Category Archives: Advocacy

3 key risks to cultural education in the UK

Anna Gower

Music Education Consultant | Trinity College London | Musical Futures International

The government believes that cultural education forms an important part of a broad and balanced curriculum, and that children and young people should be provided with an engaging variety of cultural experiences throughout their time at school. Policy Paper, cultural education DFE, July 2013

This week I was asked what I thought were the main challenges in the UK facing those of us who support a holistic cultural and arts education within our schools and local communities.

The obvious answers would of course include cuts to local authority budgets and national funding, which are now affecting some of the biggest arts venues in London as well as community venueslibraries and museumsacross the UK.

Or the EBACC, which as this article from Deborah Annetts, chief executive of Incorporated Society of Musicians and founder of the Bacc for the Future campaign suggests, negates the potential impact of the recently announced £96m of funding, promised to support the most gifted students with access to arts education. Music for a few not for many.

But in answer to the question I chose the following:

  1. The risk of forgetting those at the very end of the journey to opening access to arts education-the students.

In the UK there are a huge range of organisations all wanting the same things. To find ways to open up access to the arts for all. Many of these focus on work with teachers and schools. However, the danger is that funding can quickly be eroded by getting people round a table to talk about the issues and reach agreement whilst actually making things happen takes much longer.

How can we ensure that initiatives and projects are needs-driven and learner-driven and that data is used not just to measure effectiveness, but to identify key areas where diminishing funding and support for arts education can have the maximum impact for those who need it most?

2) Communication.

It’s difficult to reach the people who can most easily affect change. Where are young people? They are in schools. Where are parents who are part of their local community? Many of them engage with schools.

Schools are a central and vital part of the local community and provide a huge opportunity to open up access to organisations trying to engage and work with local communities.

Yet we constantly hear of organisations trying to reach teachers and teachers trying to reach organisations and still a gulf that lies in finding the right language, the shared aims, the pressures of time and knowing how to reach the right people to make those conversations actually translate into practice.

It would be great to find ways to create more relationships that truly work in partnership and establish a balance that responds to local need and the sharing of expertise where it’s most needed. Without doing so then the challenge of communicating the right information to the right people in the right way remains a key barrier to making things happen.

3) Sustainability.

Many arts opportunities are often high quality, large-scale events and those who participate (or watch) never forget them. However many can be ‘one hit wonders’, expensive to run and once over, there is little evidence of or support for sustainability and impact over time.

The question of how to reach more people and to engage them for longer has long been a key focus for organisations looking for solutions to the challenges we face in the UK around arts and cultural education and opportunities in the current climate.

It’s great that there are structures in place that support collaboration and shared aims and values for arts and cultural education such as the Arts Council funded Bridge OrganisationsThe Music Education Council, the recently announced Youth Music National Alliance and the grass roots campaign to save East Sussex Music Service from threatened cuts.

But perhaps the greatest risk of all might be a failure of more arts organisations to find success in working together. If ever there was a time that this was needed, it’s now.

Music Producer Follows Homeless Kid Off Subway; Records His Demo for Free


Go to the profile of April Greene

In December 2013, my dance music producer friend Andrew was riding the New York City subway when a homeless teenage guy stepped into his train car and started singing R&B. The soulful Christmas mashup so moved Andrew that at the next stop, he followed the singer off the train and offered to record him a demo for free. The kid bit, and the two became fast friends.

I thought this was one of the cooler things I’d ever heard, so I asked if I could buy them coffee and hear more about it. In our interview, Andrew and Julian discuss their chance meeting, unlikely similarities, and musical futures.

Andrew and Julian in Manhattan last winter

Julian Brannon (the teenage guy): Well, my goal is to be the best, so let’s just get that out there. There’s no one in the industry that looks like me or sounds like me right now, and I think they need me.

Andrew Toews (the producer): You are unflappable!

Me: Wow, quite an intro! Could we back up for a sec? How did you guys meet?

AT: Sure. It was just before Christmas last year. I was on the train, and Julian got on and introduced himself and started singing sort of a holiday medley, in an R&B, soul style. I think it was: “We Wish You a Merry Christmas,” “Winter Wonderland,” and…

JB: And “All I Want for Christmas is You” by Mariah Carey.

AT: You can tell when someone has something to pitch you on the train and you’re like, “Dude. Seriously. Don’t.” But I liked this guy, I liked his energy. There was this spark. I actually thought, “I want to hang out with this guy!” He was making my day a better day.

JB: You know, I relate to that. I know I’m there making money, practicing, getting over stage fright. But at the end of the day, I want to make people feel better. I want them to call their mother after I sing Boyz II Men “A Song for Mama.” I know I can do that for people.

AT: So I thought about it for a second and chased him off the train. I thought he might think I was a sexual predator, or otherwise a weirdo; there was definitely fear of rejection in the air. But this was a case where my talents were uniquely suited to you — you’re not a guy with a trap kit who I liked listening to but wouldn’t know what do with in the studio. You’re a singer. So I gave him my email address. I didn’t think he’d bite.

JB: Well, most people don’t respond to me! Guess it goes both ways. I thought, “I don’t know what kind of experience this guy has, but it’s practice.”

AT: It was practice for me, too. Better than spending the afternoon drinking beers, if you ask me.

JB: It was my very first time being in a studio. By the way, your studio was small! I was thinking, “This is not Cadillac Records!” But hey, this is where I’m at. I just knew I should sing into the mic. Andrew told me to just try some a cappella covers, so I did some Mario, some Adele, Guy Sebastian, and The Fray. I put it all on the Internet and it’s gotten me a couple gigs. It’s made me money! It’s badass.

AT: I didn’t want to overcommit to a bunch of studio work; didn’t want to have to tune things later. We’re selling his voice, after all, so we just went for it straight up. We kept the imperfections.

JB: I wanted to keep the personality in it as well. I put some new runs in the songs, which were great, I thought.

AT: I liked when I asked you who you listen to and the first person you said was Adele. She’s one of the only people on the radio now who doesn’t have Auto-Tune on her voice.

JB: Yeah, her and Beyonce: who won seven Grammys and who won six? Know what I’m saying? At the end of the day, raw talent will always win out over good looks.

Me: Can you rewind a bit, Julian, and tell me your backstory?

JB: Sure. I’m from Houston. I used to weigh 300 pounds. I came to New York to sing. I’m a good singer and I can easily act, but I didn’t want to do Broadway. I wanted to be a real artist, go solo. My friends would do talent shows, and I’d say, “Okay, that’s cool — you do you, but I’ma do me.” Don’t get me wrong — musical theater moves people, too. But every note is perfect; there’s no life, no meat. That’s why I like R&B, soul… That music knows how to make people feel things.

I also wanted to get a better education, be with like-minded people, live at a fast pace, not have a car… And when I came here, I sure got all of that! But I also experienced what I would call… a graceful fall.

Long story short, I enrolled in Pace University in 2012, and the classes were easy enough — except algebra; I’ve never been a math whiz — and I was able to network a lot there. But I had to leave prematurely when I couldn’t get enough loans. I even dressed up in a suit one day and canvassed Wall Street to ask people for loans — nothing!

So I needed something, and I got this crazy pyramid scheme direct marketing job right away. I became the number one sales rep in no time. I was on fire, I had no choice. I have many talents besides singing — I’m good at sales, drawing, art. If I tapped into any art, I could master it, but music is what I care about.

Am I talking too fast? No? Okay.

So when I got kicked out of the dorm, I got into a cab and went to a hostel. I told FEMA my house got blown away in a storm so they’d pay me! Then I moved into an apartment in Harlem, where I was suddenly partying with adults, people age 25 to 45, and some of them were very wealthy. Then my company wanted me to open their new office in Texas, so I moved back there to do that. But there was some shadiness, some managerial shadiness, and suddenly my paychecks were much smaller.

So I moved back to New York again to get away from all that, but I was super broke. I stayed with friends for a few months, but wound up in a shelter. It’s a shelter right in the middle of NYC, though! And it keeps me not feeling homeless. It’s not an apartment; it’s a shared room and bathroom. And I’m choosy about who I associate with there — it is a shelter, mind you. If I get signed or put into a financial place where I can afford it, sure, I’ll move out. But other than that, it’s fine; it works.

Anyway, I found I could make more money singing on the train than working at Bill’s Burger. $50 an hour! Your minimum wage for a day is what I can make in an hour! So I was doing that a lot toward the end of last year, and I got a lot of attention from people on the train — producers, etc. I was auditioning for showcases and all that. I’m actually going to an audition right after this, and I’m doing Amateur Night At the Apollo this coming week.

I surround myself with people who are going to help me get where I need to get. It’s all about progressing. We know it will take hard work to live a privileged life, and we can be an inspiration to each other.

But here’s the thing: when you hit rock bottom — when no one’s answering your calls, when no one will let you sleep on their couch — you realize what you still have to offer. When I was singing on the train, I was thinking, “This is all I have.” But that was a good thing. That’s when I realized that’s what I really have to give in this life.

Plus, when I get rejected, it’s a positive thing, because when I get big, that’s one more person who’s going to be like, “Damn! I missed that one.”

Me: Does your family worry about you?

JB: Family? My mother, yes, it stresses her out. She’s stressed out to the max.

AT: I can imagine!

JB: But I tell her that I’m a survivor, and that I survive with dignity. It’s a struggle. But I try to do it with dignity — ask don’t steal.

AT: Reminds me of conversations I had with my mom when I was around your age — 18 or 20. I moved to L.A. with no plan. I got kicked out of a warehouse squat; was sleeping on roofs… My mom was living overseas and I called her and said, “Okay, I’m sleeping on rooftops, but I have a job, I have a car. Sure, I’m spending a lot of time in McDonald’s bathrooms scrubbing my armpits, but I’m not a scumbag and I’m not on drugs. I could do something different, but this is what I’m doing right now. I’m keeping it together.”

JB: One time my mom got a call from the police because someone found my wallet. She thought I had been killed, murdered, stabbed… But I was just at work. At the end of the day, my mother is my best friend, she supports me.

I’ve never been in love, or anything like that. I’ve been alone all my life. Not that I haven’t been close to people or they haven’t showed me love, but not intimately.

Me: Wow. Drew, would you record another singer like this?

AT: Yeah. Not right now because I’m super busy and I don’t have a studio outside my house anymore, but in theory sure. Then, if I had the time and the opportunity showed itself.

I tend to be a fearful guy. I always make myself do stuff, but it never comes easy. So this was good practice presenting to people. You don’t have to be the best in the world. I don’t want to say, “If I’m not going to be Beyonce, I’ll just quit.” That’s not the attitude I want to have.

JB: You learn certain things in life. I believe in the law of averages. No matter what you try to do, it will happen — it’s just a matter of time. If you shop yourself to 1,000 people, one of them will like you. Life is a numbers game. I’m just waiting for the date. I’m trying to set up a foundation to build upon. I want to go a record label and say, “This is what I got; what can you do for me?”

AT: It’s a big world, and it does take a certain brashness. Fear of failure is rampant, so to see someone who’s willing to rock a crowd is really good. I became a producer in part because I can be a part of that balls-out performance experience while still having a measure of control.

JB: I want to open up my own studio one day. Then I want to be a pastor in my later years. I can relate to a lot of people, I can elevate them.

AT: You grew up singing in church, right?

JB: A little bit. But my mother didn’t take me to church that much.

[I zoned out for a minute here and stopped taking notes.]

JB: Yeah, drinking. The struggle is so real; we all have to cope. But I try not to drink too much. I mean, I smoke weed. But at the end of the day, I do what I do because it’s artistically helpful.

AT: Oh man — you burn? We could have burned!

JB: We could have burned?? If we could have burned, we would have been burnin’!

AT: We need to do a follow-up session.

I asked Andrew and Julian what they’ve been doing since our interview last winter. Here’s what they said:

Andrew: “Drew has been keeping the disco fires burning at his new home studio in Bed-Stuy. He stays DJing dance parties, producing original material for a handful of artists, cranking out edits and remixes, and building a small sound design and production business. He’s also offering private music production lessons, with an emphasis on Ableton Live techniques and workflow.” Get at him via fakemoneynyc.com or drewjoy.com.

Julian: “I’ve been working in music. Planning to work with a close friend to produce our first project for my EP. Also starting a wedding singing group to support the financial aspect of producing an EP and a potential album come this time next year. I’m still living in Hell’s Kitchen saving up to move. I am currently working as a barista at FIKA in Chelsea. Great filler job while I focus on my real dream.”



Share your music with the world


At Freedom for Musicians, our philanthropic purpose is to serve and support musicians from any genre, style or culture by providing a free music promotional service via FFM Magazine.

Our services so far:

  • All our musicians have access to the website via the admin team.
  • A Musicians Directory
  • Live stream your performance at the FFM Live Lounge
  • Event promotion through our network of thousands of musicians worldwide.
  •  Members can advertise, for free, any musical product or service on the website. (Musicians Market Place)
  • Flex your journalistic muscles and publish your music blog on our website.
  • Become an International ambassador for your home country.
  •  Recording artists can access the marketplace through our own fully licensed independent (FFM Records Ltd) record label.
  •  An opportunity to be a Featured Artist.
  • The Freedom Orchestra. An orchestra established to bring together recent settlers in the UK either refugees or migrant musicians. (Coming soon)
  • Have your musical innovations promoted as ‘Featured Product’.
  • Promote your online lessons to a global audience.
  • Share and promote at our Facebook home.

If you would like us to promo your work, all you need to do is message me, Roger Moisan, with your links etc, and we will do the rest.

THERE IS ABSOLUTELY, AND WILL NEVER BE, ANY CHARGE FOR OUR SERVICES

You can join FFM by becoming a member of our Facebook Group

Message me personally through Linkedin

email – rogermoisan@yahoo.co.uk

Visit us at FFM Records



How Can I Promote My Music?


Join Freedom For Musicians at our Facebook Home

Freedom for musicians is an international cooperative for musicians to share and cross promote each other’s work. In our Facebook group you can promote your gigs, products and
services to an international audience. You can also feature on our website www.ffmrecords.com

What Freedom for Musicians can do for you:

By joining the Facebook group you are automatically a member of FFM.

You can have your music blog or articles published on the website.

You can have your music videos and youtube channel published and promoted at FFM.

You can list your products and services on our musicians directory and in the musicians market.

You can publish your events and concerts on our Upcoming Events feature.

You can be a featured artist.

You can become an FFM Ambassador for your country.

Music students can featured in our Spotlight.

You can release your digital music via our own independent record label FFM Records.

Come and join FFM’s Facebook community and be part of the fastest growing and most dynamic international musicians network.



Promote Your Music Online for FREE


With more than 400 articles, FFM Magazine is packed full of great stories, music, videos and resources for the music enthusiast. Join our community for free or just browse. There is something for every musician at Freedom for Musicians.

At Freedom for Musicians, our philanthropic purpose is to serve and support musicians from any genre, style or culture by providing a free promotional service via FFM Magazine.

Continue to our Articles




How can I get more exposure as a musician?


At Freedom for Musicians, our philanthropic purpose is to serve and support musicians from any genre, style or culture by providing a free promotional service  and providing exposure via FFM Magazine.

Our services so far:

  • All our musicians have access to the website via the admin team.
  • A Musicians Directory
  • Live stream your performance at the FFM Live Lounge
  • Event promotion through our network of thousands of musicians worldwide.
  •  Members can advertise, for free, any musical product or service on the website. (Musicians Market Place)
  • Flex your journalistic muscles and publish your music blog on our website.
  • Become an International ambassador for your home country.
  •  Recording artists can access the marketplace through our own fully licensed independent (FFM Records Ltd) record label.
  •  An opportunity to be a Featured Artist.
  • The Freedom Orchestra. An orchestra established to bring together recent settlers in the UK either refugees or migrant musicians. (Coming soon)
  • Have your musical innovations promoted as ‘Featured Product’.
  • Promote your online lessons to a global audience.
  • Share and promote at our Facebook home.

If you would like us to promo your work, all you need to do is message me, Roger Moisan, with your links etc, and we will do the rest.

THERE IS ABSOLUTELY, AND WILL NEVER BE, ANY CHARGE FOR OUR SERVICES

You can join FFM by becoming a member of our Facebook Group

Message me personally through Linkedin

email – rogermoisan@yahoo.co.uk

Visit us at FFM Records



Freedom for Musicians Magazine – An Online Music Magazine With A Difference


With more than 400 articles, FFM Magazine is packed full of great stories, music, videos and resources for the music enthusiast. Join our community for free or just browse. There is something for every musician at Freedom for Musicians.

At Freedom for Musicians, our philanthropic purpose is to serve and support musicians from any genre, style or culture by providing a free promotional service via FFM Magazine.

 

Our services so far:

  • All our musicians have access to the website via the admin team.
  • A Musicians Directory
  • Live stream your performance at the FFM Live Lounge
  • Event promotion through our network of thousands of musicians worldwide.
  •  Members can advertise, for free, any musical product or service on the website. (Musicians Market Place)
  • Flex your journalistic muscles and publish your music blog on our website.
  • Become an International ambassador for your home country.
  •  Recording artists can access the marketplace through our own fully licensed independent (FFM Records Ltd) record label.
  •  An opportunity to be a Featured Artist.
  • Have your musical innovations promoted as ‘Featured Product’.
  • Promote your online lessons to a global audience.
  • Share and promote at our Facebook home.

If you would like us to promo your work, all you need to do is message me, Roger Moisan, with your links etc, and we will do the rest.

THERE IS ABSOLUTELY, AND WILL NEVER BE, ANY CHARGE FOR OUR SERVICES

You can join FFM by becoming a member of our Facebook Group

Message me personally through Linkedin

email – rogermoisan@yahoo.co.uk

Continue to Articles




Let Freedom for Musicians Help You Reach a Global Audience


At Freedom for Musicians, our philanthropic purpose is to serve and support musicians from any genre, style or culture by providing a free promotional service via FFM Magazine.

Our services so far:

  • All our musicians have access to the website via the admin team.
  • A Musicians Directory
  • Live stream your performance at the FFM Live Lounge
  • Event promotion through our network of thousands of musicians worldwide.
  •  Members can advertise, for free, any musical product or service on the website. (Musicians Market Place)
  • Flex your journalistic muscles and publish your music blog on our website.
  • Become an International ambassador for your home country.
  •  Recording artists can access the marketplace through our own fully licensed independent (FFM Records Ltd) record label.
  •  An opportunity to be a Featured Artist.
  • The Freedom Orchestra. An orchestra established to bring together recent settlers in the UK either refugees or migrant musicians. (Coming soon)
  • Have your musical innovations promoted as ‘Featured Product’.
  • Promote your online lessons to a global audience.
  • Share and promote at our Facebook home.

If you would like us to promo your work, all you need to do is message me, Roger Moisan, with your links etc, and we will do the rest.

THERE IS ABSOLUTELY, AND WILL NEVER BE, ANY CHARGE FOR OUR SERVICES

You can join FFM by becoming a member of our Facebook Group

Message me personally through Linkedin

email – rogermoisan@yahoo.co.uk

Visit us at FFM Records



Duchess of Kent: ‘My love for teaching music at Hull state primary school’


The Duchess of Kent has spoken movingly of her “love” for teaching at a state primary school in Hull, after ill health forced her withdraw from official royal engagements.

By 

In a touching television interview, the 78 year-old spoke of her excitement teaching music, mostly anonymously, for eight years at Wansbeck Primary School.

The Duchess, whose husband the Duke of Kent is the Queen’s cousin, admitted she got a “tickle” of excitement when she recognised talent in pupils.

Known as “Mrs Kent” to her students, the royal said she was proud to have given some the confidence to go on to university or pursue careers that previously would have been unachievable.

But she said she feared for the future of music in the English school curriculum, which could deprive underprivileged children of valuable stimulation.

She said music was powerful enough to help children climb the virtual “Berlin Wall” that surrounds many council estates across the country. It is thought to be the first time she has publicly spoken of her time in teaching.

In a pre-recorded interview, broadcast on The Alan Titchmarsh Show later on Friday, the duchess also gives a rare insight into her life and discloses that she is an avid user of her iPhone and is a fan of popular music.

After her self-imposed exile from public life in 1996, she agreed to a friend’s request to visit Wansbeck Primary School after they moved to the city.

Upon her visit, the head teacher disclosed that the school was in desperate need of a music teacher, and she volunteered. She was involved with the school for the next 13 years.

“When I was teaching the first thing I began to notice was the power of music as a stimulant to these children to give them confidence and self-belief. I began to see that happen all the time,” she told the ITV1 show.

“Some of the children I taught haven’t necessarily become musicians, but the confidence it has given them, some have joined the Army, some to university, which they might not have done otherwise.

“I have always loved talent, I love that tickle up the neck when you see talent and I began to realise I was teaching some very, very gifted children.”

She added: “I love those children, I loved being there and I love Hull, I wouldn’t have stayed there if I hadn’t.

As a schoolgirl the Duchess learnt to play the piano, the violin and the organ and narrowly missed out on a place at the Royal Academy of Music.

She pursued her passion for music through finishing school in Oxford and held dreams of playing at Carnegie Hall.

Asked if music was underrated in schools, she replied: “Oh my goodness is it underrated. I would love to see one of the arts being compulsory at GCSE level. I think that would be wonderful.

“Someone asked me the other day, why wasn’t music as popular as football and I couldn’t answer at the time because I was nervous but then I realised that music is so much more popular than football.

“There isn’t a person in the world who doesn’t tap their feet to music.”

Since leaving teaching, the duchess has launched a music charity, Future Talent, which aims to help gifted children develop their musical prowess, the Daily Mail reported. The charity now works with orchestras such as the Halle in Manchester and links them with primary and secondary schools.

The duchess has three children with the Duke of Kent – George Windsor, Earl of St Andrews, Lady Helen Taylor and Lord Nicholas Windsor.

But following the stillbirth of her fourth child in 1977, she suffered recurrent health problems and her withdrawal from the royal circuit prompted claims she had become a recluse.

Public appearances also became rare following her decision to convert to Catholicism in 1994, becoming the first senior royal to convert publicly since the passing of the 1701 Act of Settlement.



Join the fastest growing and most dynamic International Musicians Community – FFM on Facebook

Join Freedom For Musicians at our Facebook Home

Freedom for musicians is an international cooperative for musicians to share and cross promote each other’s work. In our Facebook group you can promote your gigs, products and
services to an international audience. You can also feature on our website www.ffmrecords.com

What Freedom for Musicians can do for you:

By joining the Facebook group you are automatically a member of FFM.

You can have your music blog or articles published on the website.

You can have your music videos and youtube channel published and promoted at FFM.

You can list your products and services on our musicians directory and in the musicians market.

You can publish your events and concerts on our Upcoming Events feature.

You can be a featured artist.

You can become an FFM Ambassador for your country.

Music students can featured in our Spotlight.

You can release your digital music via our own independent record label FFM Records.

Come and join FFM’s Facebook community and be part of the fastest growing and most dynamic international musicians network.

[WD_FB id=”1″]