Bournemouth & Poole (SoundStorm)
With a total staffing complement of 1.5, SoundStorm are very dependent on their Hub partners. Working with CODA Music Trust, Voice Works and the South West Music School SoundStorm provide CPD for teachers, which includes jazz. Again working with local venues and promoters, provision is made for gifted and talented pupils through workshops and master classes lead by established UK jazz artists.
By virtue of the partnership with Dorset Music Service local pupils and students have subsidised access to the Dorset Youth Jazz Orchestra. This year SoundStorm have formed a new out-of-school big band for beginners with a significant emphasis on improvisation skills and the development of performance confidence.
In by far the smallest Education Authority (yes, they still have them in Scotland!) with a school population of 16,000, regularly to participate in this scheme, music performance benefits in East Renfrewshire from a Primary Music Programme which leads on to pupils going down an instrumental or vocal route, or both, and facilitates a structured ensemble programme, ie one with built-in progression. Sound preparation for membership of the Senior Jazz Big Band, which comprises students from all seven of the Authority’s secondary schools, is thus the norm. This year, that preparation has been enhanced by the introduction of improvisation (and taken up by 100 pupils) in the Primary Music Residential Course.
The Music Services’ commitment to jazz education is further evidenced by the fact that out of 13.3 instrumental tutors, four have completed the Advanced Diploma in Jazz at St Andrew’s University. Those tutors continue to pass on their improvisation knowledge and skills to other instrumental tutors and classroom music teachers.
Provision is made for the more advanced students by encouragement to attend the Jazz School of the Strathclyde Youth Jazz Orchestra Trust. Currently there are four East Renfrewshire students in attendance, another has progressed to the junior Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and is a featured soloist with the RCS Jazz Big Band and yet another is an established member of the Scottish Youth Jazz Orchestra.
In contrast to East Renfrewshire, Glasgow have a school population of 65,000. The City also have a long and enviable record of achievement in the performance of classical music. Jazz has much catching up to do. A start was made in 2009 with the setting up of a Schools’ Big Band which went on to perform at major education authority public concerts. The standard big band repertoire has been staple and the development of individual players’ improvisation skills is not neglected. The Glasgow Jazz Summer School is lead by some of Scotland’s most experienced jazz musicians and educators; it provides classes of theory, ear training and ensemble playing for the participants who are aged 15 plus. The School dates coincide with the Glasgow International Jazz Festival and Summer School participants can attend selected performances free of charge. And again, we draw attention to Glasgow’s praiseworthy policy of not charging for any instrumental lessons.
Greater Manchester Music Hub
Greater Manchester Music Hub comprises nine local authorities with a combined school population of 336,000. It has proved difficult in this first year to paint a comprehensive picture of jazz education provision. However a ‘progression through ensembles’ policy is now in being and a Greater Manchester Youth Jazz Orchestra to cater for more advanced young musicians is planned for next year (it will be interesting to see where one of the country’s finest youth jazz orchestras – that of Wigan – will fit in). Currently the Hub runs 13 weekly ensembles dedicated to jazz performance. A particularly welcome development here is the move to an integrated offer of training to both Hub and school-based staff.
Kingston upon Hull
Kingston upon Hull Hub employs two members of staff with jazz as their specialism. The City’s splendid purpose-built Albemarle Music Centre is home to Junior and Senior Jazz Orchestras; the latter won the Best Band category and other awards at this year’s Great North Big Band Festival. Both bands perform publicly at least once per term. One of the specialist tutors, who also delivers a jazz module at Huddersfield University, supports non-specialist tutors and gives one-to-one coaching.
The main delivery partner of Manchester Youth Music Education Hub is One Education Music. Many high spots recorded here. First among them has been the creation of the Manchester Youth Jazz Collective – a collaboration between One Education Music, Brighter Sound, the NYJC and the Manchester’s premier jazz club, Band-on-the-Wall, which has given 8-18 year olds opportunity to participate in a series of three weekend workshops focusing on small group improvisation in streamed groups. This year 41 pupils and students attended. A follow-on summer school is planned for next year.
Senior members of the One Education Jazz team are active jazz performers and are well qualified, both musically and educationally. Ten other members of staff received two intensive and very successful CPD training days lead by the Director of the NYJC and the ubiquitous Richard Michael. Out of that, one member of staff created a scheme of work for introducing improvisation to his Wider Opportunities brass students.
We have been given detailed information on the type and large number of ensembles of all levels playing some jazz or 100 per cent jazz; that includes jazz bands at most of the schools at which One Education Music staff teach. Weekly rehearsals are the norm for all of these.
Close links with the Manchester Jazz Festival have been exploited to great advantage with the provision of artists to conduct workshops, some of which are in depth explorations of original works. Between 40 and 60 students attend. That is in addition to regular jazz workshops run by Brighter Sound and Band on the Wall. Students are encouraged to sit ABRSM syllabuses and to use jazz group ensemble performances for their GCSE course work.