“If music be the food of Hubs…”

23 May 2013

The Hubs can play an important role in connecting the cultural landscape for Young Londoners. They have good local connectivity, especially to Schools and they are outward facing and connect to cultural partners.

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(Image credit: Classic FM website)

Last Friday was the first National Music Education Hub conference organised by the Arts Council England. The Music Hubs were set up in response to Darren Henley's Review of Music Education 2011. The Hubs receive funding from the DfE via the Arts council; the aim is to deliver the National Music Education Plan. Darren Henley began the day by saying that 'the best hubs are the ones who understand the true nature of partnerships.'

There are 2 unique and innovative aspects to this project;

  1. Arts Council England are working closely with the DfE in a way that brings the Arts and Education together. Whilst this brings complexity, it also brings great opportunity.
  2. The Hub is not an organisation. It is a collection of partnerships brought together around the shared aims of the plan. The funding is distributed through a lead partner (often the local Music Service). Again this brings complexity but also opportunity.

Darren Henley also wrote a Review of Cultural Education. As a 'bridge' organisation, A New Direction has a leading role in delivering Cultural Education for Young Londoners.

The Hubs can play an important role in connecting the cultural landscape for Young Londoners. The Hubs have good local connectivity, especially to Schools and they are outward facing and connect to cultural partners.

Mark Philips, Senior HMI for London, acknowledged the multi-dimensional aspects of music education; how it meant many different things to different people and that if was not just about getting the grades.

He also acknowledged the importance of working closely with schools, in terms of the budgets and curriculum time they bring to music education. Schools themselves can benefit from working with Hubs to connect their students to the arts and cultural world beyond their institution.

A New Direction recognises the value of the hub beyond a deliverer of services to be a creative space for people to come together and give cultural leadership to a place.

The Connected London programme is an example of our investment in Music hubs to achieve this. The Programme tests the notion that as existing or 'traditional' routes for funding change or disappear, new opportunities for cultural education activity could emerge through greater partnership, collaboration and innovation.

Althea Efunshile, Deputy CEO of Arts Council, cited Barnet Music Hub, working with Ealing and others to attract private sponsorship through the catalyst fund, as an example of good collaboration.

Music is a powerful ingredient in the Creative Industries. Mark Philips referenced the artistry of Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto No. 2 in the film Brief Encounter.

Darren Henley's Classic FM website currently features Gershwin and Baz Luhrmann's The Great Gatsby, A New Direction is about to move premises to share office with Somethin' Else who produce work for BBC Radio 6 Music and Radio 1.

Hubs can look to partners, not just to deliver music education, but to connect Young Londoners to the wider cultural footprint that includes the Creative Industries (eg. film music, radio & video games) and pathways to Further Education and employment.

Music Hubs like Hackney are planning to a paid intern position to work across both music and cultural education through CREATE Jobs.

The Arts Council have just launched a £500,000 fund to support emerging musical talent. Music is food for the soul but also a way to make a living.

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