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Shropshire’s “Young Musician of the year” Concerto Competition

On Wednesday evening 6 April at Theatre Severn in Shrewsbury, Shropshire Music Service, with BBC Radio Shropshire, held a sell out concert featuring Shropshire’s finest young musicians. Four young musicians performed four very different concertos accompanied by Shropshire Sinfonia and conducted by Robert Wysome.


Pictured are the four finalists, left to right, Holly Scutt (violin) aged 16 studying at Shrewsbury High School  James Carter (trombone) aged 17 studying at Shrewsbury Sixth Form College, Rosie Powell Davies (cello) aged 18 studying at Shrewsbury High School and Freya Little (bassoon) aged 17 studying Shrewsbury High School.


The winner, Rosie Powell Davies, is in her final year at Shrewsbury High School, studying music as one of her A levels.  She has been offered a place to read Music at New College, Oxford in September.  She began learning the piano at the age of 6 and, a year later, started studying the cello with John Fairbank, achieving cello grade 8 distinction, aged 14, and the Sheila C Freeman prize awarded by the ABRSM.  Studying with Susie Allan she gained piano grade 8 distinction, aged 15.  Rosie currently leads the Shropshire Youth Cello Ensemble and the cello sections of Shrewsbury High School Orchestra and Senior String Ensemble.  During 2010-11 she has been performing with the CBSO Youth Orchestra in the Symphony Hall, Birmingham.  She has also performed regularly in Europe with an international youth orchestra, BISYOC.  Last year, Rosie was selected to play for cello and piano master-classes with Julian Lloyd Webber and Vanessa Latouche.  In April 2010, she reached the finals of both the Shropshire Concerto Competition (playing the Kabalevsky Cello Concerto) and the Gregynog Young Musician Competition.  Her cello is from the Dresden School, dated around 1885.


The adjudicator, Professor George Caird, praised all four finalists for their remarkable performances, claiming the decision was like a photo finish, with nothing between them in terms of the quality and maturity of their performances.


Alan Atkin (Manager - Shropshire Music Service) said, “This is a marvellous opportunity to showcase the outstanding talent of young musicians in Shropshire.”


Keith Havercroft (Music Adviser, Shropshire Council) praised the work of the peripatetic teaching staff at Shropshire Music Service for their continued outstanding contribution to the lives and learning of all young musicians in Shropshire.


BBC Radio Shropshire recorded the Concerto Competition and it will be broadcast at 7pm on Wednesday 13 April

To see more photographs of the finalists, learn more about the Concerto Competition and the work of the Music Service in Shropshire join Shropshire Music Service on Facebook, or contact Shropshire Music Service on 01743 874145

The Henley Review and the Government Response - A Statement from the FMS

Key points from the Henley Review and the Government’s response:

- The annual Music Grant to remain at £82.5m for 2011-12 – no cut

- This award remains protected for music education

- The Department of Education (DfE) and the Department for Culture Media and Sport (DCMS) will work with the Arts Council and other key stakeholders, including the FMS, to prepare a ‘National Plan for Music Education’ to come into effect in 2012 -13

- One of the National Plan’s key priorities will be to ensure that a structure is developed that enshrines the best mix of organisations and services to access funding available at a local level. These services will be identified in the National Plan and will embrace music and wider arts providers.

Virginia Haworth-Galt, Chief Executive of the FMS, said: “I believe this is a landmark report. As music teachers, we see every day the outstanding contribution music makes to a child’s development. Darren Henley has argued passionately for the value of music education and has provided clear recommendations to ensure that children, wherever they live in England, can benefit from it.

We congratulate the Government for responding so positively and listening to the FMS and others across the sector. We welcome the news that Music Services will receive the same level of funding from the Government and hope that this support will continue after 2012. We also urge all local authorities to continue their financial support too.

By backing the report’s recommendation for a ‘National Plan for Music Education’, the Government has also shown its commitment to work with us, schools and all music educators to make Darren Henley’s vision a reality - to provide all children with the music education they deserve.

This is a huge declaration for music education. We are excited that the FMS’s views on the value of local centres of excellence have been acknowledged. The FMS is looking forward to building on the close relationships we already enjoy with schools and other music partners as we move towards a new era in music and arts provision. To succeed all those involved in music provision must rise to the challenge of working together to deliver a better musical future for our children.


Notes to Editors

1. The FMS is a registered charity that was formed in the 1990s to help the regional music services organisations to be more effective and represent them in dealing with central and local government.

2. There are 158 Music Services organisations in England, Wales and Northern Ireland who are members of the FMS (98% of all Music Services). Their role is to provide primary and secondary schools with all that they need to teach music: they set standards, provide teaching aids, equipment and training for heads of music/music teachers. They employ about 12,000 music teachers, music tutors and assistants nationwide and teach over 2 million pupils every year. FMS members are the backbone of music education in this country.

For further information and interviews contact:
Ms Virginia Haworth-Galt 07827-914323
Douglas Adamson 07860 420763 or 01423 755009
Simon Mountford 07836 279685

Down load this press release: The Henley Review and Government response: FMS statement (Word .doc)

From riches to ragtime for school music services - TES 14/1/2011

Pre-emptive cuts ahead of Government review could do ‘irreparable’ damage

School music services across England and Wales are “holding their breath” for the outcome of a major review into their funding that could result in essential services being axed.

Campaigners have warned that if funding is cut, parents and schools will have to stump up more money for tuition, instrument hire and support services, which will shut out children from poorer families and decimate bands and orchestras.

The Federation of Music Services (FMS) says that pre-emptive cuts, already being publicly proposed by a handful of local authorities as part of wider cost savings, could “irreparably undermine” services even before the findings of the Government-commissioned Henley review are announced at the end of the month.

Councils in central Bedfordshire, North Yorkshire and Warwickshire have all proposed to end their significant contributions to school music over the next three years, while jobs hang in the balance in Haringey, north London.

North Yorkshire, which has proposed cutting £490,000 over three years, has already axed free transport for pupils attending its Saturday morning music services.

Initial findings from an FMS survey recently revealed that more than 18 per cent of music services receiving local authority assistance are likely to have their funding completely stopped in the future.

A further 47 per cent are facing cuts of between 10 and 50 per cent.

The Government has offered assurances that it will continue to fund school music despite its ring-fenced £82 million annual grant coming to an end in March.

However, the total amount and the way the grant will be administered are not yet known.

A spokesman for the FMS said: “We are holding our breath over the outcome of the Henley review. The grant could go directly into schools, but we would want to see it ring-fenced to avoid the situation we had under John Major in the early 1990s, where there was a steep decline in school music. We are concerned the money doesn’t just go into schools and dissipate.”

He said the federation recognised there was “going to be pain” and there would be a need to “work more smartly and more efficiently”.

In the London borough of Redbridge, the council will make a decision on whether to cut its funding to music services later this month.

Around one-third of music services funding comes from the council in the borough, prompting campaigners to gather 1,500 signatures opposing proposed cuts.

Ben Emmett, 22, who took violin tuition with the service from the age of eight to 18, said the cuts would mean the end of a service that had provided “a generation of people with the opportunity to learn essential life skills”.

He said it was not just a matter of music lessons becoming available only to better-off children. “You don’t have to lose many people from an orchestra to destroy it: you lose 20 per cent of the people and it’s gone,” he said.


Education secretary Michael Gove has said that physical contact between music teachers and pupils is “totally appropriate, indeed positively right”.

In a letter to the Musicians’ Union, the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music, the NSPCC and Youth Music, he admonishes them for their video, Keeping Children Safe in Music, in which music teachers are told that they should avoid any physical contact with children.

He writes: “It is particularly important that those teaching music feel confident that they can demonstrate how to master and improve technique by interacting physically with children whether it’s adjusting the position of a violin or demonstrating how to handle drumsticks.”

Local authority budget cuts to music services could lead to premature closures

18 November 2010


The Federation of Music Services (FMS), which represents 98% of all music services in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, has expressed grave concerns about cuts being announced to services ahead of the completion of the Henley Review of the Funding and Delivery of Music Education.


Currently, 65% of local authorities contribute either in cash, kind (administration, buildings etc) or both to music service funding. On average, local authorities contribute 10.5% of total music service budgets. Remaining funding comes from central government’s Music Grant (formerly the Music Standards Fund), parental fees, school and other contributions.


Initial findings from a survey recently conducted by the FMS with its members revealed that around 18.5% of music services receiving local authority assistance are likely to have their funding completely stopped in the future. A further 47% of music services in receipt of local authority funds are contemplating cuts of varying levels from 10% to 50%; the remainder are awaiting the outcome of their local authority’s deliberations. This means that nearly all services currently receiving local authority support will have budgets reduced in some way. Some will be triggered immediately in 2011, others over a period of two to three years. For some music services these cuts could mean either at worst closure, or at best much reduced resources.  


Stated FMS Chief Executive, Virginia Haworth-Galt, “We recognise the pressure many local authorities are under but would urge them to hold back their plans until we know the results of the Henley Review. Music and our children’s education are too important to be jettisoned like this, particularly when we know that 91% of the public back music education in schools*.


“The FMS and its members are preparing for change but at this stage we should remain flexible and open minded about the future shape of music education. The Government has reiterated the importance of music in child development. These moves by local authorities could precipitate a collapse of some services before they have the ability to respond to the new environment. The Government has stated that there will be period of transition in 2011 – 2012 before any new plans are implemented.  In addition Ed Vaizey, Minister for Culture, Communications and the Creative Industries has said publicly that he is minded to ring-fence music funding.”


*YouGov Incorporated Society of Musicians Research 2010

Important Announcement for all Music Services

Pre-emptive budget cuts to our music services by local authorities could trigger unnecessary closures


A number of local authorities have indicated imminent and in some cases severe budget reductions. The FMS is very concerned that this pre-emptive programme of cuts could irreparably undermine some services before the whole music education sector has a true measure of its future.


The Henley Review is likely to report in January 2011 on the structure and funding for music. The Government has stated publicly that there will be a period of transition during 2011 – 2012. The FMS believes that until the report is published music services should prepare for change but remain flexible in their thinking on structures and funding models.


The FMS is setting up an action hotline for individual services that are facing premature budget cuts and will be issuing advice on how to best marshal local support. We are actively co-ordinating this work with the ISM.


More details of these support mechanisms will be available in the next few days. Please check the website for updates.



Virginia Haworth-Galt

Chief Executive