The future of Music Education
Welcome to my first blog on the Gloucestershire Music website. I am very proud of the achievements of musicans young and not so young in the county of Gloucestershire, many of whom in part owe their love of music to Gloucestershire Music.
Gloucestershire Music as the county music service provides opportunities for young people and adults to make music, and also seeks to signpost opportunities provided by other people (both individuals and organisations) to ensure all musicians have the opportunity to develop their talents and interests to the full.
Visits to the National Festival of Music for Youth finals in Birmingham earlier in the month with youth music groups from Gloucestershire demonstrated just how vibrant youth music making is accross the country: UK music education is rightly seen to be a world leader in its field.
What have been the recent highlights in Gloucestershire? In terms of quality and access the top story has to be our provision over the last three years of 10 hours free tuition to all Key Stage 2 classes in the county via the Wider Opportunities in Music programme. We had an overwhelmingly positive response to this programme from pupils and schools, and a number of schools are continuing to provide these opportunities on a self funded basis. We are also seeking to set up more local out of school opportunities for first access to music, some of this via our existing music centres.
And what of the future? The government’s commissioned Henley Review of Music Education which was published in February 2011 produced 36 recommendations, some of which have been adopted by the music service community as things they ought to be doing anyway.
Key amongst these is the need to network as effectively as possible to ensure effective targetting of resources and expertise to ensure that local needs are met. I have been working with key strategic stakeholders to establish a picture of what is needed in Gloucestershire, to strengthen existing partnerships and develop new ones.
We may very well need to demonstrate local need to attract government funding in the future, and we will certainly need to do this to provide more targetted resources for particular groups within our community.
In order to join up support which is not at present provided directly by Gloucestershire Music, both formally and informally, the Gloucestershire Music Forum and Forest of Dean Music Makers are merging to form Gloucestershire Music Makers. This new organisation will seek to continue the networking and support offered previously by the two organisations, linking also with expertise in Early Years and vocal support, and seeking to reach communities and individuals involved in non formal and informal music making.
We will be seeking the views of students, parents and schools via e surveys at the start of the new school year to ensure that we have as complete a picture as possible of local needs.
Head of Gloucestershire Music.