These Diplomas are awarded annually by Jazz Services in association with the National Music Council Music Education Awards Scheme, which has been running for over forty years. They matter because they do two things. They are the only means of according national recognition to those Hubs, Music Services and schools which demonstrate an outstanding commitment to jazz education. And secondly, they matter because they give national recognition to those field practitioners who are actually delivering jazz education at school and other levels, and especially those who are helping to combat the widespread jazz phobia among classroom music teachers and instrumental tutors.
The Diploma is named in honour of Will Michael who, until his death in 2008, 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 think the quality of this year’s Diploma winners speaks for itself. They really do get better year on year, which of course is how it should be!
Our only regret is that the National Music Council’s trawl of Hubs has this year produced one of the lowest ever returns. This is difficult to explain, though it is no secret that some Hubs have a struggle on their hands convincing schools that music education matters.
These Diplomas have come to celebrate efforts to include jazz and improvised music in music education, often against many odds. For us the undoubted importance of this area of activity lies in its contribution to a truly rounded music education; so it is relevant for the generality of aspiring musicians, not just those who consider themselves jazz specialists. This is also about educating future jazz audiences.
To conclude this introduction, my esteemed colleagues on the Jazz Services’ Awards Panel (Dr Catherine Tackley, Andrea Vicari and Bill Martin) and I, on behalf of Jazz Services, 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 course!;
- Nick Smart and the Royal Academy of Music for their warm and supportive association over the past four years;
- the Worshipful Company of Musicians for their generous sponsorship of the Awards this year; and
- our colleagues at Serious, who through the EFG London Jazz Festival, have raised our profile and given us invaluable direct support.
Ivor Widdison, Chair, Jazz Services’ Education Panel.
View the 2014 report...