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Royal Birmingham Conservatoire to play key role to unlock talent

'Fair and Inclusive Classical Music' project aims to find a new stream of talent to enjoy an emerging career in classical music.

Birmingham
  The Royal Birmingham Conservatoire will play a leading role in the project.

Royal Birmingham Conservatoire, part of Birmingham City University, has been announced as a key partner in a national Arts Council England project aimed at unlocking musical talent in communities across England.

Fair and Inclusive

The 'Fair and Inclusive Classical Music' project will see it work alongside professional and community-based orchestras, partners in music education, broadcasters, record labels and schools to help widen access and develop pathways into classical music over the next decade.

The initiative was launched in response to new research within the 'Creating a More Inclusive Classical Music' report, which reveals that children and young people not exposed to Western classical music as part of daily life, or whose families did not have the means or opportunity to support commitment through lessons or study, are unlikely to join the classical music workforce.

Opportunities

The report highlights that location and availability of opportunities have an important influence on an individual's ability to progress within education and industry.

It also found people from lower socio-economic backgrounds struggle to get fair access to a full range of learning and employment opportunities.

The cost of lessons, of the instruments themselves, accessories such as sheet music, even the cost of travel to lessons and to other related activities and events can all be significant barriers from an early age.

Action plan

As part of the 'Fair and Inclusive Classical Music' project, Arts Council England has developed an action plan for the next three years, supported by DCMS, which includes:

1. Commissioning a major new research programme to understand the relationship between children's experience of classical music and their decision to learn a musical instrument

2. Working with orchestras, venues and promoters to ensure that there is fair and inclusive treatment for everyone working in classical music

3. Launching a long-term action research project, starting in the Midlands, to test initiatives aimed at supporting young people from all backgrounds looking to make a career in classical music and the wider music industry.

Track record

Richard Shrewsbury, Head of Learning and Participation at Royal Birmingham Conservatoire, welcomed the news, stating: "Royal Birmingham Conservatoire is delighted to be a key partner in this initiative.

Our own track record of engaging and enabling young people who would not otherwise get the chance to progress on their musical journeys reflects our existing commitment to widening access and inclusion.

"The Fair and Inclusive Classical Music for All project now provides an exciting opportunity to work collaboratively with our Midlands partners, as well as with expert colleagues across Birmingham City University, in a collective effort to increase the impact on young people across the regions and the potential to make a very real difference in music-making for all."

The report highlights that location and availability of opportunities have an important influence on an individual's ability to progress within education and industry4BR

Developing talent

Meanwhile, Darren Henley, Arts Council England Chief Executive, added: "We believe passionately in classical music and that it can and should appeal to more people. Where you are from and your background shouldn't be a barrier to your chances of developing your talents.

That belief is at the heart of our ten-year strategy Let's Create. We are already supporting projects that are delivering some fantastic work to improve access for all but there is a need for much more collaboration to make sure that no one misses out."

Royal Birmingham Conservatoire's Learning and Participation programme currently works regularly with over 2000 young people and their families across the UK, with many of the programmes focusing on equity and inclusivity in classical music.

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