Tuesday, 31 March 2009

South West update - March 2009

Hi there!

Things feel very different at the end of the spring term to how they were at the beginning and we're looking forward to a full programme of music sessions for disabled school pupils in Bristol and the surrounding area throughout the summer term. I don't have enough time to go into the creative focus for each session unfortunately, but here's an outline of what we're doing and (given the need for increased focus on finance and business structure) how it's paid for:

Half day at Briarwood School funded by Bristol Arts and Music Service (as part of Wider Opportunities) and the school

Full day at St. Roses' school, working towards the end of term 'PROM' performance as well as the continuation of the NOCN music course pilot with Bradley Warwick, funded entirely by the school

Half day at Emerson's Green School, funded entirely by the school

Full day at Claremont school, funded by local Trusts.
Also evening sessions at Hareclive Youth Club funded by Youth Opportunities Fund.

Half day at the City Academy Bristol supporting Jordan Andow through his music GCSE course funded by the school's Inclusion budget.

We're also doing some work with disabled dancer / drummer Michael Mitchell of Dance Aware to enable him to integrate drumming into his dance workshops using Assistive Music Technology (paid for by a Trust).

Curriculum Development work is moving forward strongly and we're keeping our fingers crossed that we get the £80,000 we've applied to the Esmée Fairbairn foundation for to continue this work. We are also in the process of commissioning UK-wide research into the state of music education for disabled  pupils, for which we hope to get funding from the Big Lottery Research Fund. I've posted a copy of the outline proposal on Googledocs if you're interested. (The focus is stated as being SEN pupils rather than disabled pupils for reasons of academic clarity). 

Other things happening at the moment:

I've received the full video of Havmannen's Sønn, including Charlotte's music, which I'll edit and post online when I have a chance (!?!) It looks and sounds great.

Sing Up
We're currently booking in the 5 pilot sessions for the summer term and are running a training / planning day for the Sing Up area leaders with whom we'll be delivering the sessions on 7th April.

Last Friday (27th) I attended the Sing Up 'Beyond The Mainstream' gathering in Birmingham along with all the 30-or-so other organisations involved in this programme of work throughout the UK. Sing Up are so pleased with what we're doing that even before our pilot has completed they have already asked us to create more resources for the Sing Up Song Bank . Furthermore, we are potentially looking at working on a more strategic level with the new Beyond The Mainstream manager, Jenny Young, to manage and collate accessible resources from across all the other projects. This is clearly a great opportunity!

Digital Beginnings
Though not entirely a SW programme, I'm co-ordinating the whole thing so here's an update on the Youth Music funded part of this work. Music sessions are currently being booked in the SW, NW and EMids to add to the Connecting Across Difference sessions which have just completed in London. Lead Musicians from each region will be gathering in Bristol on 8th April to review the work so far and make plans for the upcoming sessions, as well as playing with some AMT of course!

Barrs Court Music Motivator Programme
I learned last Friday that, in addition to the Youth Music 'Make It Sound' money awarded to Digital Beginnings, we have received a second slice of funding from this YM programme in the form of £28,000 for work at Barr's Court School, Hereford throughout 2009/10/11. The plan is to create a complete scheme of work at KS3 / 4 within the 'Special Curriculum'. We'll be delivering the work in partnership with the school, 'Music Pool', a Hereford based Community Music Organisation, and 'Broad Oak Studios' a local recording studio.

Colston Hall Education
We are looking at going into partnership with the Colston Hall in Bristol to develop an accessible music making facility in their education department as part of the brand new foyer which is nearly complete.

Er, think that's if for now, best crack on then! Thanks so much to all the SW Musicians who have been working so hard to make all this happen!

Doug Bott

Tuesday, 10 March 2009

i totally agree and the good news is invoiced income is increasing in regions at the moment. however it is bits and  bobs here and there which makes it difficult to plan strategically and to offer our participants sustainable provision.

what we could do with is a detailed discussion within DM on the best way of identifying the key people regionally and nationally and finding the best way to pursuade them to fund our work either because of legal requirements or their own gvt/strategic agendas. 

if we move in the same way, on mass, as a national organisation we will have much more pursuasive power and a greater sustainable impact, which would be very exciting.


Wednesday, 4 March 2009

The Magnificent Seven

Dear Bryan and all,

I think the seven aims here are all key to Drake's future, and that increasing statutory funding from local authorities and government is the most pressing goal, not just for Drake's future financial sustainability.

Every child who is in full time education should have access to excellent music provision as a matter of course. Many LEAs and examining boards are way behind on this, despite their responsibilities under the DDA. They simply aren't reaching out to disabled young people, nor taking the initiative in training their staff or re-assessing the accessibility of their examinations. They seem to expect disabled young people to come to them. Barriers to participation and accreditation are not only concrete e.g. a lack of accessible, re-usable teaching materials, but also perceived i.e. are examining boards approachable? Is my music education treated as being as important as my English and Maths? 

Drake Music has so much experience and 'intellectual capital', being the national leader in this sector for 20 years. Our area of work is currently a priority topic in national music education and policy, and as such, we are in a key position to influence the debate and expand our work at this turning point! I'm extremely optimistic about our future, not just because of this latter point, but because Drake has such a committed and creative team of people trying to reach these goals.

It would be great to hear other Drake people's views on this debate


Monday, 2 March 2009

A vision for Drake Music

Hi everybody,

What would we like Drake Music to be in five years’ time? Here's my two-pennies-worth for the debate - and my wish-list for any genie-in-a-bottle who'll grant me seven wishes. Actually I'm convinced that with luck, hard work and a fair wind we have the ability to achieve them.

1. We will generate far more of our income from trading. Central and local government, education authorities, schools, colleges, universities , curriculum and examination bodies, and a whole range of organisations in the private and the not-for-profit should be paying us for what we can do, what we can teach them and how we help them to achieve their corporate social responsibility and diversity agendas.

2. More disabled people will be involved throughout Drake Music, as associates, musicians and artists.

3. The Board will vibrant and creative, and high-profile individuals will volunteer to be on it.

4. We will have a presence on national and international stages.

5. More of our work will be skilling other people to do what we now do, selling our expertise as teachers and facilitators of change.

6. By having brought about a national debate, we and society at large will be aware of and articulate about the particular contribution / flavours disability brings to creativity.

7. We will be – and be seen as being - a significant source of generating/broking commissions for disabled musicians.

There is more, but seven is a propitious number so let’s start by talking about these.

I'm looking forward to your responses: and thank you for all your terrific work. And it's great to be out of the woods!

Bryan Heiser (Chair)