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Young people benefit from new Music education hubs in the South East

  • Date: 16 October 2012
  • Area: South East
Young person from Portsmouth Oboe Programme

Young person from Portsmouth Oboe Programme. Credit: Portsmouth Music Hub

Young people going back to school will have an even better chance of studying music that fits in with their tastes and needs with the launch of the new Arts Council England Music education hubs across the UK.

From August 2012, Arts Council England is investing more than £171 million of funding on behalf of the Department for Education for the next three years in a network of 123 Music education hubs. These hubs will ensure that every child aged 5-18 has the opportunity to sing and learn a musical instrument and to perform as part of an ensemble or choir, and that they can take their talent further, in and out of school.

We talked to Kevin Grist, one of the South East’s Music/Music Hubs Relationship Managers, about how the music hubs were selected and how they’re now going.

Kevin reports: ‘In 2011, organisations working together in local areas of the south east applied to become music education hubs. Over the summer, hubs have been busy setting up infrastructure and most of them have launched this September at the start of the school term. We are excited about the delivery partnerships being forged and the music opportunities this creates for young people in the region.'

There are 15 Music education hubs across the South East of England, looked after by five Arts Council England Relationship Managers: Kevin Grist, Chris Mellor, Ben Lane, Michael Judge, and Catherine Ireton.

Kevin continues: ‘Brighton & Hove Music and Arts is a good example of a Music education hub where they’ve engaged all their partners, in particular working with the voluntary sector. Their main partners are Arts Council England National portfolio organisations Brighton Dome and Glyndebourne and music charity Rhythmix – but the consortium also contains many smaller partners and schools.’

One of the local organisations involved in the hub is Audioactive, a youth arts and music charity that specialises in music technology, based in Brighton.

Adam Joolia, Director, Audioactive says: ‘We’re already feeling the impact of Music education bubs. In our region, hubs have been a catalyst for dynamic partnerships between formal and non-formal sectors, while exciting collaborations between a diverse array of young musicians and organisations promise to become more commonplace. Previously informal associations between music services and organisations such as ours are becoming more highly valued formal partnerships, promoting shared vision and a more joined up approach. This can only produce great experiences for the children and young people we all work with.’

Partnerships and diversity are both key aspects of the new Music education hubs, as are the focus on young people’s education and quality delivery – all clearly outlined in clearly the government's National Plan for Music Education.

Kevin says: ‘The aim is to provide music education for all young people, regardless of ability and not necessarily in school settings – it could include using different genres and using technology. Young people should notice a bigger range of what’s on offer and where it’s on offer.’

Kevin continues: ‘Another music hub that’s really progressing well is Portsmouth Music Hub . The hub has over 60 partners, including Arts Council England National portfolio organisations Art Asia, New Theatre Royal and Aspex as well as festivals, bands, choirs, orchestras, music societies, schools and universities and arts and cultural groups and organisations.

Sue Beckett, Head of Portsmouth Music Service, Lead Partner for Portsmouth Music Hub, says: ‘We’ve crystallised the active network of partner organisations who we have been working with for some years. This exciting development has continued to enhance musical opportunities for children and young people across the city of Portsmouth.

‘Partners are working with one another to join up for concerts, events and music festivals. Organisations are sharing resources and staff. Communication about music events and opportunities in the city is very effective, and most importantly children and young people across the city have increased musical opportunities and access to high quality music making.’

In addition to the launch of the new hub songbook for primary schools, the hub is planning large-scale events in the run up to Christmas, with instrumental and vocal performance opportunities, concerts and festivals across the city. This includes a concert from the Royal Marines School of Music in October and a free Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra concert for schools in December.

To learn more about music education hubs, see: http://www.artscouncil.org.uk/funding/apply-for-funding/music-education-hubs/