These Diplomas are awarded annually by Jazz Services in association
with the NMC/MEC LEA Music Awards Scheme which has been running for
over thirty years; only recently has specific recognition been given
to jazz in education. The Jazz Services Awards Panel looks for evidence
of commitment to jazz education within LEA and music service provision
for schools, community education and adult continuing education.
The Diploma is named in honour of Will Michael who, until his death
in 2008, was Head of Music at Chislehurst & Sidcup Grammar School.
Will was a hugely respected jazz educator on the national stage and
joint architect of this jazz education awards scheme; he was also
an invaluable member of the Jazz Services Education Panel.
First, the positives: highest ever number (17) of submissions from
LEA music services seeking national recognition of their commitment
to jazz education. And there is evidence of an improvement in the
scope and quality of provision in some parts of the country. Yet,
we suspect that for want of time/and or care to make connections
some of the submissions we had before us failed to do justice to
what is actually delivered. For example some of the main NMC/MEC
award submissions referred to workshops and collaborations which
given the practitioners responsible could not help but be jazz orientated.
And then there were those submissions which simply provided insufficient
information to enable us to make a proper assessment.
But I must not be too critical. Jazz education in the maintained
sector is but a vulnerable little toddler who needs tender care and
lots of encouragement, which is this scheme’s raison d’etre!
And finally on behalf of myself and my colleagues on the Jazz Services
Awards Panel (Jennie Parke Matheson, Dr Catherine Tackley and Andrea
Vicari) and the NMC/MEC Awards Panel, we would like to thank:
- all those colleagues most of whom, above and beyond the call
of duty, are spreading the jazz gospel nationwide;
- the Federation of Music Services and the Convention of Scottish
Local Authorities, without whose active support this scheme wouldn’t
Whilst not, this year, receiving an award we would like to acknowledge
the creditable work undertaken by or in association with the following
LEA music services: Barking & Dagenham, Blackpool, Enfield, Glasgow,
Havering, Kingston upon Hull, Manchester, Oxfordshire, Portsmouth
and Tower Hamlets.
Chair, JSL Awards Panel
Diplomas of Merit
In Bolton jazz education clearly benefited from
the lead provided by a qualified (jazz degree) professional jazz
musician; from attendance by music service staff at jazz INSET sessions;
the maintenance of three authority-wide jazz ensembles, which met
weekly; and brass teachers incorporating jazz improvisation into
weekly group training sessions in schools.
It was good to read that two of the jazz orchestras performed at
four music and arts festivals promoted by the Authority at different
times of the year. We noted too that student performance of jazz
pieces was scheduled for assessment purposes; and that original jazz
works were commissioned for joint performance by the Bolton Youth
Jazz Orchestra and Youth Choirs. There is more, we feel, to come
from Bolton, but in the meantime we are pleased to be able to acknowledge
what is being delivered so far.
The Gloucestershire Youth Jazz Orchestra prides
itself on high quality and innovative work. We especially liked the
fact that it was part of a structured approach to developing expertise
in jazz. That starts with Gloucestershire’s Music Jazz Live,
a weekly jazz centre. We also welcomed the provision made for good
amateur musicians to rehearse and perform with the Colwell Arts Jazz
Ensemble, which is part of the Authority’s adult programme.
This is a reasonably well staffed and qualified Music Service which
provides regular support for improvisation in general and jazz improvisation
in particular both for Music Service teachers and primary and secondary
school music teachers. In addition to the comprehensive range of
weekly activities at Jazz Live there are jazz ensembles at the three
regional music centres. A number of maintained and independent secondary
schools also provide opportunities to play jazz. And several jazz
orientated teachers work in the Authority’s primary schools.
The Lincolnshire Youth Jazz & Rock Academy
provides for young people in the age range 14-19 to come together
over six rehearsal days to form four ensembles – a jazz orchestra,
a funk/fusion group, an r&b group and a contemporary rock group.
All trumpets, trombones and saxophone players play primarily in the
jazz orchestra and then make up horn sections as required for the
other groups. Peer mentors between 18-21, currently attending music
conservatoires across the country, create a valuable link with higher
education standards and practice. Academy tutorial staff include
several contemporary professional jazz musicians who also deliver
workshops across the county.
Four area jazz orchestras meet throughout the academic year. Practical
curriculum guidance with specific reference to development in the
context of the Wider Opportunities scheme was delivered.
And within the INSET and CPD structure generally a contemporary
strand has been developed for non-specialist teachers to develop
a measure of jazz education expertise.
The Youth Jazz & Rock Academy live recordings are used annually
for students GCSE and A level assessment. And students’ arrangements
and compositions are showcased.
Redbridge Music Service employs three professional
jazz musicians and some members of staff are ex-NYJO players. Staff
have been provided with training in improvisation and as part of
their own professional development are made aware of Grand Union
workshops and concerts; CPD was also provided by the Music Service
and Trinity Guildhall. We were impressed to learn that improvisation
and creativity using jazz styles are at the heart of Redbridge’s
Wider Opportunities Programme; and original jazz pieces written by
Music Service staff are showcased around the Authority as part of
the Programme. The Redbridge Jazz Orchestra rehearses 14 times a
year and gives five performances annually; it also regularly plays
for a range of civic and charity events including the Mayor’s
reception and dinner. At least two secondary schools have jazz bands
which meet weekly and are supported by Music Service staff.
Associated Board and Trinity Guildhall jazz syllabuses are used
by Music Service staff for their examination pupils. The Service’s
comprehensive music technology facilities are utilized for jazz compositions
and arrangements. All major concerts are recorded for assessment
purposes and each concert evaluated in order to maintain high standards.
It seems to us that well established joint working with the Grand
Union Orchestra and individual members of this star studded aggregation
effectively guarantees a vital, inclusive approach to music making
for all the pupils and students from Redbridge and other authorities.
And thanks to YouTube we can all see examples of that.
Diploma of Special Merit
The two Devon Youth Jazz Orchestras perform in the 30 plus Local
Learning Communities (these are groupings of schools throughout the
LEA) as a standard part of their annual programme. The aim here is
to inspire other young people and to cascade skills. To that end
the Orchestras work in partnership with schools and especially those
with jazz ensembles. A gap in provision for the pre-DYJO 2 has been
identified. Accordingly, it is planned to trial a DYJO 3 with a view
to catering for those players for whom swing/jazz phrasing, notation
and improvisation require development. The presumption is that they
will progress through to the more advanced ensembles. It is indicative
of the DYJO standards that a high proportion of the members go on
to study music in higher education and that DYJO 1 has been invited
to perform at the Montreux Jazz Festival in July 2010.
All three DYJO tutors play professionally in jazz and big band idioms.
Explosion Project” project, which in the year targeted clusters
of primary schools in rurally isolated areas, concentrated on the
blues. It is designed to be accessible to a wide range of Key Stage
2 learners including those who have been introduced to playing a
musical instrument through the Wider Opportunities Programme. Online
resources, which are differentiated according to ability, are central
to these activities.
A small band course is now well established with players taking
a series of graded improvising sessions. General and specific schemes
of work are prepared by the conductors of each ensemble. Progression
of the groups is monitored and evaluated and peer review is encouraged
amongst ensemble leaders. At a more advanced level, several members
of DYJO participated in the National Youth Jazz Collective’s
first year in Devon. The weekend sessions had a specific focus of
improvisation in the small band context and as such complemented
the players’ work with DYJO which of course concentrates rather
more on large ensemble skills. The emphasis on gifted and talented
young musicians has the potential to be further sustained by virtue
of a collaboration with the Goverment supported Centre for Advanced
Training, known as the South West Music School , which provides for
exceptionally talented musicians between 8-18 years of age.
DYJO continued to play commissioned, original works by internationally recognised
and local jazz composers. And we were pleased to see that the DYJOs also continued
to be used as vehicles for students to develop arrangement and composition techniques.