Following a successful bid to Arts Council England (ACE), Islington Council in partnership with the Guildhall School of Music & Drama is delighted to announce the launch of a new Islington Music Education Hub from October 2018.

The new Hub will be led by the council working in partnership with the Guildhall School alongside leading local music education providers and Islington school leaders. Through the creative alliance between the Guildhall School and the Barbican, the offer will also be enriched by the opportunity for young people to engage with the widest range of music and multi-artform performances as part of the Barbican’s arts and learning programme.

It is the first time a Music Education Hub will be led by a local authority working with an internationally renowned conservatoire in alliance with a leading arts centre. This will offer Islington’s young people access to world-class music education and resources. The Guildhall School is provided by the City of London Corporation, who are also the Barbican’s founder and principal funder, and this is part of a wider initiative by the City Corporation to work more closely with Islington Council on shared priorities, including music education.

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 school children.

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.

Councillor Richard Watts, Leader of Islington Council said, “We are delighted to be leading this ground-breaking 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.”

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.”

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 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.”

Sean Gregory, Director of Learning and Engagement, Barbican Centre and Guildhall School commented, “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 ground-breaking 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.”

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.”


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