The Music Workshop Company Blog 

Each month the Music Workshop Company publishes two blogs. One blog, written by the MWC team addresses a key issue in Music Education or gives information about a particular genre or period of music. The other blog is written by a guest writer, highlighting good practice or key events in Music Education. We hope you enjoy reading the blogs. 
 
We embed multimedia content in many of our blog posts, if you have rejected cookies for this website, you may have white spaces where the multimedia content should be. This is due to a recent change of policy by YouTube, Spotify and other platforms. We are in the process of updating all our posts. If you come across white spaces in a blog post, you can open the link in another browser or private browser and approve cookies to access all the content. We are sorry for any inconvenience this causes. 
 
To contribute as a guest writer please email Maria@music-workshop.co.uk 
ABBA is one of the most popular and best selling musical groups of all time. The four-piece first as a group between 1974 and 1982, and reunited in 2016. In 1974 they won the Eurovision Song Content with the song "Waterloo" which kick started their International Career. 
 
The song is recommended by the Model Music Curriculum. Our suggested activity links to preparing for performance based on ABBA's iconic stage presence. 
 
When the Watford Jazz Junction was founded in 2020, its festival put inclusion and mental wellbeing at its heart. (It’s one reason we at the Music Workshop Company didn’t hesitate when we were asked to be involved, and we’re delighted to be back this year delivering a special workshop for young people aged 4-12). 
 
Each year, Watford Jazz Junction works to ensure its events represent the various communities it serves, offering people of all backgrounds a way to connect and express themselves. With the organisers busy preparing a diverse programme for 2024, Chris Newstead, the festival’s Director and Founder, took time out to tell us more about the ethos behind the event. 
 
 
(Image: participants at the Music Workshop Company's 2023 workshop at Watford Jazz Junction.) 
 
This month our blog explores the life and work of George Gershwin. Famous as a songwriter with his brother, Ira, Gershwin mixed European Classical music traditions with Blues and Jazz to create a sound that is particularly linked to his birth city of New York. 
 
Despite a relatively short life, Gershwin's musical output was huge, including musicals, an opera, orchestral music and film scores. 
 
The Model Music Curriculum suggests listening to two of his most famous songs “I Got Rhythm” and “Summertime” as well as “Rhapsody in Blue”.  
 
This blog explores “Rhapsody in Blue” and suggests activities linked to creating arrangements. 
 
 
 
 
Image credit: Carl Van Vechten, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons 
A photograph of NYJO
Also known as the National Youth Jazz Orchestra, NYJO has grown over the years from a single jazz orchestra to an organisation with a range of activities focused on supporting and developing musicians. From programmes that focus on professional development for emerging artists, to its Learning programme for under 18s, NYJO works to make jazz and creative music-making accessible to everyone. 
 
In this month’s guest blog, Beth Ismay, NYJO’s Learning Programmes Manager and Kenyah Johnson, NYJO Assistant, lift the lid on their work developing a set of ‘Living Values’ to underpin their under 18s programme – co-created with the young people themselves. 
Dvořák's Symphony No 9 "From the New World" is one of his most famous works and it's slow movement "Largo" was inspiration for a song and a classic advert. As a Cor Anglais player, MWC's Artistic Director Maria Thomas has played the famous solo on many occasions and it remains one of her favourite works. 
 
The title "From the New World" highlight's Dvořák's contribution to the development of American Classical Music. 
 
The second movement of the Symphony is recommended listening for Year 3 upwards in the New Model Music Curriculum. 
 
For ideas for activities linked to the work click here
 
Image: By Unknown author - This file comes from Gallica Digital Library and is available under the digital ID btv1b8417521d, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=101281 
Photograph of Nicole Wilson holding a violin
This month Nicole Wilson, Artistic Director of Virtuoso International Music Academy, tells of the life-changing music courses she attended as a teen, and how she tries to recreate the experience for the next generation.  
 
Nicole, who is also violin professor at the Royal Academy of Music, London, a freelance leader and Chair of European String Teachers Association (UK) reflects on the value of the arts for young people. 
 
To learn more about the Virtuoso International Music Academy’s next course, visit https://www.virtuosointernationalmusicacademy.com/ 
 
Stay in touch with the Virtuoso International Music Academy on Social Media: 
 
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