Barnet’s submission was distinguished by an extremely comprehensive programme of support for curriculum delivery and an impressively large number of opportunities for pupils and students to engage in regular ensemble activity.
In its third year of life Blackpool’s Music Service provides evidence of significant commitment to INSET and music technology. We were very much taken by a weekly, free, family orchestral rehearsal. Grandparents, parents and pupils learn to play music together. Several primary schools have adopted this idea.
Bracknell Forest’s submission illustrates graphically how much can be achieved even if the LEA employs only one music advisory teacher. Thus by harnessing the support of Berkshire Young Musicians’ Trust, obtaining funds from the Learning & Skills Council, Youth Music and South Hill Park and working collaboratively with LEA neighbours and Reading University, the very small Bracknell Forest have put together a very good submission , which includes evidence that rap as an aid to learning in maths and literacy might be proof for which some of us have been searching that rap has a future in education after all!
Bury’s Music Service is run by a small private company which while maintaining a good rapport with all the schools and the LEA is frustrated by lack of resources.
Cumbria are justly proud of their music website “Tuned-in” which provides creative and practical ways of encouraging primary pupils to participate in music making in and beyond the classroom using voices, instruments and ICT. In addition to individual schools and teacher-training institutions, 22 LEAs subscribe to the service.
The year’s new activities were outstandingly multi-genre in Dudley. The Performing Arts Team have recently introduced key performance indicators, which when the data is complete, promise to be very interesting.
Ealing Music Service’s Summer programme included two successful new ventures – an Asian summer school (claimed to be the only one of its kind in the UK) catering for beginners and more advanced pupils both to hone their own skills and to experience other musics such as Thai and Rajasthani music; and a Rock & Pop summer school involving professionals, master classes on keyboard, bass guitar, vocals and drums culminating in performance, with a DVD for all participants.
East Ayrshire too laid on a full Summer School programme and much else in a decidedly upbeat submission that bore eloquent testimony to what can be achieved in very short order with an injection of new moneys. Given the doubling of that funding allocation this year and next, we look forward with some excitement to next year ’s submission.
As befits the largest LEA in the country, Essex are now responsible for ten county-wide ensembles in addition to locally based ensembles in all 29 area music schools. There was a large number of new initiatives in the year: world music and music technology were notable absentees, but there were two welcome jazz initiatives in the form of a new training jazz ensemble to feed the Essex County Youth Jazz Orchestra and an advanced skills course for members of the latter. They represent a healthy complementary activity to the County Council’s commendable and long-standing support for the National Jazz Archive in Loughton.
Gateshead Schools’ Music Service maintain their commitment to Early Music, to working with neighbouring LEAs and to making generous provision for pupils with special educational needs. Year on year they have increased the number of students receiving regular weekly tuition; that number is now 9 per cent of the school population. And the LEA support of £60k for the purchase and repair of instruments and equipment makes an important contribution to that aspect of the Music Service’s
After a gap of several years, we were pleased to receive a submission from Glasgow where music technology and singing are being taken seriously and to good effect. Yet ensemble performance opportunities in and out of school seem to be confined to traditional genres.
Singing (and this includes a signing choir) is also strong in Havering where an exciting collaboration has been started with Michael Nyman, and regular instrumental and vocal tuition is received by over ten percent of pupils. The provision for adults and, through the Youth Service, for young people is commendable, as is the number and range of ensemble performance opportunities. This is a Service with flair!
The “Dingwall Hooters and Tooters” are but one of an impressively large number of ensembles playing all over the area of the Highland Council. Outcomes of that order become possible when your Council, to their immense credit, are prepared to expend £1m on an instrumental scheme and associated activities.
The Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea choose not to have a music service or to employ instrumental tutors, though there is a growing appreciation on the part of councillors of what is being achieved by the music consultant. Thanks to her industry good progress is being made with music technology and the development of keyboard skills; and advantage is being taken of the location of the Royal College of Music in the LEA’s area.
Leeds make a welcome return to the Scheme with a submission that suggests overall provision of breadth and imagination, but is tantalisingly short on detail.
Including out-of-school hours tuition, 13 per cent of Northamptonshire’s pupils received regular instrumental/vocal tuition and nearly 10,000 instruments were available on free loan. The Music Service makes outstandingly generous provision for adults, provides solid support for curriculum delivery, administers 15 music and performing arts centres and is recognised nationally for the work of its teachers and advisers in music technology.
In the interests of quality assurance, North Lanarkshire have created five new senior posts. That isn’t the end of the innovation: a high school has been converted into a specialist music comprehensive, which is intended to serve local community music as well. As is the tradition of this Authority, there is little provision which does not in some valuable way serve the music interests of the wider community.
This was an all-action year for the Northumberland County Music Service with singing, world musics, jazz and folk initiatives, many of which also provided useful curriculum support material. The Service is fully alive to the across the board relevance of music technology and ICT.
We are grateful to Oxfordshire for reminding us that considerable effort is required to sustain high quality provision and the constant striving to make music available to more people for more of the time; and that policy and practice driven by those imperatives matters more than “continually chasing short-term gains”. We could not agree more: and the Oxfordshire County Music Service’s record over recent years is such that they are eminently entitled to make those points.
It has taken Rochdale Music Service several years to get back on to its feet after crippling budget reductions. Successful brass band and choral activities are the hallmark of this Service; we were pleased to see that there is now evidence of the introduction of world musics into the schools.
It is some time since we heard from Salford and their submission has many pleasing features, not least the work of a well-staffed team dedicated to the support of the National Curriculum for music and sound INSET programmes and numerous opportunities for continuing professional development, support for the youth service, and ample openings for regular ensemble playing. Our only reservation has to do with the absence of any reference to world music.
South Tyneside take full advantage of the Northern Sinfonia’s residence at The Sage Gateshead. Indeed, by virtue of collaboration with a wide range of music organisations, this small LEA have succeeded in making their limited funds (the Standards Fund allocation was very small in the two previous years) go a long way. And how refreshing to learn that not only are asylum seekers made welcome at musical activities, but that they themselves arranged a concert ! And to their credit, the LEA invested £27,000 in new instruments for primary schools. This rejuvenation of music education among the Tyneside LEAs is very welcome.
It is difficult to imagine the range and scope of the involvement by Stirling of professional musicians and performing arts practitioners being bettered by any Service. It is gratifying to see that so much of the policy and practice that gained Stirling a Diploma last year is being maintained, especially through the Performing Arts Centre’s Arts and Music Development programme.
We hope Trafford’s interesting Black History and Chinese Projects can be carried forward in some way. The Music Service will undoubtedly benefit from the anticipated closer links with the Youth Service, for the provision already made by the latter by way of extensive music-making opportunities is exemplary. We hope the LEA will soon be in a position to contribute to the Music Service’s costs – the existing heavy dependence on the Standards Fund (and Trafford is not alone in this respect) is a cause for concern.
Such dependence is also evident in Wandsworth’s submission where the Schools Music Service has strengthened its infra-structure. It has also benefited significantly from the City Learning Centre’s Music Technology Consultant who has been responsible for ground-breaking collaboration with an early years’ reception class that identified areas of school curriculum development needing to be addressed and using ICT to that end. The appointment of a choral animateur has raised vocal music standards generally and the range of activities supporting curriculum delivery is varied and generous.
Warrington’s small core Music Service is responsible for a good range of INSET and CPD opportunities. Some promising joint working with neighbouring LEAS has also been started.
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