Latest news

New piano resources from ABRSM

ABRSM, the international examinations board and music publisher, announced two new publications for piano students on 4 April 2019. Piano Star Theory presents theory activities for beginners, covering note values, rests, pitches, dynamics, accidentals, time signatures and more. With short pieces to sing, clap and play, it makes links throughout to practical music-making and puts theory in context, helping to develop a pupil’s understanding of musical notation, while building aural awareness and boosting their confidence as young musicians. More Piano Sight-Reading provides additional sight-reading practice material to support the current ABRSM Piano syllabus. It is available for Grades 1-8 and each book contains sample practice tests and preparatory exercises which aim to build skills and increase confidence. There are no changes to the current sight-reading requirements and ABRSM’s existing piano specimen sight-reading tests are still valid.

Siemens Hallé International Conductors Competition announced

The Hallé has announced details of the inaugural Siemens Hallé International Conductors Competition in partnership with global technology company, Siemens AG

Tido Music

New research reveals Early Years music-making ‘closes the gap’ in children’s development

Soundabout’s new report reveals that targeted Early Years music sessions can improve outcomes for children and families in areas of high deprivation

Algorithms and reduced attention spans mean pop songs are getting shorter

The length of the average number one song has shrunk by almost one fifth over the past two decades and continues to get shorter, according to a new study from Ostereo, a UK record label. Ostereo researchers analysed the UK charts and Spotify’s most streamed tracks since the platform’s launch and have identified a consistent shortening of popular song lengths between 1998 and 2018. Producer and writer of six UK top ten singles and UK number one ‘Uptown Funk’, Mark Ronson, recently claimed that songs longer than 3 minutes and 15 seconds have a lower chance of success due to Spotify’s algorithm. The influence of algorithms 2018 was the first year since Spotify launched that no UK number one was longer than 4 minutes 30 seconds. Of the 100 most-streamed songs on Spotify, eight – including Sam Smith’s Stay With Me and Imagine Dragons’ Demons – were shorter than three minutes. One track, the song Jocelyn Flores by late rapper XXXTentacion – which has been streamed 767m times – is under two minutes, clocking in at an efficient 1m 59s. Only one of Spotify’s top 20 most streamed songs, Mike Posner’s I Took A Pill In Ibiza, lasts more than 4m 30s, while six are under 3m 30s and three are shorter than three minutes. Average lengths of UK number ones by year 1998 – 4m 16s 2008 – 3m 44s 2018 – 3m 30s 2019 (so far) – 3m 3s Longer songs becoming less popular As well songs becoming shorter on average, longer songs appear to be becoming less popular. In 1998, a third of all number one singles (12 out of 32) were longer than 4m 30s and four were longer than five minutes, including Madonna’s Frozen (6m 12s) and Oasis’ All Around The World (9m 38s). No UK number one single in the past nine years has been longer than five minutes and in 2018 no original UK number one exceeded four minutes (the only song longer than four minutes was We Built This City, the Christmas charity single by LadBaby, a derivative work based on Starship’s 1985 single of the same name). Of the 100 most-streamed songs on Spotify since its 2008 launch, just five are longer than 4m 30s and only one, Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody, released in 1975, is longer than five minutes. Howard Murphy, founder of Ostereo, believes that algorithms may be encouraging artists… Read more »

Chorister voice trials to take place in Cambridge and Canterbury

The choirs of King’s College, Cambridge and Canterbury Cathedral are holding auditions for new choristers in June and November. The next King’s chorister auditions take place on Saturday 1 June 2019. Enquiries are welcome anytime and full information about the audition day is available on the College website. Canterbury Cathedral will be holding voice trials on Saturday 9 November 2019.  The choristers are educated at St Edmund’s School which is holding an Open Day in September; parents of prospective choristers are invited to contact David Flood, Director of Music at  The Life of a Cathedral Chorister: a short film from Canterbury Cathedral, introduced by David Flood Header photo: Choristers of King’s College, Cambridge © King’s College Cambridge

10,000 children to benefit from new £5m performing arts programme

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport has announced that the BRIT School, BBC North and the Lowry Trust will partner with schools in five regions of England in a new Youth Performance Partnerships programme. Projects in Croydon, Derby, Medway, Plymouth and Salford will offer children the chance to perform drama and dance and learn behind-the-scenes skills including lighting, sound and set design. Rap, performance and creative writing are also part of the £5m programme, which will particularly focus on engaging young people from disadvantaged backgrounds. Announcing the programme, Culture Secretary Jeremy Wright said: ‘As I know from my own experience, performing on stage can be transformative for young people. It can boost self esteem, build confidence and teach skills they will use throughout their lives. ‘While I’ve seen first hand some of the excellent work by schools and theatre groups, too many children around the country still do not have the opportunity to take part either on stage or behind the scenes. ‘Our Youth Performance Partnerships will give thousands of young people the chance to work directly with world-class cultural organisations and inspire the next generation of playwrights, actors or producers. The Culture Secretary made the announcement during a visit to the BRIT School, Croydon. Overseen by Arts Council England, one partnership was selected in the North, the Midlands, the South West, the South East and London, chosen from proposals from areas where the level of young people engaging in the arts, culture and theatre are low and where there are fewer opportunities for young people to take part in performance were prioritised. Darren Henley, Arts Council England CEO, said: ‘Taking part in performances, whether on stage or behind the scenes, has huge benefits for children. They can express themselves, boost their mental health and wellbeing through creativity, and learn about career paths they might never have considered before. We’re very pleased that the government is making these benefits more widely available to young people from all backgrounds through Youth Performance Partnerships.’ Header photo: Culture Secretary Jeremy Wright at the Brit School © Brit School

Soundsational evening led by children and young people from Portsmouth Music Hub

Children and young people came together on 13 March at Portsmouth’s Guildhall for an evening of music, drama and dance. ‘Soundsational’ was a celebration of musical talent in Portsmouth and provided an opportunity for the young performers to take to the stage in front of enthusiastic audience of friends, families and members of the public. In the company of the Deputy Lord Mayor of Portsmouth, Councillor David Fuller, schools and colleges from across the city performed a variety of familiar songs, stage hits and extracts from musicals. Elton John’s Circle of Life, Too Darn Hot from Kiss Me Kate and songs from Fame were performed alongside music from the Kings of Leon, Nirvana and Foo Fighters. The stage was packed with rock bands, choirs, dance groups and the audience were delighted by the eclectic mix of music that left everyone wanting more. Event producer Catherine Brentnall, from Portsmouth Music Hub, said after the show: ‘It’s been an incredible night, with a wide range of captivating performances. The enthusiasm of so many young people is truly inspiring for everyone involved, and the audience responded so positively to the skill, the passion and the commitment of our talented, young performers. The creative future of Portsmouth is definitely in safe hands!’ Further images and film from ‘Soundsational’ can be found at Header photo: A young performer from ‘Soundsational’ © Portsmouth Music Hub

Sage Gateshead announces Summer Studio residency

Sage Gateshead’s Summer Studio offers free, week-long residencies for musicians and singers to create new work, develop their practice or prepare for a performance

Musicians’ Union launches mentoring scheme for female members

The Musicians’ Union (MU) has teamed up with the international network to deliver a mentoring scheme for female members, she.grows X MU. The new partnership will focus on supporting women in the industry by matching fellow musicians together to help one another grow and succeed in their careers.  The MU is inviting applications from women working in a variety of areas across the industry with the aim of selecting 20 women to create 10 pairs of mentors and mentees. Each mentor and mentee will meet for a minimum of two hours per month, and have free access to bi-monthly events curated and hosted by on a range of topics related to professional development. Providing motivation from positive female role models The mentoring scheme aims to address a trend of growing concern in the music industry – of women not showing the confidence they need to fulfil their career goals. This project seeks to explore some of the drivers of this trend and to equip women to address any challenges they may face. A key part of this is ensuring that women have the opportunity to meet, learn and be motivated by positive female role models from within the same industry. is a diverse, global network of women across all sectors of the music industry. With headquarters in London and LA, the community has 15 active chapters around the world including London, New York, Paris and Berlin. Its vision is to connect and empower marginalised communities in the music industry with a focus on women’s rights. There are currently over 3,000 international members in the global community and an additional 10,000 members across the 15 local chapters. John Shortell, MU Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Official, said: ‘The idea for the mentoring scheme came directly from MU members through the Union’s democratic process, and it’s great to work with an amazing organisation like to deliver the scheme. ‘We know female musicians make up a small percentage of festival line-ups globally and representation of females in other sectors of the industry still isn’t where it should be. ‘I hope that that the mentoring scheme will empower our female members by giving them a meaningful opportunity to learn from female role models who have overcome barriers in the industry, and paved the way for future generations of female musicians.’ The MU welcomes applications from all women – including trans… Read more »

I can compose platform named Outstanding Music Education Product at awards ceremony

I can compose, a unique online music education platform founded by entrepreneur Rachel Shapey, was named the winner in the Outstanding Music Education Product category at the Music Teacher Awards for Excellence in London on 6 March 2019. I can compose has already won a Stelios Philanthropic Foundation Award for disabled entrepreneurs in 2018, and Shapey, a former teacher, was a finalist in the 2018 Enterprise Vision Awards. Using tried and tested methods from Rachel Shapey’s years of teaching composition at GCSE and A level to develop courses teaching everything from following musical scores to composing a jazz piece, the I can compose platform provides interactive step-by-step courses to help students compose music in a range of styles and genres. The platform lets students find fun and engaging tutorials to help them create their own compositions. It also allows teachers to access helpful, expert resources, either free or at a low cost. Diana Tarry, Director of Music at Blue Coat C of E School in Coventry, said: ‘I have been teaching music for 15 years and I haven’t come across anything so well-designed and carefully thought-out. The work my students have produced has far surpassed my expectations and given them confidence in the composition process.’ Making composing fun and accessible Rachel Shapey said: ‘I am over the moon to have won the Outstanding Music Education Product category at the Music Teacher Awards for Excellence. To receive this recognition is the cherry on top after the warm reception I can compose has had over the last year from students, teachers and the wider music education community. ‘The aim of the site has always been to make composing fun and accessible, and I’m thrilled that pupils and teachers are enjoying using the site and gaining confidence in the composing process. ‘I have great plans for I can compose, including more courses and building an engaged community for music educators and aspiring composers.’

Events and courses

The Chetham’s International Summer School and Festival for Pianists is a source of inspiration, fun, insight and focus for everyone who enjoys the piano and piano-playing.

Enter the Point Blank Music School x Accusonus Music Producer Competition to Win A Massive Beatmaking Bundle! We’re excited to announce that our latest music producer competition in partnership with next-gen audio and music technology creators, Accusonus, is now open for you to enter. The first place prize giveaway is a massive beat-making bundle which comes equipped with the fantastic Regroover Pro and Beatformer plugins as well as one of our Complete Online Courses completely free! This includes a choice of our Complete Electronic Music Production, Complete Mixing and Mastering, our Complete Sound Design programme and more and works out as a whopping £1,220 worth of freebies for the lucky winner. Don’t worry if you don’t manage to bag yourself the main prize – we will still be giving away a copy of Regroover and Beatformer for two runners up. To enter, all you need to do to is submit your best track via Plugged In and sit tight until we pick our 1st, 2nd and 3rd prize winners. The competition ends on 26 April 2019 so be sure to enter before it closes by clicking here. Find out more about how to enter, the excellent Regroover and Beatformer plugins and what’s in store for our online course grand prize winner below. How To Enter Step One: Get creative To enter the competition fire up your DAW and make either a remix or an original track. There are no limits to what we’ll except so if you’re a trap god, big room boss or a techno Viking, that’s completely fine – it can be in any style or genre and be either new or old but remember, you can only submit one track. For your track to classify as a full song for this competition it must be over two minutes long, so keep that in mind when producing your beat Sign up to both Point Blank and Accusonos’ mailing lists so we can both alert you about our new competitions, free plugins and tips roundups, new tutorials, events and more (this will be done automatically when signing up to Plugged In) Upload your track to SoundCloud with the name ‘Point Blank x Accusonus Producer Competition: Your Artist Name – “Your Track Name” ‘ Step Two: Share your remix on Plugged In Note that you will need to be registered in order to submit your track. For those not already registered, you can do so via this page Once you’ve recorded your track and are ready to share it from SoundCloud,… Read more »

The inaugural Musicians’ Union Members’ Conference will be held on Wednesday 24 July 2019 – the day after the biennial Delegate Conference – at the Hilton Brighton Metropole Hotel, East Sussex. All members are invited to join the General Secretary and the Union’s Executive Committee at this key event, to have an input into the development of policy and strategy, and in order to address current and forthcoming industrial and political issues affecting musicians. The programme will incorporate breakout sessions and attendees can choose to attend one morning and one afternoon session. The Conference will begin at 10.30am and close at 4pm. Session details The subjects for the sessions are as follows: Education & Equalities Morning session – Inclusive Music Teaching: discussion of the issues and challenges for teachers Afternoon session – Access to Music Education: is music becoming the preserve of those who can afford it? Live Performance Morning session – Access All Areas: building a career for life. Exploring the ways in which performing artists can find additional revenue streams and develop portfolio careers. Afternoon session – Touring: it’s no good for my health. A look at the mental and physical effects of life on the road and what the MU can do to encourage healthier workplaces and environments. Orchestras Morning session – The decline in music education and its impact on orchestras. How can the MU influence positive change? Afternoon session – Examining the power of the union in the employed and freelance orchestral sector. How can the MU empower our activists in the face of anti-union or recalcitrant managements and against apathy from colleagues or non-union members? Recording & Broadcasting Morning session – Modernising the collection of performer data from recording sessions: finding a solution that works for Musicians’ Union members, Approved Contractors and the wider industry. Afternoon session – How can the MU best improve and expand the services it provides to music writers? Communications & Government Relations Morning session – Shaping how we talk online: digital communications focus group. Afternoon session – Moving from slacktivist to activist: online to offline organising.  

The St Mary’s Music School Piano Summer School takes place in the heart of Edinburgh during the world-famous Edinburgh International Festival and is open to enthusiastic pianists age 13-19 who are at Grade 6 and above. Led by an experienced team of St Mary’s Music School staff, this intensive course includes one-to-one teaching, workshops, performance classes, duo work, yoga and individual sessions in Alexander Technique, participation in a final public performance and evening trips to Edinburgh International Festival concerts. Full board and accommodation in twin en-suite rooms is included. Price £750 all inclusive.  Financial support may be available. The programme The Piano Summer School offers a comprehensive and broad-ranging residential programme aimed at talented pianists who wish to expand their horizons and playing capability. This intensive course is designed to give a holistic introduction to the musical, mental and physical skills needed to grow as a pianist. It is suitable for those who aspire to study at conservatoire, university and professional level as well as those who simply wish to hone their skills in an atmosphere which is fun, supportive and encouraging. Places are limited to just ten students, ensuring individual focus and dedicated support. The course programme includes: One-to-one lessons Collaborative work Daily group workshops Practice supervision Unlimited practice facilities Participation in final public performance Individual tuition in Alexander Technique Relaxation/mindfulness/yoga Evening trips to Edinburgh International Festival Concert performances Location and facilities St Mary’s Music School is Scotland’s national music school and is located right in the heart of the stunning city of Edinburgh, capital of Scotland and home to the world-famous Edinburgh International Festival and Edinburgh International Fringe Festival. Both festivals will be taking place during the time of the Piano Programme and provide a stimulating backdrop for the learning and cultural experience of every student on the course. Access to the school is easy with a quick journey by tram, bus or taxi from Edinburgh International Airport which is just 20 minutes away and has direct access to airports throughout the UK and abroad. Haymarket train station is just five minutes’ walk away and links to major all major routes. As well as making full use of our fleet of 35 pianos including a new Model B Steinway, students will enjoy all the facilities of this historic school including twin ensuite bedrooms (sharing with one other student), beautiful gardens, sports court and table tennis and pool tables.

The Flute Kitchen is a stimulating flute course for those from around Grade 4 standard up to post-diploma level. As ever, it will be a highly stimulating week – not just for your flute playing, but for your musicianship and performance in general. The atmosphere of the course is a relaxed and non-competitive one. All of the tutors aim to help each participant develop individually, enhancing their confidence and ability. Harrogate The beautiful and historic spa town of Harrogate, with its parks and gardens, castles and abbeys and closeness to the breathtaking scenery of the Yorkshire Dales, is an ideal venue for the course; relaxing, invigorating and inspiring. Accommodation We accept that many course members have a great distance to travel. Although we cannot offer accommodation on the Saturday night preceding the course, rooms can be available for the Thursday night at the end of the course (over 18s only). Harrogate has many hotels and B & B’s and we will be only too happy to help with any arrangements should you wish to arrive on the Saturday preceding the course.

The Woodwind Cafe presents an exciting opportunity to develop your skills as a young musician in a friendly and fun environment. The Cafe’s schedule is structured around providing an experience of ensemble playing; including teamwork, musicality, listening and rhythm, with a valuable performance opportunity to display the ensemble’s achievement during the course! You will have the opportunity to share your curiosity about music through group discussion and listening, as well as trying out other instruments in the woodwind family, such as the bass clarinet or piccolo flute. Feel free to bring along a piece of solo music which you would be comfortable to play, as you will be encouraged to perform this in a relaxed and supportive environment. The course runs from 9.30am – 5pm on the Wednesday & Thursday, on the Friday its 9.30am until after the end of the final concert which is usually about 9.30pm. Lunch is provided on the Wednesday & Thursday, however on the Friday they will be provided with lunch & dinner. There is also a break each morning and afternoon where they can have a drink. For an idea of what the course involves please the sample timetable. The Woodwind Cafe is a wonderful chance to make new friends, make music together and learn from each other; we would love to see you there! Harrogate The beautiful and historic spa town of Harrogate, with its parks and gardens, castles and abbeys and closeness to the breathtaking scenery of the Yorkshire Dales, is an ideal venue for the course; relaxing, invigorating and inspiring.

LCCM London
UK Musicians' Union

Summer schools and holiday courses

The Flute Kitchen

The Flute Kitchen is a stimulating flute course for those from around Grade 4 standard up to post-diploma level. As ever, it will be a highly stimulating week – not just for your flute playing, but for your musicianship and performance in general. The atmosphere of the course is a relaxed and non-competitive one. All of the tutors aim to help each participant develop individually, enhancing their confidence and ability. Harrogate The beautiful and historic spa town of Harrogate, with its parks and gardens, castles and abbeys and closeness to the breathtaking scenery of the Yorkshire Dales, is an ideal venue for the course; relaxing, invigorating and inspiring. Accommodation We accept that many course members have a great distance to travel. Although we cannot offer accommodation on the Saturday night preceding the course, rooms can be available for the Thursday night at the end of the course (over 18s only). Harrogate has many hotels and B & B’s and we will be only too happy to help with any arrangements should you wish to arrive on the Saturday preceding the course.

LMFL (Language and Music for Life) Valbonne Summer Music Course 2019

A specialised, intensive music course for musicians preparing for exams, auditions, and competitions with some of the world’s best teachers

The Harrogate Saxophone Summer School

The Harrogate Saxophone Summer School is a stimulating programme for all levels of saxophone players from grade 4/5 standard through to professional led by course director Rob Buckland. The course consists of a combination of classes, ensembles, performance workshops plus the option to take individual lessons/advice auditions from some of the internationally renowned tutors. The aims of the programme are to give participants greater awareness of their abilities, confidence in their saxophone playing and experience in music making. A friendly and relaxed atmosphere is created to encourage all those attending, with an emphasis on participation. Those wishing to play/perform will be asked to prepare appropriate set pieces for classes, and chamber works for coaching in ensemble playing. Harrogate The beautiful and historic spa town of Harrogate, with its parks and gardens, castles and abbeys and closeness to the breathtaking scenery of the Yorkshire Dales, is an ideal venue for the course; relaxing, invigorating and inspiring. Accommodation We accept that many course members have a great distance to travel. Although we cannot offer accommodation on the Saturday night preceding the course, rooms can be available for the Thursday night at the end of the course (over 18s only). Harrogate has many hotels and B & B’s and we will be only too happy to help with any arrangements should you wish to arrive on the Saturday preceding the course.

Encore Music Projects 6th International Summer School

Welcome to Encore Music Projects 6th International Summer School Following on from the hugely successful courses in previous years, we are delighted that our summer school will again take place in the beautiful and historic setting of Wells Cathedral Specialist Music School, internationally renowned for attracting many of the most gifted young musicians from around the world to study at the school. We invite students, children and young adults, from all around the world to come and develop their musical talents in a safe and stimulating environment, creating music and friendships. We aim to inspire our students with tuition and guidance of the highest calibre, in a friendly and supportive atmosphere. We offer our students the fantastic opportunity to listen to and perform with our team of world-class performers and teachers, set in a stunning location. We provide our students with outstanding facilities for making music as well as enjoying comfortable living accommodation and high-quality food. We expect our students to work and play with energy, creativity and enthusiasm.​ About the Summer School Encore Music Projects International Summer School was founded in 2013 by pianist Olena Shvetsova and her cellist husband Richard May to create a summer programme in the exclusive setting of a UK Specialist Music School. The course is for piano, strings, guitar, composition, voice, and chamber ensembles, and is especially designed for intermediate and advanced students. Expert tuition and guidance by our team of world class musicians will focus on the development of technique, musical styles and interpretation, stage performance and presentation, competition and audition preparation. There will be opportunities to explore new as well as current repertoire. The emphasis will be on making music together, and on top of a daily one-to-one lesson, chamber music, piano/vocal masterclasses/workshops, every student (instrument appropriate) will participate in the String Chamber Orchestra and our Community Choir. Theory tuition will also be available. In the evenings there will be a series of concerts given by our world-class faculty as well as the chance to get together for informal chamber music making. There will be time for recreation, including free use of the school’s covered swimming pool, organised activities and games, and a free day to explore the fabulous sights around Wells. For those parents who may be considering sending their children to Wells Cathedral School for their education, the course offers a unique chance to experience the atmosphere of the school. Encore… Read more »

Oxford Cello School 2019

The Oxford Cello School (OCS) is an international cello and double bass summer school founded in 1980 by Marianne Gottfeldt to provide a unique opportunity for cellists and bassists to focus on their instrument and receive the very best tuition in an intensive environment. This remains our philosophy. Our dedicated and enthusiastic staff, as well as other course members, provide inspiration and encouragement which stimulates students to develop previously unexploited potential. Since its establishment the OCS has been proud to welcome students of all ages, backgrounds, nationalities and abilities. Our orchestras take advantage of the cello’s unrivalled versatility and have performed a vast repertoire of works from all musical eras including pieces from eminent modern composers commissioned by the OCS. We take the task of helping players to improve very seriously and our excellent staff/student relationship creates the ideal relaxed atmosphere in which to achieve fantastic results. Flexibility is always a priority and we consider the individual needs of each and every student to be of paramount importance. We look forward to working with you to make a year’s progress in a week! Courses Performance courses Performance (27 July – 3 August) Performance Plus (24 July – 3 August) Advanced courses Advanced (27 July – 3 August) Advanced Plus (24 July – 3 August) Intermediate courses Intermediate (27 July – 3 August) Intermediate Plus (24 July – 3 August) Junior course (24-28 July) Exam booster course (29 July – 2 August) Adult diploma course (21-28 July) Adult advanced course (21-28 July) Adult improvers courses Adult improvers (21-25 July) Adult improvers Plus (21-28 July) Double-bass teaching for cello teachers course (25-26 July) Honorary President: Leonid Gorokhov Patrons: Alexander Baillie, Philip Sheppard, David Strange, Raphael Wallfisch Directors: Stephen Gottfeldt, Samantha Morgan

Grand Union Youth Orchestra Summer School 2019

Grand Union Orchestra’s Summer School is aimed at young instrumentalists, aged 12-21, who want to experience how music is played and learned in different parts of the world and who seek to develop their own musicality and creativity.

Royal College of Organists The Organ Student Experience (TOSE) 2019

About The Organ Student Experience (TOSE) Whether you are applying for or considering a university organ scholarship, entry to a conservatoire, taking up a gap-year organ scholarship, or simply looking to develop your musicianship, this Royal College of Organists course is for you. Just be sure to be of grade 7 standard or higher by the time the course takes place. Not quite ready for TOSE and/or wanting a preparatory day? If so, click here for details of TOSE-in-a-Day event, London, 23 March 2019. Under the artistic direction of Daniel Moult, you will receive detailed tuition in repertoire playing, performance skills, technique, keyboard skills, choral directing and choral accompaniment. We are based once again at Trinity College, Cambridge with its celebrated and recently refurbished Metzler organ and many other practice facilities. Book early to guarantee a place and to secure the early bird rate which is available until 28 February. We welcome applications for bursaries (apply by 1 May at the latest). Key features Expert and inspiring teaching team with huge combined experience of music making and teaching at the highest level Receive tuition on many of the superb organs in Cambridge Sing and direct choral services in Cambridge University college chapels Gain insights into university and conservatoire organ auditions Attend concerts by recent competition winners, Callum Alger and Johannes Krahl Make lasting friendships and forge vital connections both in classes and in the lively social programme Bursaries available from the RCO to help with the cost of the fees (see below for details) Accommodation in single, ensuite rooms Supervision from experienced pastoral staff

World Symposium on Choral Music 2020

Once every three years, the world’s premier festival of choirs is held in a major city around the world. The World Symposium on Choral Music is the peak global event of the International Federation for Choral Music – its own ‘Olympics’ and world congress rolled into one. Drawing together the leading choirs, conductors, composers and administrators from all over the planet for a superlative experience of concerts, seminars and workshops, the Symposium has also come to be a public showcase for the best the choral world has to offer. And for just the third time ever, the WSCM will be held in the Southern Hemisphere, in one of the most-loved tourism destinations in the world – New Zealand. Recharge yourself, meet your fellow choral practitioners, hear and learn and experience new viewpoints and approaches and the work of some of the best choirs in the world. 24 of the world’s finest choirs At WSCM2020 you can hear around 24 of the world’s finest choirs and over 30 distinguished choral practitioners in an eight-day ‘feast’ of concerts, seminars, masterclasses, workshops, demonstrations and exhibitions. Surrounded by all that musical splendour and choral wisdom, you realise you don’t work in isolation but are part of an exciting global movement. You learn what’s ‘trending’ and return home full of inspiration and new ideas. And if that’s not enough reason to come to WSCM2020, there’s the stunning host country to consider! New Zealand has a world-wide reputation for its clean, green and beautiful landscapes of mountains, countryside, lakes and beaches and its safe and friendly cities, delicious food, wine, coffee and craft beer! So there’s no better time to come! Theme: People and the Land The connection and tensions between people and land, between urban life and the natural world. The expression tangata whenua (literally ‘people of the land’) is the name the indigenous Maori of New Zealand use of themselves and a concept that sits at the heart of NZ culture. The tangata whenua are guardians of our natural resources, environment and sustainability – values and priorities shared by all New Zealanders, regardless of race. In WSCM2020 we want to explore through choral music the relationship humans have with the land that supports them: the sense of identity they derive from it and the tensions that arise out of it. We believe this is a theme that touches all of us in some way, calling to… Read more »

Mediasound Hamburg 2019
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From the magazine

Interview: Brad Cohen, Founder of Tido Music

Tido Music launched in Hong Kong in March 2019. Pianist, Phoebe Ng, finds out more about the revolutionary digital music app from Founder, Brad Cohen.

The ‘model music curriculum’: uniting the music education community through disaffection and challenge?

The social media storm surrounding the recent announcement of a Model Music Curriculum for England has highlighted a growing malaise among music educators and researchers, with the sense that government is not listening, argues Ally Daubney You only have to look at the sheer number of recent reports published by from so many different organisations to know that music education in England is facing significant challenges. From Music Mark to Youth Music, UK Music, the Incorporated Society of Musicians, the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Music Education, the Musicians’ Union, the University of Sussex and the Music Commission, recent reports have provided substantive evidence on what’s going on across the country and highlight the significant challenges we face across all stages of music, starting from the Early Years. The recent State of the Nation report brings together undeniable evidence, using the Department for Education’s own data and evidence from across the sector, of the devastating decline in music education. Reading across these reports, there are a number of challenges we agree on. Funding is tight both in and out of school and, in real terms, this is diminishing year-on-year. This impacts what can be offered, to whom and for how long, and presents challenges to models of employment as many organisations move away from offering ‘teachers’ pay and conditions’ and towards increasingly insecure hourly paid contracts. And then we have the accountability issues, with accountability measures in many Primary and Secondary schools responsible for a narrow and constricted curriculum where music is pushed out. Music in many schools is being side-lined or, worse still, removed from the curriculum completely. Even the DfE, DCMS and Ofsted acknowledge that inappropriate performance measures such as SATS, the EBacc and Progress 8 discourage schools from including arts as part of a broad and rich curriculum. Current performance measures used to judge schools – all excluding the arts – send a message to teachers, young people and their parents that the arts are unimportant. The upshot of this is that entries to GCSE and A Level examinations, as well as to vocational qualifications and graded music examinations, are well down. The workforce is not always valued as it should be and teachers have inadequate access to appropriate subject-specific professional development and increasingly face professional isolation. Postcode lottery of music education is worsening All of these factors affect what is offered, to whom and for how long; they diminish… Read more »

McMusic? The role of franchises in the arts and wellbeing sectors

Part of our cultural landscape, music franchises are moving beyond artistic development into areas like therapy and even preventative medicine

I can compose: my journey to creating a composition website

Founder of I can compose, Rachel Shapey, explains how she came to create the award-winning composition website and introduces her latest course

UK Choir Festivals 2019


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  • Vocal/instrumental learning/teaching

Friday Afternoons

Founded in 2013 and inspired by Benjamin Britten, Friday Afternoons is an international initiative encouraging young people to sing. The Friday Afternoons initiative began as part of the celebrations for Benjamin Britten’s centenary. What was initially just a Suffolk project became regional, then national, then global, and on Friday, 22 November 2013, there were close to 70,000 young people from around the world singing one or more of Britten’s songs. Friday Afternoons now commissions new repertoire every year for children’s voices, with a whole host of resources available for free on the website, including teaching and accessibility resources to help as many people as possible engage with the songs. The project’s ever-growing Song Bank contains new music and support material to help teachers develop their students’ skills – as performers, listeners and composers. For 2017, Luke Styles worked alongside librettist Alan McKendrick on 12 new songs for the Friday Afternoons Song Bank. Eight of the songs were written by the composer and librettist, with four additional songs being created in collaboration with groups of young people across the country. These groups are: Elgol Primary School and Bun-sgoil Shlèite, Isle of Skye; Thomas Wolsey School, Ipswich; Netley Primary School, London; and students from Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance.

Girls Rock London

Girls Rock London (GRL!) is a music project for girls and women in London, part of a movement of rock camps that take place all over the world. GRL! is united by a desire to achieve gender equality in the music industry and to ensure that all girls and women get the chance to make music. The aims of the project are to empower girls and women – regardless of previous musical experience – to write and perform music, and to build self-confidence. The programme is a mixture of musical/technical tuition and workshops, which together help to build participants’ self-esteem and confidence, and provide a platform for girls and women to find and develop their voices. Rock Camp is all about trying new things, working together and making lots of NOISE… GRL! welcomes applicants who self-identify as girls, women, trans* and/or gender non-conforming.

Steinberg Dorico Elements