Happy holidays! We’ve just enjoyed a week in Wales: highlights included castles, kayaking, waterfalls, the stunning trees, landscape (and water lilies) of the Bodnant Garden, and some truly tasty Welsh food and ale.
We stayed near the lovely riverside town of Llanrwst and saw first-hand the preparations for the 2019 National Eisteddfod, which started on the last day of our holiday.
So the National Eisteddfod is the first item in this latest instalment of Good Music News, our regular round-up of positive stories relating to music and music education. It also includes:
- The National Orchestra for All’s My Roots, Our Routes Summer Concert
- Help Musicians UK’s Funding Advice Tour
- Success and new signatories for The Keychange Pledge
- How a country of 2 million has produced a battery of international classical music stars
- YolanDa Brown on the importance of music education
- Another good Benedetti interview
Read on for details and see the note at the bottom of the page if you want to send us anything to include in Good Music News (or get Good Music News in your inbox).
150,000 visitors and over 6,000 competitors are expected to attend Wales’ 2019 National Eisteddfod which starts today in the town of Llanrwst and the Conwy valley. The eight-day festival features hundreds of events and activities celebrating the culture and language in Wales.
A showcase for music, dance, visual arts, literature, original performances and more, organisers say the history of the Eisteddfod in Wales can be traced all the way back to 1176. 1861. The festival has been held every year since 1861 except for 1914.
Traditionally a competition-based festival it has grown and developed into a vibrant festival with hundreds of events and activities for the whole family.
The National Orchestra for All‘s My Roots, Our Routes Summer Concert takes place on 7 August 2019 in Leeds. It’s free to attend.
The National Orchestra for All is made up of young musicians aged 11-18 nominated each year for their dedication and commitment to music. This concert will launch the new My Roots, Our Routes season and will, “explore music that underpins human migrations and journeys, alongside the music that defines individual contexts, backgrounds and histories.”
Help Musicians’ Funding Advice Tour is back and the charity says this new “round two” will be even bigger and better. It looks to be highly valuable and informative. From 13 August to 5 September, Help Musicians’ Creative Programme team will be on the road to give musicians one-to-one, 30-minute advice sessions.
For locations, dates and full details click here.
The Keychange Pledge, launched by the PRS Foundation, seeks to improve the gender balance at music festivals (which, research shows, have been heavily male-dominated).
Over 190 festivals have signed up since 2018. Following this success the pledge is now open to any music organisations which want to take positive action towards gender parity in music, including conservatoires, orchestras, broadcasters, concert halls, agents, labels, and venues.
Recent signatories include English National Opera, Royal Birmingham Conservatoire, Southbank Centre, Bella Union, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, De Doelen, Sage Gateshead, Ivors Academy, Uppsala Konsert & Kongress, and the Barbican. Read more about The Keychange Pledge here.
Latvia takes opera seriously, writes Stephen Moss in this fascinating Guardian article, and the country’s new culture minister Nauris Puntulis is a tenor who has performed in many operas (and had a successful pop career in his 20s).
The article describes how a network of free music schools have helped this country with a population of just 2 million “to produce a battery of international classical music stars,” and covers efforts to sustain the country’s musical life. Read it here.
Saxophonist YolanDa Brown, the presenter of CBeebies’ upbeat music entertainment show YolanDa’s Band Jam, spoke out about the importance of music education at the CBeebies Prom at the Royal Albert Hall in July. This family Prom is designed to “fire youthful imaginations and demonstrate the power of dreaming big.”
YolanDa Brown said music is part of our well being and personal development, described other benefits and called for politicians to “understand that it creates more well rounded people.”
In case you missed it: there’s been another great interview with Nicola Benedetti recently, this time in The Observer. Read it here.
- Read earlier editions of Good Music News.
- If there’s something you would like us to cover in Good Music News, please email us.
- Here’s some good news for music teachers: our free 29 tips for a thriving music teaching business will give you things you can do immediately to boost your music teaching business. They’ll also make you smile. Request them and you’ll get helpful advice and no sales spam.