Academic learning/teaching



Royal Birmingham Conservatoire, Jennens Road, Birmingham, United Kingdom

The ARCO teachers, including both staff and students from the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire, have not just run every musical, administrative, pragmatic and pedagogical detail from the inception of the ARCO Project, but they have fundraised incessantly. The ARCO teachers (mainly RBC Strings Department students) have raised around £50,000 since the project began in 2015. In order to travel to South Africa for both the 2016 and 2017 ARCO Festivals, all Birmingham based ARCO teachers raised their own funds to enable their participation - this included funds for flights, transport, accommodation and subsistence.

In 2016 ARCO teachers used creative ideas and great initiative to attract sponsorship, and in 2017, this creativity took on another dimension. The ARCO Team have paid for weekly String Quartet Lessons for almost eighteen months, food and some South African staff costs during ARCO Festivals, travel and all associated costs and have most recently been fundraising for ARCO Exchange.

Most important of all, the ARCO teachers give up many hours of their precious time every week teaching over Skype, completely for free.

  • To provide regular distance-learning opportunities for talented children in South Africa, who for multiple reasons, do not have access to the same level of musical education as people in Europe. 

West Midlands

ARCO is an innovative alliance between Royal Birmingham Conservatoire and Cape Gate MIAGI Centre for Music (CMCM) in Soweto, Johannesburg.

Established in 2015, the project provides regular distance-learning opportunities for children in South Africa. Weekly individual instrumental lessons, mentoring and string quartet coaching are delivered by a group of sixteen current students and recent graduates from Royal Birmingham Conservatoire via video conferencing systems. Regular events occurring within Birmingham Conservatoires String Department, such as masterclasses, workshops and performances are streamed live to South Africa for the benefit of the CMCM students.

Each summer, teachers from the UK travel to South Africa for the annual ARCO Festival – an immersive musical experience, building on and solidifying skills learnt throughout the year. The festivals of 2016 and 2017 have been enormously successful and truly life-changing experiences for all involved. Plans for the 2018 festival are already underway.

2017 sees the launch of ARCO Exchange, with selected ARCO students being hosted in the UK for specic projects and festivals. So far, partnerships have been established with the Cecil Aronowitz International Viola Competition and Festival, Chetham’s School of Music and Pro Corda – the National School for Young Chamber Musicians. Three students from Soweto will be traveling to England in November 2017 and we are currently in the process of funding further trips for 2018.

In 2017, ARCO piloted a teacher training scheme, welcoming Jan Repko to Soweto to work with ARCO teachers. Enormously successful, we will be continuing the scheme with both Jan and celebrated pedagogue Wiesje Miedama in 2018.

Posted In  Academic learning/teaching

Musical Futures

Musical Futures

50, Broadway, Westminster, London SW1H 0RG

  • Musical Futures approaches have benefitted 266,742 students since September 2015.
  • 71% of respondents felt that since implementing Musical Futures they have become more effective teachers, and 81% felt that their students have more positive attitudes towards music.
  • 88% of respondents agreed that they would definitely recommend Musical Futures resources and training to other colleagues.
  • 76% of respondents indicated that Musical Futures was one of many websites that they used for resources

(date of survey October 10 2016)


  1. To refresh and embed our innovative learning models in the secondary sector through professional development, new approaches, resources and supporting and growing the project's network
  2. To develop and rollout a Musical Futures approach for primary school music
  3. To establish an annual professional development event delivered in partnership with others

Out of school settings

  1. To develop new partnerships to deliver professional development programmes for those working with disadvantaged young people
  2. To deliver an income-generating professional development Musical Futures programme for workplace learning


  1. To grow a sustainable income
  2. To strengthen networks nationally and internationally
  3. To build the Musical Futures brand in the UK and overseas
  4. To better understand the project's impact and outcomes

  • 'Musical Futures, an informal learning model initially inspired by research led by Lucy Green from the Institute of Education in London, is held up around the world as a breakthrough in music education. It’s inspiring thousands more young people to enjoy music-making in school.' - Catherine Baker, The Guardian
  • 'I really believe that it’s important we allow everyone the opportunity to access what is often the preserve of a middle class education.  There are lots of challenges in making this happen, one of which is how we enable more students to learn an instrument and understand musical theory without going backwards and having students sitting at keyboards with lots of talking about music instead of playing it.  One of the things we’ve done is look at all the great things that Musical Futures have such as Just Play and Informal Learning and how we can take those ideas and develop a structure to our key stage three that allows for some really strong progression in both performance and understanding of theory.' - Matt Keil, Head of Music, Morpeth School


Musical Futures provides universal and targeted learner-led opportunities to create music by supplying training and tools to primary and secondary schools.

Musical Futures is a non-profit organisation providing support through training and resources – both free and paid for – for those that work in schools and other music education organisations, with the aim of making music-making accessible to all young people.

The project aims to help schools transform mandatory music teaching, and works in partnership to use the power of creating music to affect individual and social change. Its vision is for a future where everybody benefits from the value of music. 

The project organises workshops for students, teachers, and music hub workers, including:

  • Just Play – ideal for building essential musical and instrumental skills in both primary and secondary stages of education from years 4 – 9.
  • Musical Futures Steps to Success in GCSE Music – practical ideas for teaching Key Stage 4 music that are musical as well as theoretical.
  • Find Your Voice – a course for teachers exploring Musical Futures’ practical, hands-on approach to embedding vocal work in the classroom, supported by mobile technology.

Musical Futures is recognised as a Global Innovation in Education by Finnish educational organisation HundrED. 


Posted In  Academic learning/teaching and  Education

BBC Ten Pieces

BBC Ten Pieces

London, United Kingdom


  • '... a new initiative for UK primary schools that aims to inspire a generation of children to enjoy classical music and use it as a stimulus to their own creativity.' - The Guardian
  • 'Events like this really help local young people to develop confidence and self-esteem, which allows them to reach their potential and as a council we are lucky to have such close relationships with our schools to support this goal, and this concert really showed how successful this has been. I am so proud of our children and young people who have continued to develop in musical education.' - Councillor Tom Bruce, Cabinet Member for Education, Children and Youth Services, Hounslow Council

Ten Pieces opens up the world of classical music to 7-14 year-olds across the UK and inspire them to develop their own creative responses to the music.

Ten Pieces helps young people to get creative with classical music and develop imaginative responses. The project is open to schools, home educators or any kind of arts organisation.

The project comes with a wealth of support resources:

  • Ten Pieces films; these consist of ten performances of classical music – there are twenty pieces available in total.
  • free DVD box set of the performances is available. The performances are between two and ten minutes in duration.
  • The pieces are supported by free downloadable teaching resources including lesson plans, composer information, cross-curricular resources and simplified orchestral arrangements
  • Catch up on what’s been happening in the last two jam-packed years in this clip and in Ten Pieces’ photo gallery.

These resources are designed for 7 to 14 year-olds and have taken into account the KS2, First Level, Second Level and the KS3 and Third Level curriculums in England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland. Lesson plans are labelled with their appropriate age group.

Ten Pieces has additional support from a range of music and arts education stakeholders and is delivered in partnership with Ten Pieces Champions. The Champions are Music Education Hubs, Music Services, orchestras, film, dance and other arts organisations from across the UK working in collaboration with the BBC to introduce classical music to the next generation. They have signed up to Champion the project and work together on delivering music and arts education to every young person throughout the nations and regions.

‘Ten Pieces marks the biggest commitment the BBC has ever made to music education in the country. We hope that the project will inspire a generation of children to learn more about classical music.’ – Roger Wright, Controller, BBC Radio 3 and Director, BBC Proms

‘Music has the power to transform lives, and we are hoping that this project will be a catalyst for all kinds of creativity in primary schools across the country, as well as providing an inspirational way into classical music.’ – Katy Jones, Executive Producer, BBC Learning

Posted In  Academic learning/teachingPerformance and  Vocal/instrumental learning/teaching