Musicstage NYMAZ report highlights need for superfast broadband in virtual music tuition

News Information

  • Posted By : Musicstage
  • Posted On : Mar 10, 2017
  • Views : 386
  • Category : Policy & research » Research & reports
  • Description : The report examines the rollout of the Connect: Resound action research project in four new areas


  • In a new report, youth music development charity, NYMAZ, has warned that while digital technology could revolutionise the way schools provide music tuition, poor broadband in rural areas is limiting young people's access to equal life opportunities.

    Connect: Resound – Findings from the National Rollout 2015/6 examines the rollout of the charity's Connect: Resound action research project following a successful pilot in North Yorkshire in 2014/5.

    Developed with partners, UCan Play and the University of Hull, the project explores how technology can enable better and broader access to music education. With a focus on live online learning where pupils are connected with instrumental teachers virtually, it also provides enrichment opportunities such as live broadcasts and interviews with bands regarding their careers in music.

    The project rolled out its approach in four additional areas in 2015/6, working in partnership with:

    Echoing the findings of Rural England's The State of Rural Services 2016, the new report highlights the need for:

    • dependable broadband access if children in remote locations are to have equal life chances
    • additional audio-visual equipment to ensure a richer experience for teachers and pupils – for example, better quality sound and the ability to have multiple camera angles and close-ups

    Heidi Johnson, Director of NYMAZ, said:

    'We're adding our voice to the growing campaign for better broadband in the countryside. Children in rural areas are missing out because it can be too expensive and time-consuming to provide them with a well-rounded music education offer. We have worked with schools across England to identify a high-quality, cost-effective way of offering remote instrumental tuition and live-streamed professional performances to pupils in isolated areas. Yet there's still one big sticking point: reliable, superfast broadband access.

    'Music Education Hubs serving areas with a large rural population are hindered by cost, transport and logistical barriers. By incorporating the Connect: Resound model of virtual tuition into the weekly schedule, teachers could spend less time travelling and more time teaching.'

    David Inman, Director of Rural Services Network, said:

    'The Rural Services Network feels that broadband is both a massive opportunity and a potential serious divide for rural areas. Strong future-proofed telecommunication and broadband links are essential for ground-breaking innovations to become a reality. The alternative is that we risk remote areas becoming 'not spots': what hope does that give our young people? We feel strong connectivity for all is vital.'

    Leah Swain, Chief Officer of Rural Action Yorkshire, said:

    'Rural Action Yorkshire has been championing the need for reliable and superfast broadband for all rural communities across Yorkshire for the last four years. The NYMAZ report shows once again how key it is not just for our businesses but also to give young people equitable access to education opportunities. Providing music education in rural areas is a real challenge due to sparsity of the population, distances to travel and, therefore, additional cost. Being able to offer live, online learning where pupils are connected with instrumental teachers virtually but in real time sounds a fantastic way of getting more pupils engaged in music. We need to start planning now how to ensure we have 100% coverage of superfast broadband.'

    Dr Jonathan Savage, Managing Director of UCan Play, said:

    'UCan Play has been delighted to support this project with innovative approaches to live streaming featuring affordable, reliable and robust technology from our key partners such as Roland UK. Moving forward, we'll be exploring new solutions that build on the latest technology and the simple yet powerful controls that they offer for sharing audio and video online.'