A music collaboration project is successful at awards

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AN INNOVATIVE music collaboration project, led by a Scottish university, triumphs at the music awards in Scotland.

The St Andrews Music Participation (StAMP) project lead by the University of St Andrews was crowned winner of The Royal Conservatoire Scotland Award for Education/Community Project at the  Scottish Awards for New Music 2021.

The award celebrates projects that engage with the local community, bringing the opportunity to teach and engage with music.

StAMP Discovering Brass zoom lessons - Education News Scotland
Photo by University of St Andrews. StAMP is a music education project that aims to support the cultural heritage of brass playing in schools.

The project is a partnership between the University of St Andrews Laidlaw Music Centre, Fife Music Service, Fife Brass Bands and The Wallace Collection.

The project provides children with the opportunity to learn about the history of brass and to create new music that explores and reflects the world we live in today.

Historically connected to industry, Fife has a long and established tradition of brass playing with more than 130 bands in existence in the nineteenth century.

In 2020 the project evolved to adapt to the pandemic, delivering an online programme whilst maintaining its original aims to teach children to play brass music.

The project was developed to provide children with the opportunity to learn the trumpet at home using the Discovering Brass method, developed by members of The Wallace Collection.

trumpet lessons - Education News Scotland
Photo by the University of St Andrews. Though many of the pits, mines and factories have closed, the music continues to this day with eight active bands operating in the region.

Ellen Thomson, Head of Outreach, University of St Andrews Music Centre, said: “We are delighted by this award which recognises the importance of music in the local community.

“When the pandemic hit, we had to cancel several events for the local brass community and young people which was devastating.

“Like many others, we had to adapt to a life online and quickly decided to try something a bit different to create an opportunity for brass players of all ages and abilities from anywhere to come together, play music, and learn about brass instruments in an inspiring digital environment.

“The whole project turned out better than we could have expected and the feedback from all participants has been so positive.”

trumpet - Education News Scotland
Photo by HalGatewood.com on Unsplash. The StAMP Brass Camp was attended online by 231 participants from all over the world including Brazil, Russia, Germany, China, Ireland, and four different states of the USA.

In November 2020 the Discovering Brass participants joined in a virtual concert Stars and Satellites which included the creation of two new pieces by composer Andrews Knight-Hill.

Since the initial digital camp took place, StAMP has delivered online music learning opportunities through Discovering Brass, with more than 160 children taking part in online groups.

Half of these children have joined a local brass band youth section and are now learning on brass instruments.

Professor Jeffrey Sharkey, Principal of the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, said: “The Scottish Awards for New Music are a celebration of the innovative artists whose work is such a vital part of our cultural identity.

“Congratulations to this year’s nominees whose creativity, particularly throughout such a challenging period, has not only enriched lives but our nation’s musical landscape.”