BLOG POST: A few words from the CEO

BLOG POST: A few words from the CEO

Welcome to the first in a series of blogs designed to give you the inside track on what’s happening at SWMS. This will be written alternately by members of the SWMS core team including myself, Lucy Hather, Tracy Hill and Elfyn Jones.

We will be covering all kinds of subjects, from events, courses, student opportunities as well as signposting student successes and achievements and general musings about the world of UK music education in general.

We have almost completed one whole year with the current management team and we have begun the 2015-16 academic year with some great events. Foremost amongst these have been our autumn residential courses for the Core and Composer students at Bicton College.

The Composer residential featured a dozen new compositions played by combinations of the composers under the watchful eye of conductor Peadar Townsend. This was followed by a great instrumental residential on the subject of ‘Interplay’. The students spent three days rehearsing in their instrument families, producing more than an hour’s worth of excellent music in the final concert.

Many thanks to Peadar Townsend, Tom Kemp, Helen Porter, Stuart Ryan and James Hester and particularly Ed Leaker for stepping into the breach at the last minute. Many thanks too to Elfyn Jones for managing and overseeing the artistic direction of the residentials so positively.

The Feeder and Induction students have been equally busy with two interplay workshops at their new permanent home, Wellington School in Somerset. With a greater emphasis on structure and progression and now staffed by five tutors, the students gave two rousing performance sets, the second one based on themes from the second movement of Sibelius’ Fifth Symphony. Great thanks are due to Feeder/Induction leaders, Matt Harrison and Dean Brodrick, and their co-leaders: Kate Graham, Mary Keith and Andy Moore. From the feedback we have received, the students are really loving it.

Coming up in January 2016 are a number of genre and instrument-specific events, including the re-arranged Rock and Pop day (January 17th), featuring drum legend Jason Bowld, and a string weekend to be held at Pixie’s Holt on the fringes of Dartmoor on January 30th-31st. Our very own Tim Boulton will be co-leading this with Paul Harris. Other similar events and masterclasses are in the pipeline awaiting confirmation. Many thanks to Elfyn, Tracy and Lucy for making this possible.

We continue to celebrate the successes and achievements of our students, such as Zola Bridgey and Blossom Caldarone who were successful in applying to The BRIT school in Croydon; similarly both Gregory Steward and Katey Rylands gained MDS scholarships to Wells Cathedral School. We wish them every success, along with all our other leavers who went on to secure places at universities or conservatoires or who are beginning a career in the music industry.

We wish equal success to those of our students who are embarking on the round of conservatoire auditions and interviews. There have already been some successes here registered by the Composer students: Josh Hathaway has had acceptances from Trinity and the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama and is waiting for his Royal College of Music audition result, whilst former student Ben Wilkinson has secured an unconditional place, also at the Royal Welsh College. Please keep the office updated with student achievements and we will feature them on the new website.

Finally, I would like to pay tribute to the core team, Lucy, Tracy and Elfyn, who have worked very hard in 2015 to make SWMS such an exciting place to work. I wish you all a very merry Christmas and a happy New Year!

Dr Simon Pitt