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Classic FM are sponsoring the award for the Best Classical Music Education Initiative in Music Teacher magazine's annual Awards for Excellence. This award will honour an education project which has used classical music in an innovative way, shown musical excellence and had a positive impact on a significant number of participants.
Part of the In Harmony Sistema England organistaion, which runs orchestral music-making projects with the aim of bringing about social change, In Harmony Liverpool is based at Faith Primary School, Everton, and is administered by the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra. All pupils, teachers and support staff at the once-troubled school now play string instruments, and music is given a prominent place on the curriculum. Since the project started three years ago, pupils at the school have achieved better results across all subjects, and teachers and parents have reported an improved atmosphere in the school and the wider community.
The NCO is in fact five age-banded orchestras for young musicians aged seven to 13, supported by a number of regional training orchestras around the country, a structure which gives hundreds of young musicians the chance to play with the NCO every year. Like the National Youth Orchestra, the NCO runs an outreach programme which includes days for any young musician to come along and experience orchestral playing. As well as being known for an exceptional standard of music-making, the NCO also runs a pioneering young conductors’ course.
Acknowledged as one of the finest national youth orchestras in the world and winner of the 2012 Queen’s Medal for Music, the NYO is truly a bastion of musical excellence, with an impact beyond its members thanks to its outreach programme and commitment to affordable tickets for young audience members. Its workshop-based audition process means that all auditionees are able to benefit from a day of NYO training, and its innovative programming brings new audiences to classical music.
Sistema Scotland is the Scottish equivalent of In Harmony Sistema England. Both are based the much-admired El Sistema programme in Venezuela, which has used music-making to improve the lives of the poorest young people for four decades. Sistema Scotland runs Big Noise Raploch, an orchestral project based on an estate in Raploch, Stirling, which has won praise from around the world and recently inspired the Scottish government to fund a sister project, Big Noise Glasgow. This will also be run by Sistema Scotland and will launch in 2013.
NYCoS includes several choirs, a publishing company and a very active outreach and education department, including a course for music teachers run in partnership with the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. In the 16 years since NYCoS was formed, it has toured internationally and done a great deal to shape vocal education in Scotland and beyond. In 2012 it became the first youth music group to win the Royal Philharmonic Society’s coveted Ensemble Award.
Highbury Grove School. Highbury Grove School, a once-failing secondary school in north London where 70% of students are eligible for free school meals, hit the headlines earlier this year when it was announced that all 210 Year 7 pupils had been given a violin, viola or cello. Many Highbury Grove pupils start the day at 7.50am with an orchestral rehearsal and are able to opt into a programme which lets them spend Fridays entirely on music. It is expected that all 600 children in Years 7, 8 and 9 will be learning an instrument by 2014.
Brought to you by Rhinegold Publishing Ltd, the inaugural Music Teacher Awards and Gala Evening has been launched to celebrate excellence in the UK’s music education sector. The awards take place on March 20 at London's Barbican Centre.