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 well over thirty years. Since 2006 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.
We are delighted to report an improvement on last year’s low participation rate and this despite widespread experience of budget reductions and consequential retrenchment of provision. It is interesting to reflect on how, despite logistical obstacles, some music services successfully deliver notably good quality jazz education; for example, Aberdeenshire, with 13 pupils per square mile can stand comparison with Southampton which have 1364 pupils per square mile. And then there is the action of the East Riding Council in contributing £750,000 to provide the music service with a “state of the art” music centre! And within days of this report being delivered we received the Government’s National Plan for Music Education (for 5-18 year olds, in England). This is a genuine first ever, which, remarkably, makes a funded commitment to music education for three years from 2012, and to irrigating the music deserts, which sad to say still exist in England. So, there is much to celebrate, and opportunities for all involved in jazz education to contribute.
While strictly speaking this is an authority-wide scheme, the tendency has always been for the music service to make the submission seeking national recognition. So we suspect there are unsung heroes among classroom music teachers, the majority of whom tend to be fearful of jazz and improvisation, who effect invaluable introductions to jazz in the limited amount of time allocated to music in the average school week. So while we can’t identify them, we thank them nonetheless!
On behalf of myself and my esteemed colleagues on the Jazz Services Awards Panel (Dr Catherine Tackley, Andrea Vicari and Bill Martin) 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 National Music Council of the United Kingdom, of course!; and
- the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities and the Scottish Jazz Federation for their support of the scheme.
Chair, JSL Awards Panel
View the 2011 report...