This is an exciting week for arts education around the world, with the first ever International Arts Education Week by UNESCO – and the launch of Children & the Arts’ MusicQuest.
Running from 21-27 May, and taking place at the end May every year from now on, the event is all about promoting the importance of arts education. UNESCO wants the international community to reach out to policy makers and encourage people of all ages and backgrounds to engage with the arts, sending out the message that the arts are for everyone, not just for the few.
Certainly, the awareness that art programmes for children deliver much more than a fun experience seems to be growing. According to research by Americans for the Arts, students who undertake three hours of arts, three days a week, for at least one year are four times more likely to be recognised for academic achievement.
While the International Arts Education Week has yet to build a high profile in the UK, countries including Korea, Australia, Denmark and Brazil have already signed up and are running special events this week, including live music sessions, dance performances and art education workshops for teachers.
This week sees Children & the Arts launch an innovative project in Wales, which shares a strong synergy with the aims of UNESCO’s International Arts Education Week. Sponsored by The Classic FM Foundation, MusicQuest will introduce more than 1,500 schoolchildren to classical orchestral music.
Schools have been invited to St David’s Concert Hall in Cardiff, where the Philharmonia Orchestra will perform a special classical music concert designed for seven- to 11-year olds, complete with stunning visuals to lead the children through the repertoire and enhance the learning experience. The concert, held on Tuesday 22 May, will focus on the performance of Prokofiev’s Lieutenant Kijé as well as a special participation piece, where all the pupils will be invited to join in with the orchestra.
As part of the project, teachers have also been given training and extra resources so that they can introduce pupils to the music before the concert, as well as follow-up support after the event.
“MusicQuest is all about increasing children’s confidence, creativity and aspirations,” says Thomas MacAndrew, Project Manager for Children & the Arts. “All of our Quest projects ensure that young people from the most high-need areas are immersed in the very best of the arts – and for many of the children at St David’s Hall today, this will be the first time that they will have experienced live classical orchestral music.”
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