The MFY National Partnership Awards: The Beards and the Musicians' Union

Date Published:5 February 2014
Category:All News
Keywords:National Partnership Awards
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Two members of the The Beards receive their National Partnership award at a presentation ceremony at the Royal Albert Hall with Diane Widdison from the Musicians' Union (far right) and their teacher (center)

Two members of the The Beards receiving their National Partnership award as part of a presentation ceremony at the Royal Albert Hall, with Diane Widdison from the Musicians' Union (far right), and their teacher (center).

At the MFY National Festival in Birmingham 2013, ten groups of young musicians participating in the festival were awarded National Partnership Awards. As part of each award, recipients received a bespoke educational experience courtesy of our National Partnership award sponsors.

The Beards were presented with the National Partnership Award for Traditional & International music during a special awards reception at the Royal Albert Hall in September last year. Here they share their story of being partnered with the Musicians' Union as part of their award experience.

"In December we travelled from Canterbury to the Musicians' Union offices in London for our National Partnership Award experience. We took the train to St Pancras and after a short detour to play on the station's pianos, hopped on the tube. Since we had neglected the idea of finding out where we were going before the day, the offices were eventually found after some skilful navigation!

We entered the building not really knowing what to expect. We were quickly directed to a conference room where we shuffled awkwardly. We needn't have felt very awkward because we were soon put at our ease by the hospitality of our hosts (and the coffee machine).

During the day many members of staff came to talk to us about their roles in the Musicians' Union and answer any questions we might have. As well as meeting some sparkling personalities, we discovered an awful lot about the Musicians' Union that we'd never even considered. Amongst these discoveries were information about contracts, musician's rights, how not to get ripped off and the future of musicians with the introduction of streaming services such as Spotify. This was mostly really relevant to us as a young band having played a number of gigs in a variety of settings. This is the sort of information we would be unlikely to acquire in school. We felt privileged to be hosted by a national organisation in their London offices.

The following day when we returned to school, the Musicians' Union arranged for a professional traditional musician to come and work with us for the afternoon. She worked on the ornamentation of pieces with us on our current repertoire before beginning to help us work on a piece of her selection.

Overall the experience of being partnered with the Musicians Union was thoroughly enjoyable and very worthwhile. We are really grateful to both the Musicians Union and Music for Youth for providing us with the opportunity."

MFY would like to thank the Musicians' Union for hosting the MFY National Partnership Awards for 'Traditional and International' and 'Rock, Pop and Urban' in 2013.

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