In early July I joined East Sussex Music service's primary curriculum leader, Alexandra Dalton, in Eastbourne for its first electric violin improvising summer school, which welcomed 14 young string players of grade 5 standard and above from the county's schools. Yamaha has a great range of 'Silent' violins and electric violins which we've already seen used most effectively as a way to (re)motivate teenaged string players and provide a range of new creative possibilities which can challenge, stimulate and broaden their approach to string playing. So I was delighted that we were able to support this event with the loan of a range of 4- and 5-stringed Yamaha electric violins for the use of participants who didn't have access to an electric violin.
At last week's Federation of Music Services conference, education consultant, David Price OBE, talked enthusiastically about the ways to engage more young people in music education. The current thinking is to do more around the music that interests and excites young people.
Web 2.0 has brought web-based interactivity that allows participation and instant responses and sharing. The popularity of Facebook, Bebo and even MySpace has exploded into a world-wide on-line community which can share instantly. David argued that local music services (and therefore the local authorities which usually govern them) which continue to drag their feet on web 2.0 style social networking as a tool for delivering education will continue to haemorrhage people from music.
I just wanted to remind Yamaha Education Friends members that you can all have a community like this, which is interactive, where you and your pupils can share ideas, music, homework, etc; where you can set levels of privacy to protect the community from unwanted outsiders.
It's called 'Webjam'. It's free to set up and you can do it by clicking on the 'Create New Webjam' button at the top of the screen! Please let us know if you have already done this or are thinking about it.