Previous recipients of the International Sponsorship Fund

2021 recipients

BLUME Haiti uses the impact of music to change the life trajectory of musicians throughout Haiti. They work in partnership to develop leadership skills, awaken individual potential, and create opportunities for civic collaboration and economic development through the shared pursuit of musical excellence. 

In partnership with MOTUS, BLUME Haiti set up HOI in 2017, with the aim of bringing together 100 of Haiti’s most talented and dedicated musicians and teachers from around the country to receive intensive orchestral and instrumental training from MOTUS and the Music Director of the Utah Symphony, Thierry Fischer. The program is free for all participants, who gain the opportunity to join like-minded peers from across Haiti to work in sectionals, lessons, masterclasses and rehearsals with the seasoned professionals of the Utah Symphony and, of course, to present their work to the public in an exhilarating final concert.

As BLUME Haiti Executive Director Janet Anthony says, “Haiti has much to offer that is positive, hopeful and optimistic. This invaluable aid will help ensure the smooth running of a long-awaited Institute. The HOI sadly had to be cancelled in 2019 because of political unrest and in 2020 and 2021 because of the pandemic.  Musicians across Haiti are eagerly awaiting the resumption of what has become an incredibly important part of musical life in the country. ARBSM’s support will help make this possible. Mèsi anpil (thank you)!”

The Kenya Conservatoire of Music (KCM)’s director, Wandiri Karimi founded the KCM’s Women’s Orchestra in 2016, alongside the conductor and composer Keziah Ntwiga.  Their goal is to increase the significantly low representation of women of all age groups in the creative sector in Kenya. As the need for music and musicianship grows, so does the need for upskilling in music theory and instrumental musicianship.  The KCM applied for ABRSM’s International Sponsorship Fund to provide scholarships for women musicians at the Conservatoire. 

Wandiri says: “There is a need for diversification of activities and platforms for women to express themselves.  The value and respect for women in the society needs diverse forums to re-invent and redirect societal perspectives on what women do, or can do. To safeguard the value and rights of women and create opportunities for healing through music and connection, The Kenya Conservatoire Women's Orchestra is determined to advocate and build strong social nets, and create a platform in response to the above mentioned concerns.  We hope to achieve this through music and the mentoring of young women in leadership through scheduled rehearsals, team building and performances in 2021. We strive to bridge a generational understanding of, and awareness for, women empowerment through music.”

Harmony Project Phoenix is a non-profit organisation based in the USA that uses music as the means for social inclusion. The ISF 2021 has allowed the project to launch its first International Teaching Training Programme in partnership with Orquestra nas Escolas, the largest Sistema-inspired programme in Brazil.  Harmony Project Phoenix is designing and supporting the development and implementation of a systematic curriculum that will help meet urgent demand in Rio de Janeiro for music teaching staff.  It will initially serve over 100 string teachers in the Rio de Janeiro state through the 2021-2022 academic year with bilingual benchmarks for string pedagogy, lesson plans and online training sessions.  

Director and Co-Founder of Orquestra nas Escolas, Moana Martins says: “I know from my own personal experience that music can be a lifesaver. As we continue to expand Orquestra nas Escolas in Rio de Janeiro, the demand for structured instrumental music education curriculum has only grown. ABRSM sponsorship is allowing us to build the foundation of educational resources and teacher training programs that will directly impact the professional development of teachers in Brazil and eventually spark social change in the poorest areas of the Rio de Janeiro State.”

Compass Children’s Charity fund projects in Latin America and Mexico that have a meaningful and positive impact on at-risk, migrant and street children globally. They advocate for at-risk children, asking governments to provide protection, services and justice to children who are voiceless. The ISF 2021 is supporting Casa Alianza Nicaragua’s music project that proactively engages children in music workshops designed to support their emotional development and the development of new skills. It also works to repair damage caused to motor skills through prolonged solvent abuse on the streets and supports a detoxification process to prevent relapses. The aim is to allow children to be children who can, enjoy playing, growing and learning.   Director Iraíz Castillo says: “We believe in the development of the whole child. Music is vital in the development of interpersonal skills, physical and psychological wellbeing and provides a creative outlet for the children.”

2020 recipients

YONA is an organisation with a vision to transform the lives of young people through music.  The programme is open to any child, regardless of race, gender, tribe or financial means.  YONA’s centre in Windhoek provides instruction in violin, viola, cello, flute, clarinet, oboe and recorder. There are currently 30 children aged 6 to 14 in the strings programme, which has been running since June 2017.  The dream is to grow YONA to such an extent that in future, every Namibian child would be able to receive a music education.

Founder and Director, Gretel Coetzee said: "YONA is constantly expanding to give more children the opportunity to learn an instrument. We are delighted that ABRSM supports our string programme. Their sponsorship will help us to acquire more violins, bows and essential instrument accessories."

Alegro believes that access to high quality music education should be for everyone, regardless of their background and so provides classical music education to children and young adults in situations of social vulnerability in Curitiba, Brazil.  Alegro supports music schools and provides opportunities in the form of two orchestras inspired by the el Sistema model.  

The ABRSM International Sponsorship Fund will provide a scholarship for a leading young musician from Brazil to spend an immersion period of study in the UK with professional orchestras and the Royal Northern College of Music.

Edward Matkin, president of Alegro says: “We provide young people in Brazil with musical education opportunities of excellence. We are delighted to be building a partnership with ABRSM to provide a life changing experience for the recipient of the fund and to build bridges between the UK and the vibrant classical music scene in Brazil.”

AMP's vision is for South Africa’s youth to have equal access to music education, creative industry, cultural heritage and artistic possibilities. Their centre is currently the only way for talented children in Makhanda's historically disadvantaged schools to have access to formal music education and training. AMP offers learners a diverse and exciting programme, teaching practical music, music literacy and theory, general music knowledge and sound technology to provide learners with a solid foundation and formal certificates that provide access to further music study and career pathways.

AMP’s Project Director, Gareth Walwyn, comments: “With ABRSM’s support, we will be able to open up our programme to a new group of learners this year – we are very excited about the new intake, and very grateful to ABRSM for making this possible!”

Little Fingers Music is a music school in Tanzania, devoted to teaching children as young as three years of age to play musical instruments.  Their long term aim is to expand the scope and diversity of musical training in Dar es Salaam.  The ABRSM International Sponsorship Fund will therefore be used to sponsor skilled instructors from neighbouring countries, such as Kenya and Uganda, to train young Tanzanian music teachers in theory and practical skills for string, woodwind and brass instruments.

Veronica Atambo-Eyakuze, Founder & Director of Little Fingers Music says: “This is a unique opportunity to help expand the variety of musical instruments for children to learn in the community.”

MusicArt Society is a registered non-profit organisation in Nepal providing free music education to young children from low-income families.  ABRSM’s International Sponsorship Fund is supporting MusicArt Society’s 'Music for the Nation' project.  Every year, a class of around 50 children from low income families is provided with a free music course and given a platform to explore and showcase their talent through performances.

The president of MusicArt Society, Sumit Pokhrel, says: "I truly believe that this programme will not only develop the children’s music learning skills, but also enhance personal growth, discipline, team work and cooperation and like in the past, we may produce soulful music performers and teachers, thus, empowering these children,"

DCMA is the only music school in Zanzibar and has a mission to preserve, develop and promote the unique musical heritage of Zanzibar and the Swahili coast.  Many of their students have gone on to pursue careers as musicians.  Through teaching, performing, documenting and recording traditional music and dance forms at the academy, the DCMA ensures the preservation and appreciation of Zanzibar’s musical heritage.

Managing Director Alessia Lombardo says "Thanks to the support of the ABRSM International Sponsorship Fund, the DCMA, a small music school with enormous talent and bigger dreams, will continue to protect and promote the Swahili culture through music. We are so happy about this contribution, that will support education for more women in traditional instruments such as the oud, tablah and qanun.  Carrying the torch of musicians like Siti binti Saad and Fatuma bin Baraka, or ’Bi. Kidude’, five young women will be trained in traditional instruments (qanun, oud, tablah) and a new women’s music band, a taarab ensemble of teachers and students, will be established.”

WA is providing services and support to children in the Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon, including those struggling to cope with increasing mental health issues. The Music Therapy for Traumatised Children project, supported by the ABRSM International Sponsorship Fund, will provide psychosocial support to children aged 4 to 18 years, with a range of individual and group musical activities. New musical instruments will be provided for twice-weekly music sessions and community music events.

WA Director Caroline Qutteneh says: “Music therapy will help reduce the children’s stress levels and sharing their musical achievements with family and friends will bring some much needed happiness to the local community.”

2019 recipients

The Child’s Play India Foundation supports disadvantaged children through the provision of high quality classical music education. They currently teach violin, viola, cello, flute and piano to over 100 children in Goa, and also run a choir.

In 2018, the Foundation launched its cello project with the aim of nurturing a new generation of cellists. With support from the International Sponsorship Fund, they’ve been able to recruit overseas teachers to help with this project.

Founder and project director Dr Luis Dias says: “Thanks to support from donors like ABRSM, our cello project has over 24 students including some adult learners. We are happy that ABRSM’s gift to us will continue to fund music lessons, strings, concerts, books and music for our students.”

Access Music Project's vision is for South Africa’s youth to have equal access to opportunities in music education, the arts and culture, and the creative industries. Its centre currently provides the only way that talented children in Makhanda's historically disadvantaged schools can access formal music education and training.

The project’s interconnected model runs from primary school through to post-school level. It offers young learners an exciting, high-quality, diverse programme, teaching practical music, music literacy and theory, general music knowledge and sound technology. It provides students with a solid foundation in music as well as formal certificates that give access to further music study and career pathways.

Access Music Project's Project Director, Gareth Walwyn, states: “At the core of any good music programme must be a joyful process of music-making. Our practical programme consists of instrumental tuition and playing in ensembles, and ABRSM's partnership is very much appreciated in making these happen.”

The Ensemble de Percussion Costa Rica UNED is comprised of members of the country’s Orquesta Sinfonica Nacional and is the resident ensemble at the Universidad Estatal a Distancia. It is the lead ensemble in Costa Rica’s International Festival of Percussion Ensembles.

Through the International Sponsorship Fund we are supporting the ensemble’s outreach work with marching bands (the most popular ensemble in Costa Rica), mostly in remote communities where they do not have opportunities to access professional musical instruction. This will include workshops, as well as coaching sessions for the local conductors and teachers.

The ensemble and festival aims to spread percussion knowledge through concerts and master classes which often feature guest artists. The ensemble’s Director, Maestro Bismarck Fernández, also highlights their aim to “identify local talent and support their development as musicians”.

The Mangrove Music Initiative in Belawan provides local children aged 8 to 13, who would otherwise not have access to music education, with weekly, one-hour group instrumental lessons. Beginning with violin and cello, the ultimate aim is to build a youth community orchestra which will provide much needed social and musical opportunities for children from less fortunate backgrounds.

Director Ian Anderson says: “The initiative aims to provide a hands-on musical education on a local level, and the ultimate goal is to inspire youth music-making in neighbouring regions. The ABRSM International Sponsorship Fund will help provide these young people with a feeling of belonging in an environment where they can express themselves.”

The ABRSM International Sponsorship Fund 2019 will be supporting Mount Pleasant College’s series of six free equal-access masterclasses led by international experts, such as Helen Kruger. The workshops, for students and teachers, will focus on historically-informed performance practice (HIPP) approaches for Early Music.

The student masterclasses will focus on building musical skills in order to improve their music making and enhance their learning. The teacher masterclasses will focus on advanced HIPP professional development training. Providing high-level educational and training opportunities for both students and teachers will support those learning and leading music education programmes in Western Australia.

The Penang Jazz Society is Penang’s first organisation dedicated to promoting jazz through performance, education and community engagement.

Penang Jazz Society offers a jazz ensemble program which has set up its flagship Big Band of Penang and the supporting Youth Big Band of Penang, both of which have performed in international festivals overseas.

Penang Jazz Society also operates an education and outreach programme. Thanks to the International Sponsorship Fund, Penang Jazz Society will be holding a five-day jazz camp covering jazz theory, improvisation and ensemble playing.

Penang Jazz Society’s President/Music Director, Jerome Quah, says: “We hope the jazz camp attendees from local schools will be inspired, have great fun and feel a sense of achievement, which will help ensure the future of jazz performance in Penang.”

The Qatar Music Academy opened in 2011 to develop promising young talent from the region and create the next generation of world-class musicians. The academy provides a comprehensive music education programme, incorporating both Arab and Western classical traditions in the curriculum.

The ABRSM International Sponsorship Fund 2019 will allow the academy to invite an overseas guest conductor to work with and inspire the academy’s youth orchestra.

The Qatar Music Academy Director Dr. Abdul Ghafour Al Heeti states: “Qatar Youth Orchestra was founded in 2014 by Qatar Music Academy and it is the first symphonic youth orchestra in Qatar. It inspires young talent, endorses professional music growth and celebrates the universal language of music with its colourful diversity. Members of the Orchestra range from ages 13 to 18 and currently embody 16 different nationalities.”

The British Chamber of Commerce of the Dominican Republic (BritchamDR) Young Musician of the Caribbean Award is a bi-annual competition which aims to discover musical talent among young people in the Caribbean, serve as a platform for the rising stars of the future and raise the profile of classical music in the islands.

This is the first ever classical music competition for young people in the Caribbean and will be complemented by a series of workshops for young musicians in the region. The ABRSM International Sponsorship Fund 2019 will go towards the hire of a high-quality venue and accompanists for the competition.

Francesca Ortiz, Executive Director of BritchamDR, hopes the competition and masterclasses will help to encourage “a new generation of young musicians that understands the importance of music in society and the community.”

2018 recipients

Our sponsorship of JYOC will help cover tuition costs for its music teaching programme in Soweto. 153 children receive weekly group and individual music tuition on any of the orchestral instruments which are provided from the stock that the JYOC has acquired over the 18 years of its existence.

The programme promotes employability among its students: currently 78% of the teachers in Soweto have come up through JYOC teaching programmes. In addition, it helps students develop a sense of self-worth and promotes valuable life skills: responsibility, discipline, goal setting and racial/cultural understanding.

We are supporting the first Malaysian International Dalcroze Forum and workshops for teachers. The aim is to increase awareness amongst music teachers that teaching music is not only about playing an instrument and that creative music making is the key to being a better musician.

The training will help to give teachers a fresh approach to musicianship in practice, offering them the opportunity to explore different methods in their day-to-day teaching. The forum will also provide local teachers with the opportunity to network and share experiences with teachers from around Asia, encouraging them to learn from one another.

We are sponsoring the SASMT Ensemble Competition which promotes musical progression through collaborative music making for school-going musicians.

It aims to encourage and foster an understanding, love and appreciation of high-quality ensemble performance. The competition is the first opportunity of its kind for primary school learners, and for music students from the Northern Provinces.

We are supporting the 15th Malaysian Choral Eisteddfod National Choir Competition which will be held from 8 - 9 July, 2017. This annual competition is organised by Young Choral Academy, a non-profit arts organisation.

It’s Malaysia’s first and only centre for the training and development of singers, conductors, teachers and music educators in the field of choral music/singing. In previous years, over 11,000 singers from all over the country have participated in the festival. The sponsorship will contribute towards increasing awareness of the benefits of choral singing as a fun, healthy and positive musical activity amongst young people in Malaysia.

Our sponsorship of the Young Jamaica Ensemble will support its development as a community music initiative that works to improve the lives of young people 'at-risk' and enable them to discover their potential as promising young musicians.

The Young Jamaica Ensemble organises Community Recital Showcases as well as masterclasses with professional musicians in collaboration with the Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts in Kingston and Sam Sharpe Teachers' College in Montego Bay. Held quarterly, these classes are used to help students to develop their music and their skills and to consider music as a viable career option.

Participants in the community programme are empowered through music education and performance activities to create positive links that improve academic performance, reduce risky behaviour and provide a safe, structured environment for these disadvantaged young people.

Based in Malaysia, the Euroasia Association is a non-profit organisation which has been actively involved in music performance and education activities since 1999.

We are sponsoring the 2017 Euroasia Competition Series which offers masterclasses by internationally renowned professionals, workshops by accredited examiners, concert performances and instrument exhibitions. To give more local, young musicians the opportunity to participate without having to pay for travel, the competitionâs activities take place in different regions of Malaysia.

The Santa Maria Foundation works to empower young orphaned, abandoned and underprivileged girls in Colombia to restore their self-esteem, giving them a platform and the confidence to advance in life and fulfil their potential. The orphanage currently supports the personal development of 165 girls, aged 5-16. 

ABRSM's sponsorship will support its music education programme, which provides all the girls with instruments and music lessons. In particular, it'll enable the foundation to offer training for music educators. As well as developing musical skills, the programme aims to build the girlsâ confidence and ability to learn in other areas of their development.

"The girls at Santa Maria Foundation will benefit greatly from this collaboration with ABRSM, both in their current musical education and by broadening their minds", said Lady Yomara Rodriguez Cardenas, the director of Santa Maria Foundation. "This will have huge benefits for their personal growth, for their community and for future generations here. By being able to continue with their musical education, the contribution from ABRSM will have untold benefits for many years to come. We are deeply grateful to ABRSM for collaborating with us to support underprivileged and orphaned girls in Colombia."

The Young Musicians Foundation Orchestra's mission is to nurture Singapore's pre-professional orchestral musicians by giving them a platform to transition into the professional music industry.

It aims to become Singapore's next semi-professional, home-grown orchestra, targeting the music community and the wider public to cultivate an appreciation for orchestral music by educating audiences through their musical endeavours. 

The orchestra's 2018 season will provide opportunities for young musicians to plan and execute orchestral concerts. These involve an eclectic mix of under-performed works alongside orchestral classics that are assimilated with the orchestra's trademark curated concerts, opening with Toru Takemitsu's From Me Flows What You Call Time coupled with Antonin Dvorak's Symphony No.9 - From the New World.  

ABRSM's sponsorship will help musical mentors from the profession to impart both technical skills in instrumental training and soft skills like teamwork within the orchestra - key factors that encourage musical progression in young musicians. 

"I'd like to offer my personal gratitude for ABRSM's generous support, which has allowed us to focus our energies on music-making of the highest levels", said Alvin Seville Arumugam, Music Director.

The West Coast Youth Orchestra is a culturally diverse, non-profit organisation that has provided music outreach and development educational programmes to young people in South Africa's West Coast since 1996.

It believes that any musician should have the chance to take part in music education programmes regardless of their background, ability or socioeconomic status. Students from different cultures participate in five interlocking training and development programmes that encourage imaginative thinking and creativity, and foster an appreciation for their cultural heritage, as well as for others'. 

ABRSM's sponsorship will support the ongoing music tuition that the orchestra provides in their music education and outreach programmes. These programmes include tuition at Diazille Primary School, the orchestral tutoring programme, its jazz band, its bursary programme and its skills programme, which helps students without prior musical training gain skills for tertiary-level studies.

Other recipients

In Malaysia, ABRSM's grant supports the Borneo Reeds Professional Development Prize competition, the first of its kind in the region. The competitionâs second edition takes place in 2015, and as with the first, will focus on the development of young wind instrumentalists in the country.

Oboe player Howard Ng first proposed the idea of a competition for Malaysian wind players. The aim of the prize is to:

  • promote the tradition of concert recitals in Malaysia
  • equip young professional Malaysian musicians with skills necessary for an enhanced and diverse career
  • encourage the culture of playing wind instruments and inspire future musicians in Malaysia
  • educate young aspiring musicians on the demands of Malaysiaâs challenging music scene
  • create opportunities in expanding international contacts and developing careers

With the support of ABRSM, as well as various concert venues and organizations, the inaugural competition was initiated in the final quarter of 2013.

Tan Chai Suang was the winner of the first ever Borneo Reeds Professional Development Prize in 2014, a decision made with the help of an international panel of judges from Hong Kong, China, Taiwan and Japan. As a result of winning the prize, Chai Suang was able to perform recitals across the country. Venues included Kuching, Penang and Kuala Lumpur, where numerous masterclasses were also held in conjunction with the concerts.

On the experience of winning the prize, Chai Suang has this to say: "This has been an extraordinary period for me. Performing solo recitals for audiences in Kuching, Kuala Lumpur and Penang has been an incredible experience. Itâs an understatement to say that the prize has changed my musical life. The process has given me the knowledge necessary to become a flexible musician, as well as an entrepreneur."

Chai Suang is now a graduate student at the Hochschule Luzern in Switzerland.

The 2015 edition of the competition has already begun and we have received a very encouraging number of applicants. A new winner will be announced in the third week of March!

We support Chamber Music New Zealand and their annual Chamber Music competition.

The competition is the longest running youth music contest of its kind and the only nationwide chamber music competition for young secondary school musicians and composers in the country.

ABRSM funding was used to provide professional coaching to students around New Zealand in preparation for the competition.

In 2013 ABRSM sponsored the Guyana Musical Arts Festival's scheme designed to enable talented children from difficult environments - and with little opportunity to express their skills - the chance to experience music.

The Guyana Musical Arts Festival began in 1952 and was held on an annual basis until 1973. A local group of musicians revived the festival in 2013 with a diverse programme of music encompassing performances from primary and secondary school choirs, church choirs, folk singing groups, gospel groups and recorder, steel pan, violin, guitar, and brass instrumentalists.

ABRSM's contribution was used to fund the development of a sustainable wind and percussion music programme involving up to thirty students in the South Ward of Georgetown. The initial pilot scheme will span three years and it is hoped that the GMAFI will be able to independently fund the project from 2015 onwards following the boost provided by ABRSM's sponsorship.

Hebron School in India's Tamil Nadu state is a co-educational boarding school for the children of Christian workers, many of whom are volunteers working across Asia.

The head of music at the school, Andrew Trythall, identified bowed strings as a priority development area and began the strings project, inspired by a visit from a Venezuelan conductor who has been working with the El Sistema voluntary sector music education programme. The school recruited a dedicated strings teacher, Rosemary Graham, to support the endeavour.

Now in its third year, the aim of the project is to give every Junior School student the opportunity to play a stringed instrument. The children stay with their chosen instrument (whether it's a violin or viola, etc.), throughout their time in Junior School and by the time this particular cohort reaches their final year the intention is for the school to have a strings orchestra.

Hebron School

Providing support for instrumental provision

In the first of year of the project, violins and violas were introduced to a small class. The school had bigger ambitions and wanted to introduce cellos, but this remained considerably beyond their financial means. That's when they applied to the ABRSM international sponsorship fund for support, as they couldn't have continued with the project without this help.

ABRSM funding helped to pay for eleven half-sized cellos, as well as larger violins and violas for students who joined the project but have have now outgrown the smaller instruments. The smaller ones are now being used by younger students.

Hebron School

The teacher: Rosemary

Rosemary Graham, the strings teacher, described the positive impact the project has had:

"The pupils and parents have gained a real feel-good factor in the students having the opportunity to learn a stringed instrument and play as part of an ensemble.

"It has been very exciting for them (and me!) to make music together.

"The children have been introduced to playing an instrument that they might not have had the opportunity to do. It has given them a good foundation and now some of them are doing ABRSM Grade 1."

Hebron School

The student: Abigail

Abigail, who is 10, described why she and her fellow students enjoy playing the cello:

"My class and I are learning to play the cello.

"We like playing the cello because it is nice to play an instrument, and to play an instrument well is a real talent! Playing the cello can be difficult too, as it takes a while to get used to holding the bow for a long period of time.

"We do not play the cello all the time though. In one of our lessons, we play the cello and in the other lesson we work on our theory booklet, which is fun.

"We like playing the cello. We realise that it is not something everyone can do. We are very lucky!"

The students receive class music lessons, which incorporate the UK national curriculum, and are taught melody, rhythm, composition and theory through interacting with their bowed strings instruments.

The next part of the project is to introduce the double bass into classes - watch this space!

ABRSM sponsored the Hugo Lambrechts Music Centre (HLMC) in South Africa in 2013 as part of a twelve-month agreement.

HLMC affords young South Africans the opportunity to prepare themselves for international competition. Pupils at HLMC, all of whom are involved in string or wind orchestras, are provided with the chance to experience a variety of performance situations, encompassing solo playing, chamber music and orchestral playing.

ABRSMâs contribution was used to fund three HLMC development programmes (the Primary School Programme, a High School Programme and the Adopt-A-Muzo scheme), benefiting more than 100 learners from disadvantaged communities. The funds were used to buy musical instruments, produce bespoke merchandise and pay for the services of an accompanist.

In 2012 ABRSM funding helped the Kampala Music School (KMS) in Uganda implement a teacher development programme. The programme has been designed to inspire and further the skills of teaching staff and other aspiring teachers in the region.

The programme included workshops in music teaching covering specific instruments, general musicianship, sight-reading and aural, exam preparation, performance practice, and instrumental lessons for teachers for their primary and secondary instruments.

"Taking part in our Development Programme will enable teachers to apply for promotion within the KMS, as well as expand the amount of students that they will be qualified to teach. Some of the trainers will come from within the KMS, and this gives them another job opportunity and aids their own career development. The workshops will mainly be directed at preparing for ABRSM Teaching diplomas, and the ability to successfully prepare students for ABRSM graded music exams, which we use as our benchmark. By giving KMS teachers a chance to improve, it is hoped that we can raise the quality of our musicians and thus gain more students, performance opportunities and internationally-recognised qualifications. We also hope to send our teachers away for further training and facilitate all of these activities with the necessary equipment, books and materials" - Natasha Chong, Deputy Executive Director, KMS

In 2012 ABRSM helped the Mandaluyong Children's Choir Music School (MCCMS) in the Philippines, an organisation which aims to develop the musical skills of underprivileged but talented children from Mandaluyong City.

The MCCMS used ABRSM funding to support its music education programmes, which have been running since 1999.

"Our various year-round activities are designed to help develop the leader within each child," said Sebastian Trinidad, the group's administrative and artistic director. "We use music education as a vehicle to develop each child in our programme to be the future hope in our community. Aside from our curriculum, the outcomes of the acquired training in the MCCMS are shared with the community through our regular concert season."

The group's activities include the Earth Angel Concert Season, a series of four programmed concerts that take place in venues in the metropolis; Music Works, an annual summer course offering free training modules in music and dance, leadership and social development; the Koro Ng Bayan Choir Championships, an annual choir competition (an ABRSM trophy will be presented to the winners at this year's contest); the Gurong Maestro Musiko Conducting workshops, a series of seminars open to private and public school teachers; and the Awit Mandaluyong Choral Fiesta, the 'largest gathering of choirs in Mandaluyong City'.

"It promises to be a busy year and we thank ABRSM for its support, which allows us to further our mission", said Sebastian.

The fund recently supported two cultural festivals in İzmir, on Turkey's western coast, which introduced 1,400 local students to classical and chamber music.

Ä°zmir cultural festival students

Providing musical opportunities to local students

Students living in the Bayraklı and Karabaglar districts of İzmir have very limited opportunities to attend social and cultural activities. Their families are from migrant backgrounds and belong to low socio-economic groups.

At the two recent events, the students took part in musical activities and listened to recitals, learning about both western and Turkish composers including Holst, Beethoven, Cemal Reşit Rey and Ahmet Adnan Saygun. They were also introduced to classical music instruments, including the cello and violin.

Ä°zmir cultural festival students

Mustafa and Elif

Mustafa and Elif, both of whom are 12 years old, took part in the events. It was the first time in their lives that they had been given the opportunity to experience live concerts. As a result of participating in the festivals, they both would like to pursue the possibility of becoming professional musicians in the future.

They both explained what taking part in the festival and listening to the music had on them.

"I felt very peaceful, and like I was travelling on a boat through a river while I was listening to this music. It was an extraordinary experience for me," said Mustafa.

"I felt very happy while I was listening to the classical and polyphonic music. I felt like I was in an amusement park. It was a wonderful time for me," said Elif.

In Malaysia, ABRSM's grant supported a five-day event hosted by the Musica Sinfonietta (MS), a non-governmental organisation 'run by musicians for musicians'.

Its core group comprises experienced instrumental teachers who volunteer their time to keep the group going with weekly rehearsals throughout the year. The MS also serves as a platform for its members to develop their instrumental playing and promote their skills and expertise with various organisations in the state of Penang and Malaysia more broadly.

The five-day 'camp' offered intensive group instrumental coaching, sectional coaching, lectures and related workshops. Conductors and tutors were engaged locally and from neighbouring countries or further afield to take part, and participants worked together on an orchestral programme culminating in a concert on the final evening.

The event brought together more than 80 instrumentalists playing at an intermediate or advanced level.

"Our annual camps aim to promote music making and team work; to raise the standard of instrumental playing among participants and to educate aspiring musicians on all aspects of musicianship," June Ong, MS President, explains. "They also give amateurs the opportunity to play alongside professionals; to showcase their talents; and to enrich the lives of all those in the community."

Providence Heights Community BandABRSM funds given to the Providence Heights Community Band (PHCB) in Jamaica in 2012 helped to fund a new Community Recital Programme and repair and purchase musical instruments for the group.

The Community Recital Programme showcased the talents of the band and brings together families, community groups and businesses.

The PHCB was founded in April 2011 as part of the region's Music for Social Transformation project, which is sponsored by the National Housing Trust as part of its mandate to create and develop positive social change in the country.

ABRSM's contribution was also used to repair and purchase musical instruments for the group.

"Without a constant budget, it has proven difficult to maintain and purchase equipment for the group," said a representative of the band. "ABRSM's grant has allowed us to acquire musical instruments, which in turn has meant that we have been able to start a concert band. W'e've already bought a five-piece drum-kit, a bass guitar and amplifier, 10 music stands and auxiliary percussion instruments including tambourines, maracas and claves for the group and the band will perform five songs at the recital in December."

In 2012 we supported the Tender Talents Magnet School based in Kasangati near Kampala, Uganda.

Home to around 450 children aged between 13 and 20, the school was set up in 1999 to offer a thorough academic curriculum alongside special arts training in cultural dance, music, drama, visual art and sculpting. The school's pupils come from the poorest section of the community, a high proportion of whom have lost their parents and other family members to AIDS. Several come from single-parent families, whilst others are refugees from the Northern Conflict.

The school was the first project to be supported by Musequality, the UK-based charity which provided start-up funding to pay for the refurbishment of a dilapidated hut to create a rehearsal studio. ABRSM's grant enabled he continuation of a programme set up by Musequality to help students perform in public.

Extra classes were provided at the end of each school term for those pupils who do not have homes to go to. "The endorsement of the school by ABRSM should also encourage donations from other groups," said Jeremy Bradshaw, Executive Director at Musequality. "Many of the students in the programme have achieved excellent grades in their academic studies, partly due to the skills, concentration and self-esteem developed through studying music."

ABRSM's funding supported We Mah Music's music programme in Hong Kong in 2013.

We Wah Music (the name of which originates from the Cantonese expression for 'making noise') is an organisation of volunteers that provides an array of musical services and supporting activities to underprivileged children in Hong Kong.

The free music programme offered by WWM involved several hundred primary school children, a community-based concert and a 'Learning piano once a week' initiative, with ABRSM's contribution also helping to enable the organisation to rent piano rooms and purchase an array of teaching materials.


ABRSM provided funding to the Young Jamaica Ensemble (YJE) in 2013 in order to support the organisation's efforts to achieve the goals outlined in their VISION 2015 mandate.

The Young Jamaica Ensemble is a community music initiative that operates in the areas of Granville, Retirement and Pitfour in Montego Bay, Jamaica. The programme's aim is to provide comprehensive music education opportunities for 'youth-at-risk' in these communities.

ABRSM's contribution was used to fund a series of masterclasses and community events hosted by the YJE for the benefit of local students, and to purchase musical instruments for those eager to learn and perform.


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