ISME Conference begins in Glasgow with key note speech from Principal Sharkey

ISME Conference begins in Glasgow with key note speech from Principal Sharkey

Published: 25/07/2016


The32ndBiennial International Society for Music Education Conference has begun in Glasgow with delegates from around the world attending the opening ceremony in Glasgow’s Royal Concert Hall.

Principal of the Royal Conservatoire, Professor Jeffrey Sharkey, opened the conference with a key note speech, calling for greater investment in music education.Giving children good music education from early years onwards is one of the best social investments that can be made in the next generation, Principal Sharkey, told the packed concert hall.

Addressing more than 2000 of the world’s leading music academics, researchers, performers and musicians at the International Society for Music Education conference which opened in Glasgow, (ISME), Professor Jeffrey Sharkey issued a call to action challenging governments and education authorities world-wide to harness the transformative power of music to improve academic attainment of individuals and the well-being of communities.

Professor Jeffrey Sharkey said:

“Good music education is an essential part of a vibrant society. We need engaged teachers and we need recognition and support from parents, schools, local authorities and governments to ensure as many children as possible have access to it, as early as possible.

“Music education is not only a route to excellence and a conservatoire-style education, it is a proven jumpstart to improvement in attainment across the curriculum, as well as supporting the critical qualities of a good society such as open thinking, creativity, focus and collaboration, to name but a few.

“At a time when too many people feel they have no voice, that they are at the mercy of events and decision beyond their control, at the point where they might lose hope, as musicians and educators, we can give them a voice and we can give them hope. As music-makers we articulate what people often find too painful to say, we speak truth to power, we convene ideas and we create communities when forces have set them asunder. We capture joy, imprint memories and reveal hidden truths.”

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.

Also addressing delegates at the official opening ceremony in the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall was Fiona Hyslop the Scottish Government’s Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Tourism and External Affairs, Michael Elliot Chief Executive of ABRSM and Sheila Woodward, President of ISME

Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Tourism and External Affairs, Fiona Hyslop, said:

“Music, in all its forms, has always played a huge role in our culture and is the fabric of many Scottish communities.

“We are committed to widening access and participation in the arts to everyone in Scotland. In our schools, we know that music education provides significant benefits for young people by supporting learning and development, creating potential career paths, and as an outlet to express themselves. That is why earlier this year we pledged a further £10 million for the Youth Music Initiative which allows young people to take part in music in and outside of school.

“It is enormously fitting that for the first time it comes to Scotland, the World Conference of the International Society for Music Education is being hosted in Glasgow, the UK’s only UNESCO City of Music. This conference will showcase exceptional musical talent and offers valuable opportunities for us to share our different experiences and approaches to learn from each other.”

Sheila Woodward, ISME President, said:

“I can think of no finer city to host this ISME conference than Glasgow. I am thrilled that music educators from all over the world will be here to celebrate and share the very best in music education. ISME 2016 will create the platform for the future of music education by putting it centre stage and ready to inspire the next generation of musicians.”

Guest speakers and performers at the conference include three times Grammy nominated, two times Brit nominated, singer/songwriter Joan Armatrading; Percussionist Evelyn Glennie, who performs worldwide with the greatest conductors and orchestras and 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.

There will also be a number of performances including the screening of the iconic 1927 silent movie IT with live orchestra conducted by 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.

Delegates will also be treated to performances by Laurence Juber, the Palestinian Youth Orchestra and the National Youth Orchestra of Scotland.

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