New Islington Music Education Hub launches

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Following a successful bid to Arts Council England (ACE), Islington Council has announced that it will lead the new Islington Music Education Hub in partnership with the Guildhall School of Music & Drama from 1 October 2018.

Islington Music Education Hub

Working alongside local music education providers and Islington school leaders, Islington Music Education Hub will give young people the opportunity to engage with a wide range of music and multi-artform performances through the creative alliance between the Guildhall School and the Barbican as part of the latter’s arts and learning programme.

The new hub’s vision is that all children and young people aged 5-18, regardless of their background, can experience the joy of making music through high-quality and sustained music education activities. This will be achieved by providing regular opportunities to sing, learn a musical instrument and play in ensembles and by ensuring clear progression routes for all in a wide range of styles and genres. In particular, opportunities for children and young people in challenging circumstances will be widened and deepened and affordable progression opportunities will be provided for Primary schoolchildren.

Hub priorities

Islington Music Education Hub’s priorities will include:

  • ensuring that every child aged 5-18 has the opportunity to learn a musical instrument through Whole Class ensemble teaching programmes for a year (minimum of a term)
  • providing opportunities to play in ensembles and to perform from an early stage
  • developing a singing strategy to ensure that every pupil sings regularly and that choirs and other vocal ensembles are available in the area
  • offering Continuing Professional Development (CPD) to school staff, particularly in supporting schools to deliver music in the curriculum
  • providing an instrument loan service with discounts or free provision for families on low incomes
  • providing access to large-scale and/or high-quality music experiences for pupils, working with professional musicians through the Guildhall School, Barbican and other partner organisations
Junior Guildhall Open Rehearsal © Paul Cochrane
Junior Guildhall Open Rehearsal © Paul Cochrane

‘Unparalleled opportunities’

Councillor Richard Watts, Leader of Islington Council, said:

‘We are delighted to be leading this groundbreaking partnership with the Guildhall School, which offers unparalleled opportunities for our young people and creates a new model for music education in England.

‘With a huge number of high-quality music education providers and arts venues already in the borough, our hub will transform the educational development of our young people, putting them in a strong position for progression into employment in the creative industries.

‘We are very excited to harness the potential offered by joining forces with a world-famous conservatoire as part of our commitment to making Islington a place where all children and young people get the best start in life.’

‘An exciting step’

Catherine McGuinness, Policy Chairman at the City of London Corporation, said:

‘Over the past year, Islington Council and the City of London Corporation have established even closer working ties to advance a number of shared priorities which cross the physical border between us. These include music education.

‘We are committed to ensuring that young people have access to sustained high-quality music-making opportunities so it is an exciting step for the Guildhall School, working alongside the Barbican Centre, to partner with Islington to develop a new music education hub.

‘I am a passionate believer that every child deserves to have access to music and the benefits it brings in all areas of development.’

Junior Guildhall harpists
Junior Guildhall harpists

‘Experienced and talented music teachers’

Hannah Fouracre, Director of Music Education at Arts Council England, said:

‘We’re delighted to welcome Islington Borough Council and the Guildhall School into the Music Education Hubs programme.

‘The Guildhall School brings some of the world’s most experienced and talented music teachers to the programme and we look forward to seeing how this innovative partnership delivers the best-quality music education for the young people of Islington.’

‘A very natural progression’

Lynne Williams, Principal, Guildhall School, said:

‘The Guildhall School is excited to work with Islington Council and to develop this innovative new model for Islington Music Education Hub.

‘As the School is already the UK’s leading provider of specialist music training at the under-18 level, via Junior Guildhall and Centre for Young Musicians, it seems a very natural progression to work with our neighbours to ensure that young people in Islington receive high-quality music education and we feel we are ideally placed to deliver this.

‘This is also an exciting next step in the creation of the Guildhall School’s Young Artists division, which will incorporate all of the School’s under-18s work going forward, and for our creative alliance with the Barbican.’

‘A new model for music education’

Sean Gregory © Paul Cochrane
Sean Gregory © Paul Cochrane

Sean Gregory, Director of Learning and Engagement, Barbican Centre and Guildhall School, said:

‘This is such an exciting opportunity to develop a new model for music education and aligns with the School’s vision to help young people find their creative voice.

For the last 30 years, we have had experience of working in the local area and, through Barbican Guildhall Creative Learning, bring together UK and international partners with students and communities in groundbreaking new ways to create inspiring experiences for all.

‘This pioneering cultural alliance between a conservatoire and a world-class art centre creates transformative opportunities and will help to equip the talent of the next generation through the new Islington Music Education Hub.’


Header photo: Players at Junior Guildhall – Islington Music Education Hub will give young people the opportunity to engage with a wide range of music through its creative alliance with the Guildhall School and the Barbican

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