their value and benefits,’ said one contributor. ‘The value of higher education music itself has been clouded by the panic over school music. We don't sell music at higher education by saying it will make you more literate, or better at maths. It has an innate value.’
The panel also discussed issues surrounding access to music at higher education level. There was a general feeling of discomfort at the fact that higher education music places are largely taken up by graduates of specialist music schools or private schools. One speaker pointed a finger at the government for failing to promise funding for music hubs beyond 2015. Without government support it would be near-impossible for the majority of LEAs to find enough money to train students up to the standard needed to study music at higher education.
By way of conclusion, members of the panel were decisive about the need for higher education music departments to be more active in promoting the value of music in a public forum.
The Panel:Harry White, music and education journalist, chair
Norman Lebrecht, novelist and cultural commentator
Gillian Moore, head of classical music, Southbank Centre
Chris Walters, head of teacher development, Trinity College London
Clive Williamson, pianist and professor of music, University of Surrey
Helen Diffenthal, assistant principal, Farnborough Sixth Form College
Lucinda Rumsey, senior admissions tutor, Mansfield College, University of Oxford
Eleanor Gussman, head of LSO Discovery
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.
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