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In January 2010 the first cohort of professional musicians from Manchester Camerata, Northern Chamber Orchestra and Lancashire Sinfonietta began their year-long journey on the “North West Chamber Orchestras’ Training Programme” in collaboration with Manchester Metropolitan University.  The course was designed for musicians who work for the learning and outreach departments of the orchestras.  The pilot year has now sadly come to an end but has been met with great positivity from all involved, including an external evaluator who rigorously assessed the course. 

Complementing course tutor Barry Russell in the delivery of the course were visiting lecturers, each extremely experienced in their own field.  These included Nancy Evans, Damien Harron, Tony Harris, Andrew Clarke, David Ashworth and Kate Pearson and covered subjects such as World Music, IT, VJing, animation, live improvisation and vocal improvisation.  In fact the course was of such interest to the Classical Music Community that it was featured in an extensive article in the September 2010 edition of Classical Music Magazine.

The objectives of the course were -

  • For students to develop a pedagogy that fuses an understanding of educational theories and techniques with practical teaching skills linked to the key concept of a teacher/performer identity
  • To involve experienced practitioners from music and other art forms in the leading of training
  • To equip musicians from a range of orchestral partners with a broad range of educational, commercial and entrepreneurial skills to enhance their work in a range of settings, especially the emerging educational market

The musicians were very enthusiastic about their experience during this pilot year. One student commented:

“Before taking part in this course I had had no education work experience and would have been totally unprepared if I had been asked by an orchestra to do a project. Now I am aware of how children learn, what makes a good, inspiring project, how to effectively plan and deliver a project, and creative ways to evaluate. Barry's tutoring has been fantastic and this has been combined with some brilliant visiting lectures. The breadth of the course was great.”

The course is now fully accredited as a PG Cert in Professional Studies at MMU and we look forward to continuing the work we have begun together in the future.  We are very grateful to Arts Council England for supporting the musicians on the course.

Arts Council England






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