Jules is a composer and music producer based just outside the city of Bath. He runs 4 Part Music which provides location recordings for musicians throughout the UK. Recordings 4 Schools is a specialist division of 4 Part Music that provides professional location recordings to schools and academies nationwide.
Using his musical background and composition skills, Jules is able to add a full orchestral accompaniment to school choir CDs, which were originally recorded with just a piano.
We often hear how music is not regarded as a core academic subject and as such will never be attributed as much importance as, for example, Maths and English.
Despite being a music graduate myself, and subsequently a professional musician, I also agree that core subjects should certainly be given more priority in schools.
So given that background, which is unlikely to change, I believe it’s important to find other ways to promote music in schools and ensure that everyone at least gets a chance to make music with their fellow pupils. At this point it’s important to differentiate between music as a purely academic subject (such as at A-Level) and music making in groups; for example, school choirs, orchestras or bands.
How many times does someone ask a question and the answer is usually: "Oh just google it”? I’m not knocking this method of discovering things. Google, and all the other search engines out there are a very useful way of finding information. My question today is: what do we do with that information once we have found it? How often have we searched online for things, which really we should know anyway?
One of the many things I get involved with outside of my working life is running a ladies choir in Pewsey. It’s only been going a year or so and is a non-auditioned choir for ladies of all ages. For a while now, one of the things I have been banging on about is learning all the songs so they can be sung from memory. This was brought to a head recently when there was much debate about what should be put on the front cover of the folders that are used in concerts. My view, which apparently wasn’t considered as one of the options, was to abandon the folders altogether and just sing everything from memory.
It is apparent that over the last few years more and more schools are investing in technology to enhance their music department. Back in my day as a student we were lucky to have an electronic keyboard and pair of headphones in order to try and cobble together a GCSE music composition. Nowadays, a lot of school music departments will have a plethora of keyboards all connected up to computers most likely running Cubase, Logic Pro or something similar.
As a result some might argue that creating music has become more about how skillful you are using computers than to do with any ability to play a musical instrument. You could of course respond to such an accusation with the question, does that matter? Music is an expression made by the composer. Yes, perhaps 100 or more years ago, music was very structured and only the style of the day was acceptable. I would be shot down in flames for saying that Mozart sounds like Haydn, and Bach is just a clever version of Vivaldi. But nevertheless, up until the latter half of the 19th century, each preceding period had its own relatively unique musical style and form. Charles Rosen’s book, “The Classical Style”, is clearly evidence of this relating to the 18th century styles of Mozart, Haydn and Beethoven.