Saturday, October 31, 2015

Inspiring children through music

Apollo Music Projects is in the eleventh year of its music education programme in primary and special schools, having so far reached over 5400 children in 35 primary, secondary and special schools and over 20,000 children in assemblies and schools concerts. AMP brings live classical music to children, taking them on a journey from a first experience of live performance in the classroom to the thrilling spectacle of a full orchestra in concert. This program was featured in an episode of BBC2′s Artsnight last March, presented by Armando Iannucci. The episode explored “high culture” art forms, including classical music – asking why some people feel excluded from it, and why classical music matters so much.

Apollo Music Projects on BBC Artsnight with Armando Iannucci from David Chernaik on Vimeo.

Kids Interview Film from David Chernaik on Vimeo.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Music for Equality

Musequality’s mission was to support communal music-making for disadvantaged boys and girls in developing countries, giving them the skills, confidence and experience they need to turn their lives around. Unfortunately Musequality has ceased its operation starting the end of January 2015. However, their websites (Musequality + Musequality World Busk) remain up so that visitors can see how music projects can change young lives, and among other take inspiration from the many imaginative busks and fundraising events held by Musequality supporters.
David Juritz is a world renowned violinish, who, in 2007, busked around the world to raise funds and awareness for the charity Musequality. Hie is a member of the 'Quartet of Peace', and his recording of Vivaldi's Four Seasons is widely recognised as among the best of its kind.

Thursday, October 29, 2015


Today we feel like focusing on this...
UNITY is a new documentary from the writer and director of EARTHLINGS, and features an unprecedented cast of 100 celebrity narrators. Seven years in the making, UNITY explores humanity’s hopeful transformation from living by killing into living by loving. It is a unique film about compassion for all beings, or all “expressions of life,” and going beyond all “separation based on form,” and beyond perceiving opposites.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Music Education Hubs

"Music unlocks creativity. It develops children's social skills and their self-confidence"
- Carolyn Baxendale, Head of Bolton Music Service and the GM Music Hub
Arts Council England think that all children and young people across England should have access to the highest quality music education. Their network of 123 Music Education Hubs are working hard to achieve this aim - in partnership with schools and further education institutions, they run all kinds of projects to inspire young people through music. The film below records just a few of these projects, as well as the effect on the young people who take part.
Music hubs were set up in 2012 as part of the National Plan for Music Education. In their first year the hubs gave nearly half a million children the opportunity to learn an instrument for the first time as well as working with almost 15,000 school choirs, orchestras and bands.
-- Read "Hug a hub: music education heralds a new era of partnership"on the Guardian
-- Read "Good news for music education... but the fight must go on"on the Guardian
-- Read "Don’t stop the music – children need a proper arts education" on the Guardian

Tuesday, October 27, 2015


"I’ve performed on a thousand stages and shared dressing rooms and curtain calls with legendary ensembles and superstars alike. But nowhere have I received the kind of grace and elation I did onstage with the actors, dancers, and musicians of LIVE ART" - Jason Mraz
LIVE ART is a groundbreaking, inclusive arts education program for students of all abilities. Having witnessed the powerful benefits of performing arts education in both typically developing students and students with special needs, SPARC allows students of ALL abilities to have performance training that is designed to build performing arts skills, deepen the ability to connect with peers and strengthen the personal foundation of each individual and unique child – just as they are – all at the same time. Students participate in a series of cross-pollinated arts classes that include training in dance, singing, visual art, American Sign Language, mime work, playing musical instruments, visual technologies, spoken word and more. The culminating event of the program is a life-changing performance in one of Richmond’s largest and most prominent theaters, the Altria Theater. During this performance, world-renowned musicians join the students in a major music concert during which the students perform acts of live art. All students participate in LIVE ART tuition-free, thanks to major project funding by the Stanley and Kim Markel Memorial Fund of the Community Foundation Serving Richmond and Central Virginia. LIVE ART has also been supported by the Jason Mraz Foundation -- THIS IS TRULY WONDERFUL, PLEASE WATCH.
-- Watch the LIVE ART story
-- Watch Jason Mraz + SPARC Students: "Winter Wonderland"

Monday, October 26, 2015

Creating Your Own Path

What is education for? Mozilla Foundation's Mark Surman shares his perspective and why they are using Open Badges to re-imagine learning. This is a new online standard to recognize and verify learning. A digital badge is an online representation of a skill you’ve earned. Open Badges take that concept one step further, and allows you to verify your skills, interests and achievements through credible organizations. You can display your badges wherever you want them on the web, and share them for employment, education or lifelong learning.
-- Watch TEDxKids@Brussels - Mark Surman - Hackasaurus
-- Watch Digital literacy: an interview with Mark Surman
-- Watch 'The Web is the 4th Literacy' - WISE 2013 Focus

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Fostering Youth Innovation

"What is education for?" That's the central question Ashoka Canada is posing to education innovators in Canada for this The Globe and Mail's series. In the video below they invite Sheldon Levy, President of Ryerson University, to share his perspective on the role of education in fostering innovators. Interesting.
-- explore the Digital Media Zone

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Exploring Possibilities

Ashoka Fellow Gabriel Bran Lopez argues for a model of learning that is primarily about personal discovery. It's the basis for his organization, Youth Fusion, which recruits university students to help high school students explore possibilities of who they can become.
Youth Fusion is an award-winning charity that lowers school dropout rates by creating continuous ties between the school system and the community, in order to involve at-risk youth in innovative and meaningful educational projects that contribute to their learning, their qualifications, and their social integration.


Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Engaging Students in Learning

What is education for? In this section of the Globe and Mail series, Quest University's David Helfand argues for a radical re-thinking of university education and explains why the current approach of knowledge transfer is no longer good enough.
David Helfand joined Quest University Canada in 2005 as an advisor to the University. He was a visiting tutor during the University's inaugural semester in the Fall of 2007 and, in September 2008, was appointed President and Vice-Chancellor. He has spent 38 years as a Professor of Astronomy at Columbia University where he served as Department Chair and co-Director of the Astrophysics Laboratory for more than half that time.

Monday, October 19, 2015


Art Walk Bermuda is an annual festival celebrating the unique expression of Bermudian Artists, taking place in the Olde Towne of St. Georges. Join the Masquerade and support the Arts on October 25, 2015 \ St. George's \ 2 - 8.30pm --- FREE EVENT
-- Read "Music and puppets among highlights of Art Walk" on the Royal Gazette
-- Watch more on the Carnival of Light (LDS Multimedia)
-- Read "Chewstick project puts a spring in your step" on the Royal Gazette

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Do Schools Ignore Talents?

“Human communities depend upon a diversity of talent not a singular conception of ability”
Learning World producer, Aurora Vélez, met Sir Ken Robinson, one of today's most prominent voices in the world of education, in Paris to talk about talent, innovation and educational challenges as part of Learning World on "XXI Century Education"

Friday, October 16, 2015

Teaching the Life of Music

Teaching the Life of Music is the story of El Sistema, a Venezuelan program which has helped thousands of children in underprivileged areas of Venezuela to acquire instruments, receive music training and experience the joy of playing and singing with others in orchestras and choirs. The program was founded in 1977 by Dr José Antonio Abreu. Today El Sistema involves over 400,000 children and young people and it has inspired programs all over the world. The film documents El Sistema’s ability to transform poverty and violence into healthy living through the passion and discipline inherit in music education. Ottawa’s OrKidstramusic initiative is the oldest of such programs outside of South America.
-- Visit "Teaching the Life of Music" website

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Passion with a Purpose

Vijay Gupta joined the Los Angeles Philharmonic in 2007 at the age of 19, after completing a Master’s degree in Music from Yale University, and a Bachelor’s in biology from Marist College. Gupta is a passionate and dedicated advocate for the presence of music in ostracized communities. He founded and serves as Artistic Director for Street Symphony, a non-profit organization dedicated to bringing free, live music to men, women and youth living in homelessness and incarceration.
In the TED talk below Gupta talks about his experience playing for audiences in the most unlikely of places and how he has encountered remarkable experiences of people being healed by music. The project demonstrates that people still have the capacity to experience something beautiful and that beauty and spark exists within them.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Liberal Arts: A Universal Education Model

"The arts bring kids together across lines of class, race, and religion in an atmosphere of mutual reliance and trust, and in this way do more than the typical academic classroom to break down social barriers. They also promote a sense of discipline and accountability to others. And they show kids from a minority culture that all world cultures are open to them"
The interview featured below with Prof. Martha Nussbaum from the University of Chicago Law School takes a look at the essential elements of education for the 21st century. It examines how capabilities relate to a country's development and the importance of educating people in order to help them become active responsible citizens. Martha Craven Nussbaum is an American philosopher and the current Ernst Freund Distinguished Service Professor of Law and Ethics at the University of Chicago, a chair that includes appointments in the philosophy department and the law school.
-- Read "Not for Profit: Six Questions for Martha Nussbaum" on Harper's Magazine

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Making the Case for the Arts

CapeUK is an independent not-for-profit organisation committed to improving the lives of children and young people – preparing them to face the future with creativity and self-belief. Their team works with schools, youth and community organisations, universities, the cultural and creative sector and other agencies which share our aims. Pupils and teachers from three South Yorkshire schools have helped CapeUK “make the case for the arts” in education, thanks to three short films. Barnsley’s Barugh Green Primary and Sheffield’s High Storrs secondary and St Marie’s Academy have worked with filmmaker Jon Harrison to make films which show how using arts, culture and creativity has helped develop the young people’s skills and meet school priorities across the curriculum.

Ideas from Australia

The Song Room is a national not-for-profit organisation that brightens the futures of Australia’s most disadvantaged children with tailored, high-quality music and arts programs, delivered in partnership with schools across the country. Its vision is that all Australian children have the opportunity to participate in music and the arts to enhance their education, personal development and community involvement, giving them the best possible start in life. The Song Room's aim is to bridge the education equity gap for all Australian children by facilitating learning through the arts, starting with our most vulnerable groups and reaching all communities that lack specialist music and arts education. They want every child to benefit from long-term school music and arts programs.
The Song Room has worked in partnership with leading arts organisations and arts education specialists to produce ARTS:LIVE, an engaging, interactive teaching and learning platform for the arts curriculum.
-- Watch "The role of creativity in learning and development" (WISE 2014)
-- Watch "Australia: The Song Room improves academic performance" (Learning World)

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Why is Drawing Important?

Campaign video for The Campaign for Drawing. A national arts education charity which champions the importance of drawing. Drawing is a fundamental tool for thought, creativity, social and cultural engagement. From the people behind The World's Biggest Drawing Festival - The Big Draw.

Friday, October 09, 2015

Don't Stop the Music

"If you get an instrument into the hands of a kid who wants to learn it, and you provide a place and the means for them to learn it, you will see an undeniable impact in every other area of their life."
In 2011, the UK government had declared in the National Plan for Music Education that "children from all backgrounds and every part of England should have the opportunity to learn a musical instrument". But on the ground, James discovered a different picture. He found teachers with tiny music budgets - or none at all. Schools where music education was only for those who could afford it. Children struggling to get their hands on a proper instrument to learn. James wanted to show the power of music to transform children's lives.
Don't Stop The Music is concert pianist James Rhodes' heartfelt campaign to improve music education in primary schools across the UK. Unused instruments donated by the public (from their attics and cupboards) were given a new lease of life and distributed to schools nationwide that really need them. A two-part TV series, featuring James’s efforts, produced by Fresh One Productions Limited, was aired on Channel 4...READ FULL STORY
-- Read "Don’t stop the music – children need a proper arts education" on the Guardian
-- Read "Forget the mad genius composer myth: music is good for the mind" on the Guardian
-- Go to "Don't Stop the Music" documentary

Thursday, October 08, 2015

Why We Teach Art In Schools

Campaign for Drawing and NSEAD patron Bob and Roberta Smith RA on why all schools should be art schools. Art is a fundamental tool for expression and empowerment. Everything that is made has been designed and constructed by creative people. Bob points out that the camera, the building and even the 'lunatic' that made his shirt, were all created by drawing, designing and making art.
-- Watch Bob's TED talk "Art gives a voice to the voiceless"
-- Read Bob's interview on the Guardian
-- Read "Put arts at the heart of Britain" on the Guardian

Monday, October 05, 2015

More on mindfulness

The video below features youth and young adults discussing their experiences practicing mindfulness, and how mindfulness has benefited different aspects of their lives. It also features youth practicing mindfulness, and includes insights from a health professional and mindfulness teacher.

Healthy Habits of Mind shows how kindergarteners at Oxford Elementary School in Berkeley, California are introduced to mindfulness during their school day. The students are taught mindful listening, mindful eating, mindful movement, and yoga by their classroom teacher. The film peeks into this course, taught by Mindful Schools Program Directors Megan Cowan and Chris McKenna. The movie also features leading neuroscientist Dr. Richard Davidson explaining how mindfulness affects brain function, and Megan explaining how mindfulness helps in schools. Mindful Schools offers courses for educators, psychologists, and parents to learn mindfulness and use it with children and adolescents. Learn more at

Room to Breathe is the first mainstream documentary about bringing mindfulness into education. It is an authentic representation of what it’s like to teach mindfulness in a truly challenging environment. By providing a raw and realistic look at the process, it shows how even the most difficult classrooms can be turned around with patience, teaching skill, and partnership with school staff.

Sunday, October 04, 2015

Everything I need to know, I learned in school music class

“Music education demonstrably improves academic achievement, behaviour and attitude. Through music, kids learn how to have constructive relationships with other people, how focus counts, how application produces results, how to dream and most of all, how to feel true joy.”— Canadian record producer Bob Ezrin, who worked with Pink Floyd, Alice Cooper and Kiss
As the Toronto School Board votes on major cuts to music education, the Toronto Star reconnects three successful musicians to their instructors to talk about music's impact...
-- Read article on the Star

Life and Music

“Life is like music for its own sake. We are living in an eternal now, and when we listen to music we are not listening to the past, we are not listening to the future, we are listening to an expanded present.”
Alan Wilson Watts (1915 – 1973) was a British-born American philosopher, writer, and speaker, best known as an interpreter and populariser of Eastern philosophy for a Western audience.

Friday, October 02, 2015

Social and emotional learning

The Hawn's foundation mission is to help young minds by nurturing resilience, hope, and optimism. The foundation's goal is to transforms children’s lives by providing vital social and emotional learning programs to reduce stress and aggressive behavior, improve focus and academic performance and increase resiliency for success in school and in life.
MindUP™ is a research-based training program for educators and children based in neuroscience, mindfulness and positive psychology.  This program promotes optimism and happiness in the classroom, helps eliminate bullying and aggression, increases empathy and compassion, while resolving peer conflicts in schools.
-- Watch the The MindUp Program
-- Watch "Neuroscience + Mindful Awareness Training = Thriving Children with Goldie Hawn"

Thursday, October 01, 2015

The Healing Power of Art #2

This first video by UNICEF highlights the role of art in the healing process for children affected by war and displacement. In Azraq refugee camp, Jordan, children paint a mural to express their feelings and emotions. There are more than 300,000 Syrian children in need of psychosocial support in Jordan.

Hamed comes from Homs, Syria. He is 17-years old and now lives in Mafraq, northern Jordan. Hamed hasn't been to school for 5-years, since the war started in Syria. He attends a UNICEF and IMC run youth center where Hamed has been active in the drama classes performing plays that highlight issues in the community. Providing alternative learning, life skills and psychosocial support for young people affected by war and displacement is critical.

"I didn't choose my name. Or the colour of my eyes, or the way I look," sing Syrian and Jordanian children at a 'Child and Family Protective Place' in Irbid, northern Jordan. It's their morning music session with Firas from Dera'a, Syria. Since fleeing the war in his home country 3-years ago, Firas has been providing an outlet for vulnerable children to express themselves through music. This is their story.