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.
But in answer to the question I chose the following:
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?
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.
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.
Conceived and conducted by Vincent Rees, the Red Planet Orchestra combine classical composition with a contemporary structure of electronic ambient music.
With sound artist Pete Smith, the Red Planet Orchestra has accumulated a growing body of work both rich in invention and subtlety. A sound palette of future memories and past dreams. Each release has created a landscape of intense serenity.
Their debut album, Aurora Symphony, was warmly received and now a firm favourite among fans – All albums feature original artwork conceived by Belgium artist Nicolas Crombez.
The Red Planet Orchestra continue to compose music for emerging film soundtracks such as the brilliant ‘Gorka’
Aurora Symphony – 2013
Secrets of Eternity – 2013
We Breathe Together-2014
States of Space -2014
The Angry Silence -2014
Time of Dark Consequences – 2016
Contamination – 2016
“Indian classical music is a genre of South Asian music.It has two major traditions: the North Indian classical music tradition is called Hindustani, while the South Indian expression is called Carnatic.”
Indian classical music has two foundational elements, raga and tala. The raga forms the fabric of a melodic structure, while the tala measures the time cycle.
Indian classical music is a genre of South Asian music.It has two major traditions: the North Indian classical music tradition is called Hindustani, while the South Indian expression is called Carnatic.
The raga gives an artist a palette to build the melody from sounds, while the tala provides them with a creative framework for rhythmic improvisation using time.
There is no concept of harmony in Indian classical music.
Here Debdeep Misra performs raga YAMAN……WHICH IS INDIAN CLASSICAL RAGA. Yaman emerged from the parent musical style of Kalyan Vilambit bandish ” kahe sakhi kayse ke ka kariye”
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.
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.”
Once the flagship provider of instrumental lessons, music centres, musical ensembles, classroom support and much more, East Sussex Music Service (ESMS) is facing the axe. In order to save money due to local government cuts imposed by their own party, Conservative led East Sussex County Council have decided that the way forward is to deny thousands of local children the opportunity of learning a musical instrument.
Despite decades of research proving the irrefutable benefits of music in education and the way young lives are transformed through such opportunities, heartless council leaders feel that this is the best way to make savings, due to their own mismanagement of the budget.
Last week, this letter was sent to parents of children currently involved with ESMS:
Dear Parents and members of adult groups
A proposal for East Sussex Music to withdraw from providing non-statutory instrumental lessons
I am writing to let you know that on 30 April the East Sussex County Council Lead Member for Education, Inclusion, Special Educational Needs and Disability is being asked to agree to consult on drawing up a proposal to close the instrumental teaching part of the service which would mean the Music Service ceases to provide small group and individual instrumental lessons.
As you may know, over the last few years it has been increasingly difficult for the Music Service to remain financially viable because of cuts to Arts Council and County Council funding. Over the last 4 years, the service has made savings of over £600,000 through restructuring and efficiency savings. However further recent reductions in funding mean that more savings are required.
Lucy Morgan-Jones Head of East Sussex Music
A so called consultation on these proposals will take place, but in my experience, these consultations pay nothing more than lip service to public opinion, with the intended outcome being a fait accompli. We have seen evidence of this strategy time and time again with the academisation of schools and the outsourcing of public services such as libraries and health care.
Of course those who will suffer the most are the children from low income families who receive subsidised lessons and special needs music provision. This doesn’t bother the tory councilors one little bit as the more affluent elite of the county will always be able to afford private education.
Around 75 highly skilled and gifted peripatetic music teachers will be made redundant, with their livelihoods and vocations being destroyed.
Once the damage is done it is irreversible. This wonderful and historic organisation will be lost forever, denying future generations the opportunities to be involved in the fundamental human activity of music making.
I urge you now to help stop this outrage by signing the petition and writing to your MP. Raise awareness on your own platform or network, and do anything else you can before it is too late and East Sussex Music Service is lost forever.
You do not need to be resident in East Sussex to sign the petition. Simply register on the ESCC website and sign.
My mother Grew up outside of Beirut, Lebanon, and I had listened to a lot of Arabic music growing up. I started playing euphonium in school and loved it so much that I focused on that for a while. I heard Ibrahim Maalouf on the radio and it resonated with me so much that I looked him up, and got in touch with his father on Facebook.
Nassim his father studied at the Paris Conservatory under Maurice Andre, and invented the Arabic trumpet. after passing some recordings back and forth, he helped guide me how to play the style properly.
This fall I have presented a lecture on how to modify all low brass instruments to be able to play the quarter-tone system, lectured at conferences, and have given masterclasses all over the US on the subject. I should have my first CD out this summer.
B i o g r a p h y
Dr. Richard Demy is an international award winning musician who has performed all over the world. He graduated from the University of North Texas with his DMA under Dr. Brian Bowman, including other notable teachers – Dr Joseph Skillen, Don Palmire, and others.
Richard won the 2012 Leonard Falcone Euphonium Artist Solo Competition. He was a finalist in the National Symphony Orchestra Concerto Competition and the International Tuba Euphonium Conference Euphonium Artist Division.
He performed a solo recital at the Kennedy Center as well as with with wind bands across the United States and Europe. He has performed with symphonies and given over 100 recitals and master classes in many states in the USA
“My passion is to teach masterclasses and workshops on brass. I focus on practice habits, with an emphasis on teaching technical elements from a musical paradigm. Send me an email to discuss how I can assist your program ”
Richard has worked hard to expand performance opportunities on the euphonium by publishing articles promoting lesser known genres featuring the euphonium, presenting recitals on historical instruments, and performing modern compositions with audience biofeedback.
He currently performs with the Lone Star Wind Orchestra based in Dallas, Texas and released his first album in June 2016. You can read more about upcoming performances at DemyMusic.com. Richard plays exclusively on a WILLSON 2900TA Euphonium.
I wrote the song ‘Let Love Abound’ thinking about the mental illness and substance abuse that my family has suffered from for a very long time and the beautiful people I work with. In this song I am talking about stigmas that run very deep in America.
The stigmatization of those that suffer with substance abuse, the stigmatization of those that suffer with mental illness, and the stigmatization of those assumed to be prejudiced .
Our band was based in Virginia Beach for awhile. I ran into Bluegrass players that were very open and not the judgmental or prejudiced people that many assume. I pray that we stop stigmatizing those with mental illness, substance abuse, and open our minds to people as they are as opposed to who we think they are. I pray that we, ‘Let Love Abound’…..
The Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 Studio (2nd Gen) features everything you need to turn your computer into a digital recording solution, improving on its original design to deliver maximum audio quality and performance. The Scarlett 2i2 Studio (2nd Gen) features the 2 in / 2 out Scarlett 2i2 (2nd Gen) USB Audio Interface plus a CM25 large diaphragm condenser microphone, complete with a pair of HP60 closed-back headphones. This bundle provides you with everything you need to get studio-grade recordings straight out of the box, for everything from vocals to acoustic instruments.
Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 MKII
The Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 (2nd Gen) features everything you need to turn your computer into a digital recording solution, improving on its original design to deliver maximum audio quality and performance. The interface features a 2 in / 2 out configuration, featuring both XLR and line/instrument inputs for recording microphones and instruments. There is also a 48V phantom power switch that allows you to connect and power condenser microphones, perfect for recording studio-quality vocals. You can also connect your headphones directly to the interface for monitoring purposes, allowing you to hear the audio signal as you record. The compact design and size of the Scarlett 2i2 makes it highly portable, allowing you to take your interface with you wherever you go. This is ideal for digital musicians who like to collaborate with other artists who may not have the same equipment at hand.
The MKII has been improved tenfold with a range of new features and functions that improve performance and audio quality. One of the most prominent upgrades is the new super-low latency performance. The super-low roundtrip latency improves performance and efficiency by minimising the delay between the original signal and the processed signal on your computer. This is paramount when recording vocals or instruments as it gives you the ability to record signals as close to real-time as possible. The sample rate of the Scarlett 2i2 (2nd Gen) has also been increased, now running up to 24-bit/192kHz for maximum audio quality and studio-grade recordings.
CM25 Condenser Microphone
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The Scarlett 2i2 Studio (2nd Gen) also features a brand new software bundle, providing you with everything you need to record, edit and mix your recordings. The new software bundle includes: Red 2 & 3 Plug-in Suite, Softube Time and Tone Pack, Ableton Live Lit music making software, Novation Bass Station VST with AU Plugin-Synthesiser, 2GB of Loopmasters sounds and samples plus Pro tools First (First Focusrite Creative Pack). This software bundle provides you with everything you need you get started out of the box. The addition of the Pro Tools First (First Focusrite Creative Pack) adds to its functionality, providing you with the Pro Tools First software and 12 free plug-ins.
What’s In The Box
Scarlett 2i2 (2nd Gen) Audio Interface
HP60 (2nd Gen) Studio Headphones
CM25 (2nd Gen) Condenser Microphone
3m XLR CAble
Bundle code for your free software
Get everything you need in one box, and start recording straight away.
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Large diaphragm CM25 condenser microphone and 3m / 10′ Microphone cable
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One headphones output with gain control
Studio quality HP60 closed-back headphones
Class-leading conversion and sample rates up to 192kHz / 24 bit
Super-low latency for using your plug-ins in real time without the need for DSP
Compact and tough enough to take anywhere
Powered by USB so you don’t need to carry a power cable
Includes Pro Tools | First Focusrite Creative Pack and Ableton Live Lite
All the additional software and loops you need to start recording
Clean Hip Hop for the whole family; there’s an oxymoron. Now, I’m no saint and I love the raw authenticity of Hip Hop and Rap, but this latest video from Ken Harris, Hugh Neph and my friends at Miller-Bell Media have got me jumping back and kissing myself.
Every so often, a music video takes the world by storm and who can forget Psy and Gangnam Style. If this latest release from Fat Mac Da Great doesn’t go viral, I will jump back and kiss my ****** !!!