Tuning in to a great music idea

David Little (Head of instrumental teaching services), seen here serenading Harvey and Reece Tickle, backs the new music teaching drive
David Little (Head of instrumental teaching services), seen here serenading Harvey and Reece Tickle, backs the new music teaching drive

WIGAN is to be in the forefront of a revolution in instrumental music teaching.

Last year we revealed that Wigan was hoping to be closely invovled in the In Harmony programme, based on the inspirational El Sistema scheme from Venezuela.

It is the first ever national plan for music education – The Importance of Music – which aims to give every child the chance to learn to play a musical instrument for at least a term and ideally for a year by transforming the way music is delivered to schools.

This is part of the Government’s aim to ensure that all pupils have rich cultural opportunities alongside their academic and vocational studies.

In the coming months music education will be provided by new “hubs” which will deliver music education in partnership, building on the work of existing local authority music services.

And Wigan Music Service, which has been working closely with services in the nine other Greater Manchester local authorities to secure a funding deal from Arts Council England for the three years up to 2015 – this week discovered that they have been successful.

This means that music education is not only secure in Wigan, but also that over the coming three years, through enhanced opportunities made available through working across the Greater Manchester and with high profile professional organisations in the region, the music offer to Wigan’s young people will be better than ever before.

Dave Little, head of music service for Wigan Council, said: “This is fantastic news for the young musicians of Wigan and for Wigan schools.

“It is impossible for a single school to deliver the diversity of musical opportunities expected by the DfE and Ofsted.The new music hubs will support and enhance provision both within and beyond schools to ensure that children in Wigan continue to be able to access the very best quality musical education and opportunities.”

The Greater Manchester Music Education Hub will be one of the biggest in the country.

The consortium which applied for its funding was led by Bolton Music Service. Its head, Carolyn Baxendale, said: “This is brilliant news for music education in our region.

“We are looking forward to working with all our regional partners to create more musical opportunities for children and young people and to ensure that all of our local communities experience the difference that music can make to them.

“Every child should have the chance to play an instrument, sing and perform with others and making this happen will be our joint priority.”