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June 25

Blackheath High Music Departments receive boost from Music Teacher magazine

When sitting down with a pen and paper, it can be easy to name male classical composers. If you were to take a survey, the majority of your friends will be able to name Mozart, perhaps Bach, maybe a Beethoven. Getting competitive with each other could feature a Stravinsky or Debussy. 

But what about the women? This has been an important topic recently in our Junior School Music department with Ruth Coles setting up an inspirational project with the Berkley Ensemble. 

You can read about it all in Music Teacher magazine here

And it doesn't stop there! Not only was our Head of Junior Music mentioned, but our Head of Music Emily Gunton also gave an interview with the world's premier solo percussionist, Dame Evelyn Glennie. 

They spoke about her spectacular career and the importance of nurturing arts in schools. A fascinating read from a fascinating person. Below is what Emily had to say about the experience and you can read the article here.


When Music Teacher magazine contacted me asking if I’d be interested in interviewing Dame Evelyn Glennie for their July issue, I didn’t have to think twice about saying yes.  For those of you who don’t know who Evelyn Glennie is, she is the world’s first person to have a career as a solo percussionist. She is also profoundly deaf and a woman, sadly something of a rarity in the percussion world.

Having started playing percussion at the age of 11, I was taught by a Sergeant Major from the Royal Signals Band. He set me on a path that would lead me on an incredible journey, but at the root of it all was Evelyn Glennie.

Evelyn truly inspired me, and from the moment I saw her play for the first time, I wanted to be a professional musician.  As I logged into Zoom for our interview, I realised that she is still an inspiration 27 years after I picked up my first pair of sticks.

Alongside a busy concert schedule in non-Covid times, she is President of Help Musicians, Ambassador for Sistema Scotland and has recently become Chancellor of Robert Gordon University. Evelyn Glennie has spent her whole life breaking down barriers and fighting for music education. In the early 2000s, she joined forces with Julian Lloyd Webber, Sir James Galway and Michael and formed the Music Education Consortium. After persistent lobbying, the government pledged no less than £332m for music education in state schools. 

In recent weeks the government has set out plans for the UK to become a ‘science superpower’, but in the words of Evelyn Glennie: "The arts are so important to society, the economy, wellbeing, communication and communities. Music can bring together all these elements.

I came away from our 90-minute chat as inspired as I was when I saw her perform for the first time. Her energy, drive and determination are still ever-present, and the profoundly deaf daughter of a farmer proves that you can achieve anything if you put your mind to it.


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