Set out below are the citations in respect of the Diploma winners:
The Music Hub looks to the Devon Youth Jazz Orchestra Association (DYJOA) to provide jazz education in its area. The high quality of the two flagship youth jazz orchestras – DYJO 1 and DYJO 2 – has been chronicled in our reports over several years. Public performances throughout the County and sometimes overseas is the norm; and the training and performing opportunities they have provided over the last 40 years continues to be a notable feature of their work. The aspect of their activities which most interests us is the outreach work they do in schools and other settings. With the support of the Hub a contingent of the best soloists from DYJOS 1&2, known as the Jazz Ambassadors performed and lead workshops in three different areas of Devon, as part of an established Jazz Explosion programme. Before delivering such programmes to schools the Ambassadors undertake four training sessions.
With support from the Hub DYJOA is planning to increase its jazz education in the coming year by, inter alia, finalising a primary school jazz introduction pack; given successful trials this will be made available to all Devon primary schools.
As a contribution to classroom music teachers CPD, a jazz education tool kit, assembled by DYJOA. was featured at this year’s South West Penninsular Music Education Conference.
East Renfrewshire are far and away the smallest Authority (population 91,000) making a submission this year, but still able to employ four staff members who have the Advanced Diploma in Jazz from the University of St Andrews.
While it may not be our custom to emphasise big band successes, when we have evidence of an effective trickle down effect here ( as in Devon) we cannot but raise our hats! Thus new jazz ensembles started up in four of East Renfrewshire’s seven secondary schools, supported by Instrumental Music Service staff (IMS) inspired directly by the Senior Big Band’s performance in the Commonwealth Games Legacy Showcase and a live Christmas broadcast on BBC Scotland’s Jazz House with studio rehearsals under Tommy Smith. This followed award winning performances at the Glasgow Music Festival.
The Big Band includes players from all seven secondary schools and continues to send members to the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland jazz courses and to the Scottish Youth Jazz Orchestra no. 2 Band.
The IMS primary music course provides improvisation workshops for 100 primary 7 instrumentalists, and is planning a residential course early in 2016.
And finally we think we should make special mention of the fact that this is the fifth consecutive year that East Renfrewshire have been awarded a Diploma.
This Hub has a Jazz Education Policy. In our experience this is unusual. It is also very praiseworthy. The headline aim is “to encourage jazz performance at all levels”. And the objectives, which are ambitious, are to stimulate, encourage and develop jazz skills to schools, students and teachers in addition to promoting good practice at its Central Music School. And what is more the same Central School provides “disciplined” rehearsals for local youth and adult musicians to explore challenging repertoire, ensemble skills and improvisation. It is, sadly, rare these days to come across a music service/Hub which makes any jazz provision for adults. Three other music centres also provide jazz performance opportunities as a result of which they often feed players into the Jazz Academy Big Band and the senior Gloucestershire Youth Jazz Orchestra.
By means of a locally produced PDF booklet, good practice and the jazz knowledge base are promoted for students, tutors and classroom music teachers. The booklet also shares advice and practise strategies, music theory resources, ideas for the development of improvisation and jazz language skills and listening suggestions – it is difficult, in our opinion, to overestimate the importance for students’ development of hearing jazz, preferably live; and this is recognised by Gloucestershire’s policy and practice.
Also worthy of praise, is Gloucestershire’s inclusion of improvisation and jazz history in its Whole Class Music Curriculum, with teachers being encouraged to use improvisation as a creative tool in Whole Class lessons.
And finally, we have here a submission which in some measure meets all our guidance criteria; this is probably a first !
All Oxfordshire County Music Service (OCMS) First Access instrumental lessons use play and copy ideas as a warm-up activity which develops into short improvisations. Improvisational support material can be accessed by pupils at home. And such is the importance attached to this skill that all OCMS instrumental music assessments up to grade 3 require pupils to make an improvisational response to an appropriate stimulus. A jazz improvisation presentation to all teaching staff was included in OCMS INSET.
OCMS dedication to the Big Band was very much in evidence with a Schools Big Band, Senior Schools Big Band and the Oxfordshire Youth Big Band – a Dixieland Jazz Band (a recent innovation) and the Jazz Collective also meet weekly. The latter has a focus on higher level improvisation skills. Nine local schools also have jazz groups.
Every OYBB concert is recorded for a CD and some students use the recordings for GCSE and A level music purposes. The OCMS Big Band chart library, which supports all the OCMS ensembles referred to above, exceeds 500 titles and covers all styles.