As I am so new to the business of blogging, I thought it would make sense to make the final entry of the year a review of the 2008 year regarding my various activities. These are not in any specific order, but just as they arrive in my head through the Xmas haziness. Anyway – here goes.
The first important event of the year was to officially launch the Music Academy at the ATRiuM in Cardiff in partnership with Roland UK. This event took a great deal of planning, as in addition to the various VIPs that were present, Roland Founder Mr Ikutaro Kakehashi was awarded an honorary professorship for his contributions to music. During his key note speech it became apparent how humble he was – a lesson to us all! The academy is now 8 months old and is beginning to have an impact on music education in South Wales and beyond – more of this later.
As part of a number of widening participation events I have been organising, the Academy hosted a Battle of the Bands competition the day after the launch. This is to become an annual event, with the 2009 event already in the diary. We were lucky to have Both Roland UK and Rockschool sponsoring the event, so the winners of the competition received some outstanding prizes in addition to gaining a great deal of media coverage. Widening participation is something that is very close to my heart and I am currently in the process of setting up a Junior Music Academy that finances local school children to access the fantastic facilities and expertise we have at the ATRiuM via a Saturday Morning Summer school. The initiative has the support of Cardiff Council, Roland, Rockschool, First Campus, and Gates and will be implemented for the first time in April 2009. Will report more on this later.
I have recently become very interested in Knowledge Exchange/Transfer, and am currently completing a research project in partnership with Roland Uk which is examining how Glamorgan University can assist the organisation to better train both their own workforce via accredited training. This is primarily being implemented by designing a Foundation Degree for the music retail sector, and I am currently writing a journal article on the most appropriate way of going about this. My discussions with industry indicate this will potentially lead into consultancy work next year – so watch this space. Alternativelly, if you’re interested – please get in touch. On the subject of my research, I have lucky enough to have papers presented at the Sibelius Academy in Finland (on Electric Guitarists fusing Jazz with other music forms) Copenhagen University (On Frank Zappa), in addition to a number of visiting lectures/workshops on subjects ranging from on-line assessment to assessing popular music performance. For more details on this refer to my Academia edu homepage. My various activities have affected my publication output, but I have secured a chapter in a forthcoming book by Cambridge Scholars Press. This is related to my work on the impact of guitarists on the jazz canon – so again watch this space for more details.
I have worked as an external examiner for a number of years now, and am currently monitoring the undergraduate music awards at both Bath Spa University and Leeds University. This is always a great opportunity to both learn from colleagues and offer advice on the most appropriate ways of ensuring academic quality is maintained within our university buildings.
One of the most interesting aspects of my job is related to working with colleges in both Wales and England on developing franchised HE qualifications. Having been involved in HE for a number of years now, it is gratifying to have the opportunity to share my experience in order to develop pedagogical developments outside of my own institution. Again – more on this as some of the projects develop in 09.
In addition to all of this, I have actually managed to do several gigs in Cardiff and the Brecon Jazz festival, although I must admit it is becoming increasingly difficult to maintain a standard I am happy with on guitar. It is hard to believe that someone who was an obsessional practicer in his teens and 20’s can devote so little time to the guitar. I suppose this is part of growing older and developing in other areas.
The early part of next is already filling up. In addition to the research activities outlined above, I have recently been awarded some money by the Beacons Public Engagement Fund (Via HEFCE and HEFCW) to conduct research in selected schools in SE Wales. The main focus is to examine various ways we can work together and how both teachers and pupils can influence the research being conducted at The Music Academy. As this project actually involves some of my own students – I am particularly looking forward to it. I was also heavily involved with the SWN festival in Cardiff last year, basically hosting the conferences at ATRiuM. This event was a real success and we are already planning next years event. As stated in a previous post, I will be uploading podcasts of all the music related panels over the next month or so. It was also fantastic to have the opportunity to work with the Welsh Music Foundation, and an academic conference is on the agenda for the early part of next year. This will be music industry related, so I will keep everyone posted on developments.
Anyway, I have reached my half hour time limit to document this post, so can I wish everyone a great new year. If I have missed anything, I will amend at some point.