Bristol Beacon Director appointed to Government panel to help shape the future of music education

Bristol Beacon’s director of creative learning and engagement, Phil Castang, has been appointed to a government panel of experts to help shape the future of music education so that all pupils have the opportunity to sing, be taught a musical instrument and make music with others.

The new expert advisory panel will help produce a new National Plan for Music Education (NPME) next year. The plan will be informed by the music education consultation report, which found that studying music can have a positive impact on young people’s wellbeing, confidence and communication skills.

The panel is made up of teachers, Music Education Hub leaders, music industry representatives and other music education experts, including representatives from the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain, UK Music, as well as Darren Henley, Chief Executive, Arts Council England (ACE).

Schools Minister Nick Gibb said:

“Having the opportunity to be taught and play musical instruments is enriching and fulfilling. I, like many others, wish I’d had a stronger music education and had more of an opportunity to play instruments in my time at school.

“That’s why we want all schools to have a rigorous and broad music curriculum, that inspires their pupils to love music, and the new panel will play a vital part in achieving that by informing the new National Plan for Music Education.

“Their wealth of experience will be hugely valuable to the future of music education, helping to inspire a new generation of musicians in this country.”

Mr Castang’s appointment comes a month after also being formally confirmed as the new chair of the Music Education Council (MEC).

Standing on a platform to place inclusivity at the heart of music education, he was voted chair elect by members who work across the music education sector before formal confirmation at the MEC’s AGM last week.

The chair role is held for two years and during his term, Phil has pledged to drive closer and more effective working between the music education sector and the music industry to provide more opportunities for young people.

Phil said: “I’m delighted to take up these important roles. It’s a challenging time, but we need to be united as a sector to make sure everyone in the UK can benefit from the creative and social benefits of engaging in and learning about music.

For children and young people, it is critical that the music education sector and music industry work together more effectively to provide opportunities for all young people, so they can traverse from education pathways to music industry pipelines. At the moment, this journey is broken and young people are losing out.”

The MEC is the gathering of the most diverse and knowledgeable voices in the UK, responsible for promoting the educational and social value of music and representing tens of thousands of music educators. It works extensively with Government Education departments to support policy development and also runs the Music, Health and Wellbeing Network.

Phil brings a wealth of experience to the role, having worked in music education for 25 years, with several roles including CEO of Newham Music Trust and cofounder of the International Guitar Foundation. At Bristol Beacon, Phil overseas the work of the music education hub – one of only two to be based in a major concert venue – which directly supports 30,000 young people in Bristol each year. He also oversees Bristol Beacon’s community engagement and industry development programmes.

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On Wednesday 23 September 2020 Colston Hall changed its name to Bristol Beacon.

Our new name is just the first step, it is about more than the sign above our door. Click below to find out more about how we’re changing, watch our name announcement, and discover how we want everyone to share in the joy of live music.

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