Jazz Servicesí Will Michael Jazz Education Awards 2013 title


The Jazz Services’ Will Michael Jazz Education Awards 2013/14


Bournemouth & Poole (SoundStorm)

Bournemouth & Poole (SoundStorm) are notably involving several high class UK jazz musicians in a variety of ways. Their young musicians are helping star pianist Robert Mitchell to create a new major suite for premiere at the local Arts by the Sea Festival and at the EFG London Jazz Festival this Autumn. SoundStorm support has been essential for the viability of this project.

Significant funding is put into education outreach programmes from the Studio Jazz season at the Lighthouse, Poole’s Centre for the Arts. The workshops and master classes in the schools themselves have been lead by Simon Spillet, Rob Palmer and Arnie Somogyi’s “Scenes in the City”; further visits planned for this term include by Alan Barnes, Claire Martin, Adam Glasser. The rationale here is to inspire into playing and /or listening to jazz. Indeed, Sound Storm’s initiatives are making a very real contribution to the success of Lighthouse’s Studio Jazz season with a younger audience demographic already in evidence.

SoundStorm’s Bournemouth Jazz Band is now well established and providing a new opportunity for starter jazz players of all school phases ultimately to develop the skills to enable them to progress into the Dorset Youth Jazz Orchestra, the advanced ensemble – this a partnership with Dorset Music Service.

Following a dialogue between Jazz Services’ Education Panel and SoundStorm/Wave Director, Dan Somogyi, a plan for pilot schemes aimed at developing the use of jazz more widely in the core and extension roles of music Hubs was drawn up, approved by the Panel and Jazz Services’ Board and featured in JSL’s submission for NPO funding from the ACE with a view to roll out in 2014. SoundStorm was also primed to trial some of the scheme in its schools in the summer term of 2014. The ACE, for its part, have not to date shown interest, but should another funding source be found, and we hope it will, SoundStorm will be keen to pursue the project.

Bromley Music Hub

Bromley Music Hub A first-time entry this and it hits the ground running! Sights are pitched high with high profile (EFG London Jazz Festival, for example) public peformances very much in evidence. This is made possible when you can draw upon nine jazz ensembles in the Hub to feed into the two big bands and a series of improvisation workshops which for the past three years have involved Soweto Kinch as music mentor. That same mix provided the stimulus for a new 20 minute musical work, composed by the students and refined and extended by composer James Yarde, which was publicly performed. A similar project was completed with year 8 pupils with the aim of introducing contemporary dance and creative music fusion in a jazz idiom.

The New Generation Big Band performed over ten gigs in the summer season alone. The Senior Big Band, where all students are of grade 8 plus standard, is now undertaking national festival commitments.

The Bromley Youth Music Trust prides itself on high quality CPD for its own staff and while these awards are about the year’s achievements we look to recognise also good developmental planning. So we are happy to acknowledge the Trust’s proposal to arrange CPD workshops for instrumentalists and singers (including Gospel) via master classes and repertoire development for classroom and peripatetic staff. Soweto Kinch is to be brought back for further improvisation workshops, and in the Easter holiday 2015, a large scale jazz course, over three days, will be lead by Buster Birch and other high quality professionals.

East Renfrewshire

East Renfrewshire may be the smallest education authority featured in this report – a familiar role for their instrumental music service – but that doesn’t hinder their commitment to jazz education, evidenced aplenty by this their fifth Diploma award in successive years!

The pedagogic base is all important. This Service looks to guarantee that by the continued employment of four members of staff with the Advanced Diploma in Jazz from St Andrews University and by engaging Stewart Forbes, former Head of Jazz at Strathclyde University to lead the Service’s jazz groups, to teach and to develop planned CPD on improvisation and jazz styles for all staff. The pedagogic base is further strengthened by a new initiative which is succeeding not least because pupils and students are especially receptive to tuition and mentoring by those who are recognisably young people! In this instance, by members of the Strathclyde Youth Jazz Orchestra (one of the top European Youth Jazz Orchestras) who are providing jazz training as part of the Renfrewshire YMI Jazz Initiative. Additionally, members of the SYJO under the direction of Stewart Forbes, undertook an eight-week programme with the Service’s Senior Jazz Band, and the transformative affect on the Band was, apparently, spectacular. Incidentally, membership of this Senior Band is drawn from all seven of the Authority’s secondary schools.

The annual primary music course involved 110 pupils and featured improvisation workshops. Substantial progress was made over the course of the week. In practice this course proves to be an effective feeder to the Service’s Junior Jazz Band.


Glasgow to their credit have maintained the policy of providing instrumental lessons free of charge. The Glasgow Schools Big Band, formed in 2009, comprises 27 students from secondary schools in the city and rehearses weekly in term time in the City Halls. A standard big band repertoire is rehearsed and the development of improvisation skills is worked on. The Band is called upon to perform at the City’s Christmas and Spring concerts and other public events.

The Jazz Summer School, which is promoted jointly with the Glasgow International Jazz Festival, continues to field some of Scotland’s most experienced jazz musicians and educators who hold classes on music theory, ear training and ensemble playing. The Festival have also developed their own annual schools jazz band competition, but rather like the Summer School, few details have been vouchsafed to us.

Manchester (One Education Music)

One Education Music is the main delivery partner in the Manchester Music Hub. This submission exemplifies the main advantage of the Hub concept, viz the scope it provides for collaborative provision, which when underpinned by a shared vision and commitment to a genre, in this instance of course, jazz education, can add up to an impressive number of successful outcomes.

Designation as a Beacon of Good Practice under the National Youth Jazz Collective (NYJC) umbrella of the Manchester Youth Jazz Collective (MYJC) was a standout achievement. The MYJC gives 8-18 year olds opportunity to participate in a series of weekend workshops and Saturday taster sesssions. The focus has been on small group improvisation in streamed groups.

The commitment to CDP has been maintained. Ten members of staff attended intensive training days lead by Issie Barrett, Richard Michael and One Education Music’s own team of jazz specialists. That same team also conducted whole staff training and CPD for the broader staff body with a focus on how to introduce jazz and associated musicianship practices into small group tuition contexts as well as Wider Opportunities’ settings (not so easy!)

Specialist jazz staff lead jazz ensembles, big band and small group, in the schools where they teach. And there are several examples of workshops, course opportunities and projects by the Northern School of Jazz, Band on the Wall, Brighter Sound, the Royal Northern College of Music and the Manchester Jazz Festival among others, all helping to enrich the learning of young jazz students.

And finally, it would be tempting to think that the exploration by 45 students of the beguiling Felonius Monks commission’s mix of renaissance music and jazz sparked a lasting interest in both musical forms!


Oxfordshire, a county which takes improvisation seriously! The syllabus of all First Access programmes includes it, and non-specialist teachers are provided with specific guidance.

One of the most effective ways of stimulating real interest in jazz among young peopleis to give them opportunities to hear and see members of their own age group performing to a reasonably high standard. The Oxfordshire Music Education Partnership (the Hubs formal name) are very committed to that approach to the extent that Music Service Big Bands and groups regularly visit schools to perform joint concerts; the submission we received evidenced this by a detailed schedule of all visits by all the groups concerned over the year. Teachers receive specialist support in preparing pupils and students in the schools to participate as singers and/or instrumentalists.

We are always interested in the number, size and frequency of coming together of jazz ensembles supported by the Hub, Music Service and individual schools: Oxfordshire’s response to this question was: three big bands supported by the Music Service, high quality big band and jazz combo provision in six large secondary schools, big band workshops in three music centres, two regular soloist rhythm sections from the county big bands and two highly successful student-led jazz combos: all meeting at least weekly.

Music Service specialist staff have continued to run workshop sessions for other instrumental teachers within the Music Service. The focus has been on how to develop jazz provision at the County’s music centres and how best to incorporate improvisation into mainstream music teaching.

Among several high profile public peformances, two stand out: a commissioned arrangement of a work by composer Nick Blake “Back in the Day” for a celebration of the work of the Oxfordshie County Music Service performed by two of the Oxfordshire Big Bands augmented by extra percussion and 50 strings, which was performed also at the 2014 National Music for Youth Festival.

Next page...

MusicEd Home Page