These Diplomas are awarded annually by Jazz Services in association
with the NMC/MEC Local Authority Music Education 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.
There is no disguising our disappointment at the very low participation
rate (7) this year in contrast to last year’s highest ever
number (17) of submissions from LEA music services seeking national
recognition of their commitment to jazz education. This downturn
is a consequence of the lowest ever number (15) of submissions to
the overall NMC scheme. Foremost among the reasons is staffing reductions
made during the year by many music services, coupled with growing
anxiety about the immediate future in the light of reduced local
government funding. If specific funding of Music Services can be
preserved – and the new Education Secretary has been making
encouraging noises about the value of music education – the
future may not be that bleak. So we soldier on!
On behalf of myself and my colleagues on the Jazz Services Awards
Panel (Dr Catherine Tackley and Andrea Vicari) 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
Our report is set below.
Chair, JSL Awards Panel
Aberdeen's Music Service
maintains Authority-wide jazz groups at beginner, intermediate and
advanced levels. The groups also performed at a recognised jazz performance
venue. Performance was also a feature of the weekly workshops held
by the National Youth Jazz Orchestra of Scotland (NYJOS), which involved
45 pupils, four of whom have become members of NYJOS. Several members
of the instrumental staff, who had a particular interest in jazz,
gained related qualifications from St Andrew’s University.
We were pleased to learn that the CPD of all Music Service staff
included attendance at workshops run by NYJOS tutors.
As well as seeing and hearing live jazz at the Aberdeen Jazz Festival,
pupils participated in Festival masterclasses and workshops.
The prestigious City Music School, a specialist music school drawing
pupils from all over Scotland, included a strong jazz element in
East Renfrewshire’s immediate neighbour (and very big brother!)
is Glasgow. The newly-formed Glasgow Schools Big
Band had a successful first year. Weekly rehearsals facilitated development
of improvisation skills as well, of course, as the wide-ranging big
band repertoire. A number of schools throughout the Education Service
have big bands that also meet weekly. We hope the Education Service’s
investment in a major improvisation project aimed at enhancing young
musicians creativity and performance skills will lead to a growth
in confidence and readiness to engage with jazz. The Paragon Ensemble
project, which involved 50 yong musicians, was not genre specific,
but its main elements were central to effective jazz performance.
It will be interesting to see whether the evaluation of the project
We noted that Glasgow are one of the very few Scottish education
authorities to have retained their free tuition policy.
There was a veritable explosion of big band activity in Oxfordshire. Holding
weekly rehearsals were the Senior Schools Big Bands I & II,
the County Youth Big Band and the County Youth Jazz Combo, those
aggregations involving 65 students; and three school big bands and
four area music school big bands. The prize-winning Jazz Combo performed
at one of Oxford’s recognised jazz clubs.
Every County Big Band concert played at the Centre for Music is now recorded and
used by students for A level and GCSE requirements.
The City’s similarly sized, in population
terms, but very rural neighbour, Aberdeenshire caught
our attention with the extent to which jazz was one of the main features
of whole class instrumental and vocal provision by the Music Service.
We welcomed too the priority given by the jazz programme to visits
to the Authority’s four special schools. The same jazz programme,
lead by those exceptionally well qualified jazz educators, Richard
Ingham and Richard Michael, was highlighted in the Authority’s
main NMC submission. In the secondary schools Richard Michael showed
pupils how to create, record and use their own backing tracks; and
in the primary schools he demonstrated how he worked as a professional
composer leading to the pupils themselves composing a bespoke song,
with assistance and direction, then recording and posting the result
on to iTunes. That initiative proved to be a very popular part of
CPD for Music Service staff was a high priority within the same
Authority-wide performance opportunities are perforce rare in such
a very rural area, so there are only two such ensembles – the
Saxophone Orchestra and the Jazz Ensemble. Nonetheless, the high
quality of their music was reflected in appearances at the
Royal Highland Show in Edinburgh.
The rigour of the approach to quality assurance was evidenced by
the practice of including three-way evaluations – by tutors,
of programme and tutors by schools, and by pupils – for every
school visited by the programme.
And finally we note that in recent years four original jazz commissions
completed and performed by the two Authority-wide ensembles.
East Renfrewshire are an exceptionally small education
authority, with an overall population of 89000. The Music Service
runs two big bands, one of which was a recent past winner of the schools competition at the Glasgow International Jazz Festival.
The bands rehearse weekly and are very much in demand especially for fund-raising
events in the wider community, which hardly fits the stereotypical view of jazz’s appeal
to the general public.
Improvisation is introduced at an early stage in the lessons,
for which Music Service staff are prepared by the dedication
of three INSET days led by Richard Ingram and annual
improvisation workshops in the Primary Music Residential Course.
The upshot of that approach, which of course we applaud, is pupils
often decide that jazz is the genre on which they wish to concentrate, leading eventually to queues to join the
Opportunities for pupils and students to see and hear live jazz
in Glasgow and Edinburgh venues are made available. And very unusually,
the Music Service is planning to develop a jazz club locally!
The Lincolnshire Youth Jazz & Rock Academy
(JARA) continued to provide 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 includes
several contemporary professional jazz musicians who also deliver
workshops across the county.
Curriculum development training to facilitate the teaching of jazz
in the Wider Opportunities scheme continued to be developed by Lincolnshire
Music Service (LMS) staff. As a direct consequence, pupils who had
thus gained instrumental skills were enabled to play alongside the
JARA Jazz Orchestra in a specially commissioned work ”LOL” and,
moreover, to include their own compositions within designated sections
of the main work.
Four area jazz orchestras met throughout the academic year.
Within the INSET and CPD structure generally, the contemporary strand
for non-specialist teachers to develop a measure of jazz education
expertise was maintained.
The Youth Jazz & Rock Academy live recordings were again used for students GCSE
and A level assessment. And students’ arrangements and compositions continued
to be showcased in performance.
Diploma of Special Merit
The Devon Youth Jazz Orchestras continued to perform
in the 30 plus Local Learning Communities as a standard part of their
season programme. Interest in live jazz is thus stimulated and exploited in
those schools where DYJOs I & II work in partnership with schools’ own
Last year we reported that there were plans to trial a DYJO III
to bridge the gap between young musicians experience of improvisation
and jazz at school and that of DYJOs I & II. In the event a DYJO
III was successfully launched in the year.
The conductors of the two senior Jazz Orchestras undertook the National
Youth Jazz Collective’s (NYJC) intensive CDP course under Pete
Churchill. The NYJC also delivered arrangement and composition training
at a DYJO residential course. And following specialist mentoring
by Issie Barratt of the NYJC, three new scores by students were performed,
one at the Teignmouth Jazz Festival and one by DYJO I at the
Montreux International Jazz Festival, where they gave two performances
followed by a concert in Geneva.
The “Jazz Explosion Project” continued with workshops
arranged for Key Stage 2 pupils in Tavistock and Dartmouth. Customised
teaching materials and lesson plans were published online in advance.
Opportunites were also given to pupils to take part in workshops
and public performances with one of the DYJOs.
The Devon Jazz Ambassadors Programme was expanded by the creation
of a second ensemble, which enabled more schools to be visited. Thus
Key Stage 1 & Key Stage 2 workshops were led in eight schools,
including one special school. The Ambassadors were given special
training prior to the special school visit.
A collaborative performance project was established with Exeter
a view to supporting foundation degree students with their jazz ensemble
programme and to building further links with a wider range of young
musicians in the county.
We pay tribute to all the above-mentioned authorities for
their commitment to music education and jazz in particular. We
are pleased to award Diplomas to Aberdeenshire, East
Lincolnshire; and for the second year running, a Diploma of Special
Merit to Devon.