Wednesday, October 01, 2014

UK: Music to their ears! Primary pupils to study ten classical pieces by composers including Beethoven and Handel to counter fears they are missing out on the arts

Ten pieces of classical music have been chosen for all primary school children to study, under a new initiative.

The BBC has unveiled the works, which include those by Beethoven, Stravinsky and Handel, so more pupils will experience classical music.

The project, called Ten Pieces, is being launched through a film that will then be used in lessons.

A total of 150 arts organisations have signed up to the scheme and will go into schools to help run inter-active workshops about the pieces.

Members of BBC orchestras will also visit classes along with special screenings and school concerts being held, in a programme that is due to launch this week.

It comes amid fears that children are not being taught about classical music in preference to other subjects in the curriculum.

Violinist Nicola Benedetti has been made an ambassador along with singer-songwriter Laura Mvula and Catatonia singer Cerys Matthews.

Miss Benedetti, 27, yesterday told Radio 4: ‘There are few programmes, I can’t think of any in fact, that have such an intense dual focus, absolute quality in its presentation and no compromise in terms of the amount of children the programme wishes to reach.’

She has previously said: ‘Two aspects of the project stand out for me. The first is the sheer size. With over 150 organisations involved and the power of the BBC, the number of children likely to experience classical music could be enormous, and I hope will be.

‘The second is the quality with which classical music will be presented to the children, many of them probably for the very first time - first exposure can be vitally important, igniting a positive lifelong association with this great art form.

‘This experience, I am quite sure, will be exciting and enriching for all children, but above all is highly educational and substantive. This is something you cannot miss.’

BBC director general Tony Hall, who was previously chief executive of the Royal Opera House, said he hoped the scheme would reach virtually every UK primary school.

‘We want to excite and inspire children about the world of classic music,’ he said.


    John Adams: Short Ride in a Fast Machine
    Beethoven: Symphony No. 5 (1st movement)
    Britten: “Storm” Interlude from Peter Grimes
    Grieg: In the Hall of the Mountain King from Peer Gynt
    Handel: Zadok the Priest
    Holst: Mars from The Planets
    Anna Meredith: Connect It
    Mozart: Horn Concerto No. 4 (3rd movement)
    Mussorgsky: A Night on the Bare Mountain
    Stravinsky: The Firebird suite (1911) (Finale)

Lord Hall added that, while classical music was ‘in good health’, its future popularity was not guaranteed ‘unless children are given the opportunity to learn and experience’ it.

Cellist Julian Lloyd Webber said about the project: ‘The problem is that it’s patchy across the country. If you have a head teacher who believes in classical music then you’ll get a lot of that in the school. But if you have one that doesn’t it’s quite easy for them to sideline it altogether.

‘So this is perhaps a great tool for those kind of heads because it’s given to them and when they see the impact it has on the child that could help enormously.’

A BBC spokesman said: ‘Classical music is great for children. Not only is it good for their creativity, it can help with other subjects like maths, and even have a positive impact on behaviour.

‘While millions of people already enjoy classical music, it’s right that we light the classical music spark as early as possible.

‘The BBC is uniquely placed to help do this and we are delighted so many organisations have signed up to help us deliver the ambition of reaching virtually every child in the country.’


Is this Britain's worst school? Inside the classroom where children spit, swear and even attempt to physically attack their teachers

One unusual and extraordinary school is giving hope to the most troubled and violent pupils.

The Ian Mikardo High School is a last chance education centre for children excluded from mainstream education. It's a place where daily fights, spitting, and cursing are all part of the attempts to teach some of the most challenging children in the country, and turn their behaviour around before it is too late.

The school, situated in East London, is often seen as the end of the line for the pupils, many of whom have a range of behavioural problems and risk ending up in jail.

Boys can arrive at any time during their secondary education, usually after being expelled from a mainstream school.

Now the subject of a Channel 5 documentary 'Too tough to teach', viewers are able to see the fraught atmosphere in which classes are taught.

Play fights escalate within seconds, turning to real violence as the boys throw punches and teachers attempt to intervene.

One incident sees a teacher attempting to talk a boy through his work as another verbally abuses him, swearing and spitting on his head.

In another lesson a pupil physically hits sheets of paper out of the teachers hand, swearing in her face while another boy lifts a chair above his head in a menacing manner, while the rest of the class run riot as the staff desperately attempt to regain order and focus the boys on their work.

There are no detentions or rewards and the boys are never physically restrained. Instead the school attempts to help the boys learn to control their own actions and focuses on conflict resolution.

Claire explains: 'If we intervene and if we restrain they are reliant on us for literally holding them back, but what we are trying to do is for them to find their own breaks.'

As well as attempting to change his behaviours through teaching the boys how to handle their emotions more appropriately, the school uses more unconventional methods.

In addition to art and design classes, it has a full salon within the building, where as well as learning hair cutting skills, boys can enjoy full facials and manicures.


Harvard Gives Student Full Ride After He Tells Them He's Illegal Immigrant

When Dario Guerrero, an illegal immigrant who found out about his status in high school, told Harvard that he was in the country illegally, the school encouraged him to apply--and gave him a full scholarship after he was accepted.

Writing in the Washington Post, Guerrero, who is currently a junior at the university, said after an MIT official recommended that he not apply to the school during a trip to visit college, he "left the office in a daze" because MIT had been his dream school. He started walking down Massachusetts Avenue" and, "without really planning it, I found myself in the middle of Harvard." A Harvard admissions officer told him, "If you are admitted to Harvard College, we will meet your full financial need without regard to your legal status."

He eventually got in, and "they gave me a full ride. This meant I wouldn't have to worry about student loans or quarterly tuition payments; that I always had a place to stay away from home; that I could travel every semester, on Harvard's dime, back to California; that my parents would never have to worry whether I'd finish school. Those are luxuries few people, documented or not, ever have."

"I used to think that being undocumented was a disadvantage to me. I used to mourn the fact that I was different," the current junior wrote. "But ultimately I realize that it was because of, not in spite of, my identity - as an undocumented Chicano - that I was been able to do what I did. Being something different in the socioeconomic fabric of the United States gave me the perspective I have."


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