MusicEd
 



































        

(Supported by the Department for Education and Skills)

  DIPLOMAS
HONOURABLE MENTIONS
Blackburn with Darwen
Croydon
East Renfrewshire
Essex
Highland Council
Luton
North Ayrshire
North Lincolnshire
Plymouth
Renfrewshire
Southend
Stirling
Trafford
West Sussex
City of York

DIPLOMAS
Barking & Dagenham
Caerphilly
Gwynedd and Ynys Mon
Hampshire
North Lanarkshire
Northamptonshire
Oxfordshire
Southhampton

MAJOR AWARD
Gateshead

Barking and Dagenhamís Community Music Service (CMS), which operates in an area of high socio-economic disadvantage, continued with its policy of free loan of instruments and opportunities to play in CMS ensembles without charge. So there was no obstacle to inclusive access. In addition to provision of opportunities to experience a broad range of musics, the CMS has supplied us with a detailed exposition of what it required on a term by term basis by way of minimum instrumental standards. They were drawn-up for woodwind, brass and strings and included all the rigour of the Common Approach (the instrumental and vocal curriculum produced by FMS, NAME, MEC and the RCM) programmes of work. To follow the standards through, three whole day workshops were held for over 240 beginners, and six starter ensembles (two strings, two woodwind and two brass) were under way by the following week. The emphasis was on general musicianship (aural, vocal and internalising through copy back) and instrumental awareness. Those in the beginner groups progressed to elementary ensembles with new starter groups taking off early in 2002.

As part of the drive to support and motivate pupils to stay with music beyond the transfer to the secondary education phase, an experienced and highly respected jazz musician and educator was appointed; among other things to promote primary and secondary links and develop jazz ensembles and big bands. Again by appointing specialist educators, Indian, African and Gospel musics were introduced at all key stages. So, with continuing close and fruitful links with the London Symphony Orchestra, the CMS involvement of professional musicians in schools music education was considerable.

String Musicians

 

The big event for the Caerphilly Music and Arts Service was the bringing together of all the Authority’s arts related activities in one Division and in the same building, which also accommodated storage space for music and instruments, a curriculum and CD resource library, a primary classroom percussion library (including equipment for loan), a suite of three new practice/teaching rooms, a new percussion studio – complete with equipment - a new music technology suite and a new multi purpose rehearsal and performance studio for drama and music.

The Service’s core tuition to schools continued to be provided free of charge (though most schools passed a small charge to parents to enable their pupils to experience a broad music curriculum) as was the loan of instruments. Of the total school population, 30 per cent were engaged in music activities outside the curriculum. The range and scope of INSET was impressive and was underpinned by the joint advisory service covering Bridgend, Merthyr Tydfil and Rhonda Cynan Taff. A PRS Foundation grant helped to support INSET for teachers that followed a songwriting project in schools, which explored accompaniment to the songs composed by pupils. The training was targeted at teachers with limited musical skills; and a handbook was produced to accompany the sessions.

World, classical chamber and British traditional musics were promoted through performance and workshops lead by professional musicians and dancers. Schools were strongly encouraged to include all pupils in music activities; indeed many of the pupils involved in projects and workshops had been identified as having learning difficulties. And with a grant from the Arts Council of Wales arts workshops, including a music residency, to promote social inclusion for people with mental health problems were funded for a three-year period. Two music groups were already working towards performance and making a recording.

Jointly with the youth service and with the aid of another PRS Foundation grant a professional composer and a mobile youth unit, 200 young people working in small groups composed music using music technology. Rock music projects and courses, including public performances and recording were also initiated in the year.

 

Gwynedd and Ynys Mon LEAs produced a special needs music/communication themed CD and handbook entitled ‘Different Coloured Hats’ for free distribution to all schools, which addressed several communication issues through fun vocal activities. The publication was in bi-lingual format and was already widely used in special schools, SEN units and nurseries throughout Wales.

With the purchase of more celtic harps, it was possible to extend the three-year free loan to schools scheme. The two LEAs’ commitment to Welsh music traditions was matched by provision of rock workshops and an exciting new programme of jazz workshops which apparently gave equal joy to pupil performers and observing teachers. Indeed, music performance and composition opportunities abounded for pupils and students in a range of genres including chamber and brass band music, which, in a sense, exemplified the Authorities’ enthusiasm for finding the right balance between "catering" for the needs of beginners at the base of the provision pyramid and keeping pace with the aspirations of the "pinnacle" players. The decision to maintain a pool of 2,500 instruments on free loan for two years (followed by an assisted purchase scheme) clearly helped fuel that enthusiasm.

Yet another example of vital developments facilitated by the Welsh Assembly’s Music Development Fund, was the long overdue introduction of professional development provision for peripatetic tutors.

Finally, we were shown examples of a remarkably large number of contributions from professional musicians, which were invaluable in urging and enthusing young performers both to continue with their chosen instrument and to compose.

 

The Hampshire Music Service (HMS) has to provide for a very large Authority. The demands made upon it necessitated an early revision of its long-term strategic plan. Of the 540 schools, 85 per cent entered into service level agreements, and the number of teaching hours purchased was double the projection for the year. The HMS website (www.hants.gov.uk/education/hms) was further developed and, unsurprisingly given the high quality of its content (and ease of access), proved to be very popular among teachers.

Specifically praised by OfSTED, the ‘Primary Music Curriculum Project’ was accessed by all 450 primary schools. Interestingly, primary heads endorsed the central retention of a budget to fund the project which enabled the Service to provide every primary school with an extensive range of support, development opportunities and resources – we applaud especially the professional development opportunities for newly qualified teachers and non-specialist music managers afforded by that means.

The year also saw a major expansion of the extended curriculum and world music provision comprising a long-term jazz project (which, inter alia, should be of lasting benefit to the four jazz ensembles), new resources and repertoire for the Rock Academy, two new steel pan centres and a two-day world music festival distinguished by participation by infant school pupils to a level and standard which exceeded everyone’s expectation.

A "health check" list was drawn up for all schools. By checking against criteria (eg approach to training, ICT, schemes of work, accommodation, instrumental provision, etc) each school could evaluate its own provision against the average across the County.

The range and scope of musician involvement with county ensembles and teachers was impressive. We look forward to receiving evidence of a similar level of involvement in ordinary classroom situations.

And , finally, the Service succeeded in increasing access to music-making opportunities for pupils in special schools. .

 

Last year we noted that North Lanarkshire were demonstrating the most consistent commitment to music education of all the education authorities in Scotland. They also spring surprises: who would have expected the education department, which over the past six years has hosted successful ‘Battle of the Bands’ rock festivals (drawing in local radio stations as well as parents and teachers) to embark on a three-year project with Scottish Opera in four secondary schools exploring the music of Wagner and ‘The Ring Cycle’?

In addition to a full range of Authority-wide orchestras and ensembles, area/school-based choral and instrumental groups were being established to meet the demand from all 26 secondary, 130 primary and 10 special schools. That measure and others were designed to enable the Authority to implement an ambitious new venture. North Lanarkshire (and at least one of their predecessor authorities) had an established policy of involving the wider adult community in the music performed by pupils and students. The new strategy was to reverse that approach by making available to the wider community the skills of school staffs, involving national and local community music groups in the planning and delivery and giving each of the fourteen area music groups a community focus for the development and enhancement of music skills. Communities which have been insular for geographical, religious or social reasons should thus have opportunity to raise levels of achievement and self-esteem. Already, in this, the first year, over 1300 pupils from across North Lanarkshire participated weekly in the programme. We look forward to next year’s progress report.

 

Northamptonshire had an extremely busy year. We note in particular the

commissioning and production of a new opera for 300 young singers and soloists, actors, the County Youth Orchestra and County Dance Group;

appointment of a vocal development officer tasked to encourage boys to sing, and out of that a new, boys treble choir was created. And appropriate INSET was provided for schools;

a project bringing together music service instrumental staff and musicians from the professional orchestra ViVA, for interaction and shared performances for school audiences in the county;

joint working with the Royal Northern College of Music out of which ten new student brass quintets were formed;

launch of four rock and pop centres both within and extra to the 16 regional music centres; and collaboration with Rock School;

appointment of a contemporary music officer to help raise and sustain the profile of live and locally produced, original contemporary music;

14 residential music courses ranging from beginners to advanced in a variety of genres;

ante-natal music classes;

facilitating of music-making for a range of adult music aggregations by providing accommodation, resources and general support.

And finally, one of the most telling of all statistics: the Music Service provided tuition to 13 per cent of the school population, which by any standard is high!

 

Oxfordshire were told by OfSTED that they had "a very good music service". The submission before us amply bore that conclusion out. We refer first to those features of the County Music Service’s year that were not central concerns of OfSTED, though very much in furtherance of good lifelong learning policy and practice.

As part of the INSET programme taster sessions were introduced for teachers to enable them to plan the extension of their work in the coming academic year into the youth service, adult education and community education, (including activities covering pre-school), and across different genres of music-making – folk, jazz and African drumming. Saturday workshops for brass players of all ages were added to by new introductory sessions for adult clarinettists and saxophonists (for learning and ‘re-learning’ purposes) which by mid-year had become weekly Saturday events.

A high proportion of the INSET provision covered subjects requested by teachers and County Music Service staff following consultation; and the Service was rightly proud of the fact that not only was INSET for all staff now paid for as part of their pay and conditions, but all teachers were now on permanent contracts with teachers’ pay and conditions, either as full-time or a proportion of full-time. Furthermore, a full-time senior and four part-time music therapists were employed.

Provision of instruments was generous and tutors were provided for all types.

Finally, we cannot help but acknowledge that month by month, throughout the year, the CMS has been responsible for more new initiatives than we have seen for very many years!

 

By the beginning of the year Southampton’s primary school pupils were already recipients of the Government’s pledge that any interested primary-age pupil should have opportunity to learn to play an instrument. That augured well for the 23 diverse ensembles provided by the Music Service for pupils and students based on a full pyramid structure.

Last year we singled out for special mention, the Authority’s commitment to meeting the needs of those with disability and/or SEN. It is pleasing to note that there was no let up in that level of commitment.

The growth in numbers of peripatetic staff (from10.4 FTEs in 1997 to 17.5 in 2001) and an investment of over £100,000 in new instruments of course facilitated a year on year increase in the number of children and young people learning to play an instrument.

An investment of £20,000 in a secondary school music department lead to the creation of a music technology teaching and learning research base. That doubled-up as a venue for other staff to observe high quality teaching; the equipment was also used to create three support CD Roms that were circulated free to other secondary music departments in the City.

While structural change often has high nuisance value, the merging of education and leisure departments has the potential for wholly beneficial development in music education, not least in increasing access opportunities across the board. It is good to see that this practical approach to the promotion of inclusion was already bearing fruit in Southampton.

We received evidence that all musics benefited from the largest ever commitment by the LEA to the involvement of professional musicians.


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