Dame Evelyn Glennie delights delegates in Glasgow
Scots percussionist Dame Evelyn Glennie delighted delegates at the International Society for Music Education (ISME) conference today (Monday 25 July) with an inspiring keynote speech and performance.
She thrilled 2000 ISME delegates with an energetic performance of Askell Massonon’s Prim on the snare drum and urged music teachers to “look and listen to youngsters who come to music with such creativity and curiosity. Let’s work together to shape the way the teachers teach the young.” And they responded with a standing ovation after she delivered her keynote, a performance of John Cage’s, Four minutes, thirty-three seconds culminating in a wonderful marimba performance.
Dame Evelyne Glennie said:
“You can’t come to Scotland and not play the snare drum.”
“Every child has a story to tell and they come to us as teachers, bursting with enthusiasm and it’s wonderful. It’s our job to get them to tell that story through music making.”
“As teachers we must keep asking questions, keep pushing and pushing the boundaries of what can be done.”
The Aberdeen born musician told her own story of her first ever music lesson as a youngster.
She told delegates:
“I was excited about going for the lesson and when I got to class I was given and snare drum and told to come back next week. No lesson, no stand no drum sticks, just the drum. That drum sat all over the house, on bales of hay until eventually I touched it and began to make music.”
Also addressing the 32nd ISME conference which opened in Glasgow on Sunday, was Michael Elliot, Chief Executive of the ABRSM. He announced the ABRSM’s plans to launch new forms of assessment, accreditation and learning resources designed to enhance the quality of learning and teaching of music.
Michael Elliot, Chief Executive of ABRSM, said:
“In a digital age, with young people learning in many and varied ways, we also need to provide the resources for them to discover the world of music themselves, find the quality guidance they need, and support them and their teachers in their face to face interaction and between their contact sessions.
“We need to rebuild the connections between the performing and understanding of music, which we have allowed to become separated both in their labelling and their assessment as practice and theory.
“We also need to invest in the connections between repertoire and the skills needed to perform, and in how they are assessed. Scales, sight reading and aural skills are essential to musicianship, and to mastering the universal musical components of pitch, time, tone, shape and performance. However, we need to continue to keep under review how to more effectively embed them in instrumental learning, teaching, practice, and assessment.”
“To this end, over the next few years, we will be launching new forms of assessment, accreditation, and learning resources that will make a practical difference to the quality learning and teaching of music. These will include the launch next week of a new post-grade performance and lettered qualification, the Associateship of the Royal Schools of Music.
“In summary, ABRSM is determined to provide a blended offer using a range of analogue and digital platforms, and to equip others to help extend our reach and impact.”
The conference, attended by delegates from more than 84 countries, is one of world’s most influential forums for music education debate, where new agendas and strategies for music education are explored by senior academics, educators and policy makers. Some of the key topics to be explored during the week-long event include improving collaborative practice, fostering global intercultural understanding, and support of music-making and education for all.
Tonight there will be a number of performances including the screening of the iconic 1927 silent movie IT with live orchestra conducted by film composer, Patrick Doyle. The IT project is a culmination of months of collaboration between young musicians from North and South Lanarkshire schools and members of the Junior Royal Conservatoire who have been coached by Patrick Doyle and his team of professionals on the complexities of playing for film.
The young musicians have been part of an intense programme of weekend rehearsals and have been coached by Uddingston-born Patrick Doyle, Bernard Docherty, former co-leader of the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra and James Shearman who will led them in the concert.
Patrick Doyle said:
“It’s extremely important to me that young Scottish people will be performing for an international audience. I come from South Lanarkshire, which gave me tremendous musical opportunities that I have built upon throughout my film composing career. Hopefully, this IT project will inspire this new generation.”
Guest speakers and performers at the conference later in the week include three times Grammy nominated, two times Brit nominated, singer/songwriter Joan Armatrading; musician Randy Weston, who has released more than sixty recordings since 1955, including works for solo piano, orchestra, compilations and many featuring his African Rhythms ensemble; and Darren Henley OBE, Chief Executive of Arts Council England.