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An inspiring, shared experience at the Royal Albert Hall for young people from neighbouring authorities

This blog is part 7 of a series of case studies about the work of hub partners in reaching more young people with music in Gloucestershire. Case studies are taken from our most recent annual report so some programmes will have ended, but they are representative of the work of the hub that is ongoing.

Gloucestershire Music (GM) has had a close relationship with Music for Youth (MfY) for seven years, hosting and providing support for its regional festival at Cheltenham Town Hall, and taking invited groups to it’s National Festival and Schools Proms at the Royal Albert Hall, London.

The Festival has featured performers from Gloucestershire Music, Bath and North East Somerset music education hub, and South Gloucestershire music education hub for many years, and being based in neighbouring authorities, it seemed only natural for the three to work in partnership. They began discussing how to showcase many of their top musicians and singers and an idea formed to create a massed ensemble which would perform at the 2016 MfY Schools Prom.

Gloucestershire Music was the lead organisation, commissioning a 10- minute piece suitable for a 150- piece wind orchestra and a 450- strong choir from local composer Philip Harper. Funding was provided by the three music hubs and by contributions from participants.

The choir was formed from existing secondary-aged pupils chosen by the three participating hubs/services. Students were  chosen from school or community groups (e.g. the Beauregard Youth Choir and Chamber Choir who had participated in MfY in the past) on the basis of their commitment, drive and passion for singing at a high level. Recordings as well as notation of the piece were available online, ensuring that all singers – from those who had learned traditionally to those who were self-taught – could learn the music.

The collaborative nature of this project, in bringing together three music hubs, MfY and the National Concert Band Festival, was a driving factor in its success.

Cllr Paul McLain, Gloucestershire County Council’s cabinet member for children and younger people, said at the time: “What a venue and what a mightycollection of musicians! This is such a great opportunity for Gloucestershire Music and the young musicians that it represents. Gloucestershire Music has won a number of national awards in recent years, and to now be playing at the Royal Albert Hall really is outstanding.”

You can read more case studies in our Annual Report

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Primary school teachers and future music leaders help create new generation of classical and jazz fans with Cheltenham Festivals

This blog is part 6 of a series of case studies about the work of hub partners in reaching more young people with music in Gloucestershire. Case studies are taken from our most recent annual report so some programmes will have ended, but they are representative of the work of the hub that is ongoing.

“The children now listen to classical music and jazz with more focus and purpose; they enjoy music much more and can concentrate for longer because they are listening in a different way. They are also developing the language and confidence to talk about it.” Teacher, Linden Primary.

Musicate is Cheltenham Festivals’ flagship music ducation programme. It aims to:

  •  inspire children to love and critically engage with music
  •  develop the confidence and
  • communication skills of early- career musicians through bespoke training programmes
  •  equip primary teachers and musicians with creative approaches to music education.

In its first year, 2016/17 it involved 12 teachers and 360 pupils from six Gloucestershire primary schools, six musicians from Birmingham Conservatoire and two professional musicians. Many hundreds more pupils and their teachers also benefited indirectly from activity in their school.

Following are two stories giving the experiences of a teacher and a conservatoire student.

Nicky finds new confidence to teach music in her school

Nicky is a class teacher at St Thomas More Catholic Primary. Like many ‘music non-specialist’teachers, she lacked confidence in her ability to teach music, and believed her skills to be very limited. As the Musicate programme progressed, she developed her skillset and was able to plan and team-teach confidently with Musicate’s Ben, one of the conservatoire musicians who the school had been paired with, and the music subject lead in school. She co-delivered a confident presentation at the Sharing Day, and played an equal role in producing her school’s contribution to the Showcase Concert.

She said: “My confidence to teach music, and my confidence generally, has grown so much. After the first CPD day, I was so nervous but I’ve thoroughly enjoyed it. I have never seen a particular child in my class so engaged; he has very severe autism but has connected with Ben and Will and the live music. It’s affected them all (and me and other staff) in so many different ways, so thank you so much to you and the whole Musicate team. Looking forward to working with you all again in the future.”

Nick learns how to share his musical skills with children

Nick’s skills and confidence developed in leaps and bounds through his pairing with Linden Primary school, something his tutors at Birmingham Conservatoire also noticed and commented on.

He built a strong relationship with teachers and pupils at his school, and made a real difference to the pupils.

“Musicate has offered plenty ofopportunity to develop and work on approaches,” said Nick. “ I’m better at enabling children to express theirthoughts in greater detail.”

In collaboration with another Musicate musician, he planned and presented a fun and engaging school concert for the Cheltenham Jazz Festival, attended by more than 600 pupils and teachers from 13 primaries.

One teacher from Calton Primary School commented: “The concert was child-friendly; lots of audience participation; interesting; informative; ALL the children absolutely loved it – they didn’t really know much about jazz before but can now discuss aspects with confidence.”

Nick also secured an internship at Cheltenham Jazz Festival, and after Musicate successfully applied for a role as Learning Trainee with Birmingham Contemporary Music Group. He said: “I wouldn’t have come anywhere close to it without Musicate. I can’t put into words how much I’ve got out of it – it has truly been amazing, the perfect launchpad into so many other realms of success in life and work.”

You can read more case studies in our Annual Report

 

From first steps, to becoming a leader: Oliver and Eden find their way in music with Gloucestershire Academy of Music

This blog is part 4 of a series of case studies about the work of hub partners in reaching more young people with music in Gloucestershire. Case studies are taken from our most recent annual report so some programmes will have ended, but they are representative of the work of the hub that is ongoing.

An inspiring experience and financial support leads Oliver to take his first steps in music

Oliver was in the audience at Calton Primary School when a string quartet from Chineke!, Europe’s first black and minority ethnic orchestra, came to play in July. He saw professional musicians play violins, cellos and violas, alongside other young people, and he and his classmates were invited to take part in Gloucestershire Academy of Music (GAM)’s summer holiday ‘Try an instrument’ course. Oliver was keen, but his parents couldn’t afford to pay for this themselves, so they applied for a bursary to cover the course fee and transport. Each morning for a week, Oliver learned how to play the violin, culminating in a performance alongside GAM’s Junior Orchestra, in front of family and friends.

The experience inspired Oliver to want to continue, and so he was offered a bursary for Saturday morning violin lessons at GAM’s centre, Barbican House.  Oliver is enjoying his lessons, and when he’s ready his teacher will encourage him to join one of GAM’s ensembles through which he’ll have many opportunities to progress and advance his skills.

Leadership and professional experiences help Eden to advance his skills

Eden, has attended classes and ensembles at GAM since he was very young. He currently has viola lessons and attends Stringzone on a Monday evening, as part of the advanced ensemble, Prima Corda. Through Stringzone, Eden gets to meet other advanced musicians and has helped to establish a student-led ensemble, Discord Datcord. An important function of this group is to perform new works by young composers and a highlight for the next academic year will be a performance in the Royal Albert Hall in November as part of the Music for Youth Proms 2017.

Eden takes advantage of every opportunity available, and has played at a Severnside Composers workshop with the Carducci Quartet; with Chineke! when they performed at The King’s Theatre in Gloucester in July 2017; with Gloucestershire Youth Orchestra; and with the CBSO Youth Orchestra. His musical progress is supported by South West Music School who fund his lessons and give him opportunities to attendworkshops and ensembles. He’s also recently successfully applied to become an associate member of the management board of Gloucestershire Academy of Music, where he’ll be able to influence future provision for the next generation of young musicians.

You can read more case studies in our Annual Report

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