Warwick Music Group shares what it looks like to partner with them as a music service, from facilitating progressive and inclusive teaching practices, to assisting with inventory management and providing sustainable solutions to accessing instruments.
Warwick Music Group, the creators of pBone, pTrumpet and a host of beginner whole-class ensemble instruments, are seeking to extend and enhance their work with music services across England. Following the release by Arts Council England of the Strategic Functions for Hub Lead Organisations in June 2023, hubs are expected to develop key strategic partnerships with a number of organisations, including musical industry partners like Warwick Music Group.
Warwick Music Group’s experience in musical instrument procurement and management, along with their commitment to other key elements of the HLO partnership proposal – such as sustainability, progression, and inclusion – positions them as an ideal partner for hubs. In fact, the Warwick Music Group team have produced a free guide for HLOs that identifies the areas in which they can offer support.
Progressive pathways to brass in the classroom
Many hubs are already reaping the benefits of a collaborative approach with Warwick Music. In Sheffield, brass teachers are using pBuzz to aid progression and create more cornet, trumpet and trombone players in South Yorkshire. Andy Harris, Brass Lead at Sheffield Music Service, has utilised pBuzz, the beginner brass tool, in the classroom.
“Typically, I’ll introduce pBuzz in year three or four before the cornet,” says Harris. “With pBuzz, the children manage that transition so well. They sound so much better than starting out on cornets. They get it and understand how to make a sound. I can’t stress how much better it is.”
Andy’s work at Beck Primary School and Firth Park Academy has seen him introduce a brass band program that is making waves on a national level. Firth Park Academy recently competed at the National Youth Brass Championships, while younger players from Beck got a taste of the next steps for making music. These children have come through Andy’s wider opportunities classes, giving children who wouldn’t normally get the chance to play music a progressive pathway.
“Without pBuzz there as a starter brass instrument, I would expect take-up to be lower,” continues Harris. “In one of the schools I teach at, I have 90 children in year five, and this year have taken around 25-30 forward to brass from pBuzz. When I first started at the school five years ago and started on brass instruments straight away, that number was four. Some of that is down to the momentum I have built up, but pBuzz has been a brilliant starter.”
Facilitating inclusive teaching
Giving all children the chance to enjoy and play music is at the heart of Warwick Music Group’s strive towards inclusion in education. In Cheshire East, a partnership with Arts Council England, Love Music Trust, Foden’s brass band and Warwick Music Group has helped to deliver instruments and brass lessons to hearing-impaired and deaf children. The project has also seen staff upskilled by deaf music educator and consultant Sean Chandler, creating an inclusive legacy for children and teachers in the area.
Love Music Trust (LMT) Director John Barber said of the project: “Working in partnership with the LMT, Warwick Music Group and supported by Arts Council England, the band has facilitated a wonderful programme allowing hearing impaired young people in Cheshire East to enjoy the world of brass music, taught by tutors previously unskilled in this important area.”
Working with the National Plan for Music Education
CPD and progression are also offered by the Warwick Music Group team. The National Plan for Music Education in Wales has seen year three children across the country engage with a primary instrument like pBuzz and pCorder, the world’s first carbon-neutral and antimicrobial recorder. In many areas, including Swansea, training sessions led by Educational Consultant Chris Fower on behalf of Warwick Music Group have given primary classroom teachers without prior experience the chance to deliver WCET on pBuzz.
The sessions have also helped staff at Swansea Music to identify more pathways into instrument learning:
Karin Jenkins, Head of Swansea Music, said “Music can embed itself within the curriculum. The idea is that by the end of the first year of this initiative, every child in year three could go on and continue that journey in music.” That journey will see a pilot scheme in 2023-24 where ten schools use pTrumpet and pBone, supported by a new scheme of work and additional training sessions from Warwick Music Group.
Manufacturing, procuring and delivering instruments to hubs across the United Kingdom means a lot more instruments to maintain and inventory to manage. In Bedfordshire, Inspiring Music was struggling with confined storage, a lack of people power, and a lot of instruments that required servicing and maintenance. Warwick Music Group has provided repairs, cleaning, and maintenance on 235 pBones, 32 pTrumpet hyTechs, and 30 pBuzzes in preparation for the new school year. Inventory management software for instruments is also offered for hubs, allowing them to focus on what they do best: educating and inspiring the next generation of musicians.
Sustainability is key to ensuring that the next generation can unlock their musical potential in a greener world, and it is a core tenet for HLOs. In 2020, Warwick Music Group became the first instrument manufacturer in the world to offer 100% carbon-neutral and recyclable instruments. This expertise has seen them partner with music services, advising on supply chain procurement, and certificates to demonstrate CO2e savings versus other instruments and practical advice for hubs to advise on strategic, sustainable practice. Stuart Birnie, Head of Music Service at Sevices for Education, Birmingham, has benefitted from the sustainable guidance from Warwick Music.
“My early conversations with Steven Greenall (CEO of Warwick Music Group) were around me wanting to really try and challenge instrument providers: how we procure instruments and how green are we as a company procuring instruments?”
Along with looking at the longevity of instruments, including repair kits, spare parts, and build quality, Birnie is also acutely aware of the carbon footprint of instruments and how they are delivered:
“We deal with a lot of cardboard packaging. So recycle, reuse, that’s the circular economy. That’s why we’re going to companies that can provide us with very, very little in the way of waste. We need a greener way of accessing the instruments, which is why we’re also asking whether they are made and designed in the UK. The pCorder is a perfect example of that.”
Warwick Music Group are continuing to support hubs and music services across England. With extended five-year hassle-free warranties, resources and schemes of work, and much more, a partnership with Warwick Music Group can enable more children to access the benefits of making music.
For more information, contact Warwick Music Group CEO Steven Greenall at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Additional case studies available:
Sheffield – https://blog.pbone.co.uk/pbuzz-brass-progression