A hub of music

28th September 2012 at 13:45
Carolyn Baxendale, head of Bolton Music Service, explains how the new Greater Manchester Music Hub is giving children access to high quality music education

The Greater Manchester Music Hub is up and running. Nine local Music Services, nine regional music organisations and three national partners are now working together to ensure that all children across Greater Manchester have access to a high quality music education which both inspires their engagement and supports their sustained musical progress. The LA areas covered by the Hub are Bolton, Bury, Oldham, Rochdale, Salford, Stockport, Tameside, Trafford and Wigan. Bolton Music Service is the lead organisation.

New opportunities, such as teaching in schools across LA boundaries, sharing specialist teachers, sharing musical instrument stock, regular working with professional musicians on specific projects and on planning for progression overall, are being uncovered on a daily basis and we are all very excited about moving these forward. In many cases this climate of `new possibilities' has given our workforce a new sense of direction. There is a sense that what we do now, and how well we do it, really matters in the longer term and this is great for motivation.

A large Hub has its challenges. Securing agreements across LAs has been mentioned many times by colleagues across the country but actually, in the case of the GM Music Hub, this was not difficult to secure.

AGMA (Association of Greater Manchester Authorities) is well established and already has a good track record in joint working across LAs. This, together with a longhistory of Music Services working in partnership with the Halle, the BBC Philharmonic, the RNCM, Manchester Metropolitan University, Salford University, Brighter Sound, Music Unlimited, Charanga, Sing for Pleasure, Manchester Camerata and Chethams School of Music, to name a few, has definitely put us in a position of being `hub ready'.

Good communication and making sure that everyone stays connected are absolutely paramount and this is clearly about much more than regular emails and up-dates. The success of Music Hubs will depend on the quality of the relationships between people in different organisations and on whether these people can successfully align their personal and corporate goals.

The `Importance of Music' is central to everything we do. Schools are offered whole class instrumental and vocal programmes, small group and individual tuition, school-based and area-based ensembles, instrumental hire schemes, CPD and a wide range of performance events. In fact, the scope for bringing groups of children together for special projects has massively increased. The Delius Gospel project is taking place at Chethams on Friday 12 October, the GM Music Hub Brass Day is on 14 October at MediaCityUK and the Hub Launch event is on 19 November at MediaCityUK and will involve contributions from across the region.

Look out for reviews of these and other events in the GM Music Hub December blog.

Carolyn Baxendale is head of Bolton Music Service, the lead organisation in the GM Music Hub

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