A Happy New Year to readers! And, after a festive break involving plenty of recreational music playing, we’re back with our weekly round-ups of positive news relating to music education, music in general – and anything else which catches our eye.
- New Year Honours for Nicola Benedetti, Jacqueline Tyler, Nitin Sawhney, Rachel Copley, Shirley Thompson, and other notable music figures
- The National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain’s first concert tour of 2019
- Help Musicians UK invites applications for Postgraduate Awards
- Royal wedding cellist Sheku Kanneh-Mason on importance of music education
- Prince Charles chooses Beethoven, Haydn, Wagner, Leonard Cohen and “Sadie the Shaker”
- Matt Ryan’s life lessons from his drum kit
- Music education is “booming” in China
Nicola Benedetti is one of a number of figures in the music world to have received recognition in the New Year’s Honours. Violinist Benedetti, previously awarded MBE in 2013, has been made CBE. Within a tweet Benedetti commented, “I am very grateful to receive this honour. Thank you. This meaningful public recognition encourages me to deepen my commitment to music, to playing and to providing enrichment, inspiration and variation to the education system that serves communities throughout the UK.”
I am very grateful to receive this honour. Thank you. This meaningful public recognition encourages me to deepen my commitment to music, to playing and to providing enrichment, inspiration and variation to the education system that serves communities throughout the UK.
— Nicola Benedetti (@NickyBenedetti) December 29, 2018
CBSO Cellist Jacqueline Tyler has been awarded an MBE for her services to music and music education in Birmingham. Tyler is “deeply committed to helping children experience, create and perform music of their own,” and her profile on the CBSO site is here.
Composer and musician Nitin Sawhney was awarded the CBE.
Rachel Copley, Sheffield Philharmonic Chorus president, musical director of Rotherham Choral Society, and a longstanding music teacher was awarded the British Empire Medal.
Shirley Thompson, Head of Composition and Performance at the University of Westminster, was awarded the MBE as was Professor Tommy Smith, Head of Jazz at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, and Artistic Director of the Scottish National Jazz Orchestra.
Further honours were given to other figures involved in music education and performance. You can read the full honours list here.
The National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain’s first concert tour of 2019 takes place from 4-7 January, taking in London, Nottingham and Warwick. “Expect power, emotion, sci-fi movie scenes, uplifting tunes and of course HEAPS of totally teenage orchestral energy!” Details: https://www.nyo.org.uk/2019
Help Musicians UK has launched a “new open and direct application process” for its Postgraduate Awards, which offer support to students who wish to complete their studies at the leading UK conservatoires and performing arts colleges.
The charity has been making awards to postgraduate music students of between £1,000 and £5,000 since the 1970s. Applications are now invited from students who wish to study a performance degree in brass, guitar, harp, historical performance, jazz, percussion, piano, strings, voice and woodwind. Full details on the Help Musicians UK website.
It’s been a “life-changing year” for royal wedding cellist Sheku Kanneh-Mason. In this profile by Haroon Siddique in The Guardian, Kanneh-Mason discusses his passion for music education and his concern for other children and young people to have the opportunities he had in school. Well worth a read.
What links Beethoven, Haydn, Wagner with a Leonard Cohen track and Bob Miller’s “Sadie the Shaker”? Prince Charles’s musical choices for the BBC’s recent “Private Passions” programme (here’s the podcast). During the programme Prince Charles said music and the creative arts make an “enormous contribution to the whole economy” and the UK risks “shooting itself in the feet” by ignoring their importance: “I am one of those people who believes in the importance of arts and music education in schools.”
You might enjoy Matt Ryan’s The life lessons my drum kit taught me. Ryan says learning to read and compose music “improved my concentration and even sparked my interest in writing,” and cites ABC’s documentary series Don’t Stop The Music as helping him to appreciate the “positive impact that learning an instrument has had on my life, and why I need to start playing again.”
Music education is “booming” and the musical instrument market in China has experienced considerable growth, with more and more young people choosing to learn piano, violin and cello, according to China’s state news agency Xinhua.
Their report says China’s musical instrument market was worth 4.48 billion yuan (about £510 million) in 2017 – and that China’s music education industry was over twice the market size of that of musical instruments in the same year.
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