31 March 2011

M & iCon: Third speaker announced - Ben Ballard

Ben Ballard

Freelance Organisational Development & Fundraising Consultant (Ex Director of Plymouth Music Zone):

Ben has been working in the music education sector for the last 20 years. For the last 6 years, Ben was the Director of Plymouth Music Zone (PMZ), where he enabled the charity to develop into the largest community music organisation of its kind in the South West. He is an experienced initiator and manager of projects and during his tenure PMZ achieved wide recognition for its entrepreneurial approach to partnership work and the positive outcomes of this for children and young people. Since leaving Plymouth Music Zone, Ben is now working on a freelance basis providing development and funding consultancy to a wide range of music and arts based organisations, as well training and workshop related activity.

M & iCon: Second speaker announced - Ian Clethero

Ian Clethero

Managing Director Zone New Media Ltd

Specialises in the development of online information, publishing and communication for the music education sector. Publisher at Music Education UK (formerly Zone magazine, which he founded in 2001, and now about to be relaunched in print and on iPad) and founder of the MusicLearningLive series of national music education conferences.

M & iCon: First speaker announced

Simon Dutton

Managing Director of Paritor Ltd.

Working within the management side of music and performing arts education for the past 15 years, he has an exceptional knowledge of the way that music services operate. Continually looking to enhance the way that music services work and Paritor’s contribution to the music education world.

30 March 2011

Hints & Help: Instrument Hire/Loan dates

Hi all. The Hint and Help blog this week is a day early due to the fact that I will be out of the office tomorrow. The blog this week may not be relevant to all of you as it concerns instruments, however it is very important to clarify.

It was brought to my attention this week that the Instrument Hire/Loans have many dates and fields relating to the hire, specifically the Terminated date, the Agreement Ends date and the Returned date. These seem similar in name so it is important to explain the different functions and reasons for using each one.

the Termination Date is purely advisory, so that is the date that you expect the Instrument to be returned. the only thing that it affects is the report showing termination dates.

The Returned Date is the important one, that is the one you put in when you have the instrument in stock therefore ending the hire and making the instrument available for a new hire.

The Agreement End Date does not make the instrument available, but still stops billing the payer for the instrument hire. This would only be relevant in certain situations. For example if a pupil stops using the instrument and does not want to continue the hire, but instead of returning the instrument to you they gives the instrument to their Teacher or School, you would enter an Agreement End date, the Teacher/School will then return the instrument to be in stock and at that point you will enter a Returned Date.

I hope that you have found this blog helpful, if you have any thoughts or queries please feel free to comment or contact us on support@paritor.co.uk and 01395 445092. The Hint & Help blog will return next week. Thanks for reading.

25 March 2011

BMEF11: Bristol Music Educators Forum 2011

This month we attended the BMEF11, held in Bristol it was a fantastic event which touched upon the new funding and hubs. Here's a few pictures:

Henley Review - The Aftermath: Looking at the managment and administration side

In the world of music education, the Henley Review has taken central stage. With a total of 36 recommendations outlining clear changes that need to be made to music education in England in order to move forward. Here we look at the recommendations made on the management side:

Recommendation 11

Recommendation 11 is generally welcomed and it is felt that the role of inspection should be stronger. Jeremy Newton, Children & the Arts CEO. ‘Music education provision is definitely ‘patchy’ and there is a huge amount of regional variation. From our own perspective at Children & the Arts, we’ve found that there are areas with little or no adequate music education provision whilst neighbouring regions are musically thriving’.

It seems a remit that the government are keen to pursue. Therefore it is necessary that in reviewing these standards, more emphasis is given to the recording and reporting of how a child is progressing.

Jonathon Savage: ‘I welcome the expansion of Ofsted’s role (if it happens). Call me a heretic if you like, but I believe that Ofsted has had a role to play in improving our schools across the UK. Schools can’t claim all the credit. I have no reason to doubt that they will help improve the work of other agencies too.’

Although more control over the standards is welcomed there has been some backlash as to whether Ofsted are the correct body; are they too generalised? Should it be done by respected music educators? This is a debate that will need to be thrashed out in the coming months but whoever it is, they will need to be armed with the correct information and this is where modern technology plays an important role in the recording and reporting.

Recommendation 15

Recommendation 15 for administration and back office cost savings is one that hit home here at Paritor; it is true to our vision. In response, Jonathon Savage asks ‘It’s common sense really isn’t it?’ But if it is common sense why did Henley feel the need to mention it? Other responses have welcomed this recommendation under the current economic climate. Sometimes it isn’t possible to see the wood for the trees, if you’ve been doing something a certain way for a long time often no one stops to questions, ‘why do we do it like this? Is there a better way?’ And whilst it is possible to make cost savings through partnerships there are many ways in which people could make cost savings in their own establishment.


Recommendation 30, make yourself heard in the local community. There will only be an interest in your services if people know they exist. The lack of clear signposting was debated in GLA inaugural Music Education Summit 2010. Websites are a great way of keeping information up to date, and the general consensus was the the Local Authority should create an online ‘one stop shop’.

It will be even more important when there are more opportunities outside of the classroom for vocal & musical ensembles and live music.

Recommendations 33

The digital native generation are upon us and there is plenty of scope for new developments here, vital to the future but as of yet underexplored. This is the same for all aspects of music education. Jonathon Savage insists that technology should be added to the broader digital strategy for the organisation as a whole, he suggests that some of the most important areas which should also benefit are evaluation and marketing. At present it is recognised that there is a digital skills gap, but the arts council working with the BBC have recently announced Building Digital Capacity in the Arts programme partnership which is designed to work in this area.

Recommendation 14: Hub

Henley advocates that the local authority should be the lead organisation of the hub. However, in general this recommendation has been met with caution as many of the organisations have been here before and it hasn’t worked out. If the government takes up Henley’s recommendation, the local authority will need to work hard to ensure that it works. If done right, this would be a fantastic opportunity for music services to cement their role in music education.

Paritor joined the ‘I Value The Arts’ Campaign

It has taken 50 years to create a vibrant arts culture in Britain that is the envy of the world. The campaign has appealed to the government not to slash arts funding and risk destroying this long-term achievement and the social and economic benefits it brings to all.

Paritor join the Music Education Council

The Music Education Council is at the heart of music education in the UK. The MEC believes that integration and creativity are at the heart of music education alongside effective collaboration and partnerships.

This will give Paritor the chance to make an impact in the sector, and debate issues affecting music education by playing an active role in Council policy and decision making as well as keeping abreast of and contribute to developments in music education with colleagues from all sectors of music profession and industry across the UK.

It will also help to make representation and promote appropriate action at local, national and international level.

Paritor receive Microsoft recognition

Not only is Paritor in the process of being registered as a Microsoft Silver Certified Partner but we have also been invited to become a member of the Microsoft Research Panel.

The honorary status of membership on the research panel, will be unparalleled by the company. Not only will it keep the staff at the cutting edge of technological developments but it will also mean that Paritor will have an influential voice over future innovation, a powerful way of being able to present our thoughts and opinions.

The most important point is that it will allow us to keep our customers at the cutting edge of technology, providing them with the best software available.

24 March 2011

Music Education: Management and Innovation Conference 2011

This is a national conference and will focus on the relationship between new business practices and a future vision of music education management. It will take place over one day and bring together prominent leaders in both the field of music education and business in order to provide a comprehensive overview of this rapidly evolving area. The role of music services is changing with funding uncertain and the added opportunity of becoming the core of the music hub it is time to be equipped for the future. The aim of the conference is to present music services with the modern and innovative practices as well as a structure for management assisting them in their quest to future proof!

For more information please visit www.paritor.com or call us on 01395 445092.

Hints & Help: Setting up a School Billing Adjustment

The Hints and Help blog this week is all about setting up and applying a School Billing Adjustment to a school. A Billing Adjustment behaves similarly to a Credit, however it is applied directly to the School’s Record Card. It can be done in 4 easy steps.

1. Open a school record

The first step is to open up the School in in question’s Record Card.

Menu Bar -> Tuition -> Schools -> {Select School}

2. Create New School Billing Adjustment

The Billing Adjustment tab is to the right of the Ledger tab, from here you can see all Billing Adjustments applied to the school, you can edit any previous adjustments by selecting the adjustment and clicking the Edit School Billing Adjustment icon.

{Select School} -> Billing Adjustment -> New School Billing Adjustment


3. Specify Details

Get the adjustment you want from the available options


4. Click Apply Changes

Click Apply Changes to apply the Adjustment and then Save and Close.


Please note that the School Billing Adjustment will not take effect until you have Calculated School Billing and raised your Invoices.

I hope you found the blog informative. If you have any thoughts or queries please comment or contact us at Support@Paritor.co.uk or call 01395 445092.

Thanks for reading, the Hints and Help blog will return next week.

17 March 2011

Hints & Help: Subsidies and Invoices

I would like to start the Hints & Help blog this week by saying hello to our latest customers Swindon Music Service, who decided to join the Paritor group earlier this week. This is the first blog they will have read so I hope they find it useful! The subject this week is on Subsidies, setting them up and how they are shown on Invoices.

The first stage to applying a Subsidy to a pupil’s tuition is to set up the Subsidy itself, to do this you need to go to Finance on the Menu bar, click the Subsidy icon and click New Subsidy. The following box will appear:


Enter the name, select whether or not you want the Subsidy to be limited to a set number of terms and enter either a percentage or an amount.

Once this has been done you can apply this Subsidy to a pupil’s tuition, for more information on how to do this, contact Paritor Support and will send you a guide and talk you through the process.

Once the Subsidy has been applied you will be ready to do your billing. It is important to note that the Subsidy for the School is calculated after the Payer’s invoice has been raised. Therefore when you calculate School Billing, the Subsidy will not be shown on the charge until the Payer Billing has been calculated and the Invoice Raised. If you raise the School Invoice first the Subsidy WILL NOT SHOW!

If you have any queries or thoughts please comment, email support@paritor.co.uk or call us on 01395 445092. The Hints & Help Blog will return next week with more useful information.

10 March 2011

Hints & Help: Pupil Lesson Durations

Hi all, the Hints & Help Blog this week is based on a Support Ticket that raised a question that we all thought would be relevant to everyone else.

A customer noticed that, although lesson durations are certain amount, when you go to add a pupil to the activity the default pupil duration is not the same as the lesson’s. Should the duration on the pupil's record not automatically feed from the schedule?

The answer was as follows:

The default pupil duration is taken from the charge applied to them rather than the lesson duration.The reason is because the pupils sometimes are not in the lesson for the entire duration (e.g the lesson is 1 hour long but one pupil is in for the first 30 minutes and another is in for the remaining 30). It is also important to note that, although that is the default, it is still simple to manually change the duration per pupil.

I hope that you have found this week’s Hints & Help blog interesting, if you have any questions or thoughts please comment or email us at support@paritor.co.uk for more information.

Thanks for reading and the Hints & Help blog will return next week.

9 March 2011

Music - Oscar Wilde

"...music is the perfect type of art. Music can never reveal its ultimate secret. This, also, is the explanation of the value of limitations in art. The sculptor gladly surrenders imitative colour, and the painter the actual dimensions of form, because by such renunciations they are able to avoid too definite a presentation of the Real, which would be mere imitation, and too definite a realisation of the Ideal, which would be too purely intellectual. It is through its very incompleteness that art becomes complete in beauty, and so addresses itself, not to the faculty of recognition nor to the faculty of reason, but to the aesthetic sense alone, which,epting both reason and recognition as stages of apprehension, subordinates them both to a pure synthetic impression of the work of art as a whole, and, taking whatever alien emotional elements the work may possess, uses their very complexity as a means by which a richer unity may be added to the ultimate impression itself." - Oscar Wilde while accepting both reason and recognition as stages of apprehensions , subordinates them both to a pure synthetic impression of the work of art as a whole, and, taking whatever alien emotional elements the work may possess, uses their complexity as a means by which a richer unity may be added to the ultimate impression itself – Oscar Wildeepting both reason and recognition as stages of apprehension, subordinates them both to a pure synthetic impression of the work of art as a whole, and, taking whatever alien emotional elements the work may possess, uses their very complexity as a means by which a richer unity may be added to the ultimate impression itself." - Oscar Wilde

SOUND AND MUSIC SUMMER SCHOOL: A unique opportunity for young composers and creative musicians

Purcell School of Music, Hertfordshire, 31 July - 6 August 2011

Application deadline: Friday 29 April

“This course has changed my life! It’s opened me up to so many new things.”

“The summer school has shaped me as a composer.”

2010 participants

If you are aged between 14 and 18 and are into creating music, the Sound and Music Summer School could be the opportunity of a lifetime. It’s the only UK residential course of its kind for young composers and an inspiring week full of collaboration, fun, learning and creativity.

After the huge success of last year’s highly-oversubscribed course, we’re back to offer you the chance to put yourself forward for the Sound and Music Summer School 2011. It’ll give you the opportunity to work with composers and musicians from a wide variety of musical traditions, from classical and jazz to world and new media. From life-changing musical experiences to life-long friendships, there’s so much you can get out of the course.

We are looking for young composers* with talent, a commitment to creating your own music and a desire to learn more. If you think you fit the bill, go ahead and apply!

*By composer we mean anyone who creates their own original pieces of music. During the Summer School, participants need to be able to notate their pieces so that performers can play them, but notation can range from traditional western classical to chord charts and from graphic scores to text instructions.

To find out more, download the application form and watch videos: www.soundandmusicsummerschool.com

3 March 2011

Hints & Help: Capabilities of Paritor Insight

Hello all. The Hints & Help blog this week is a demonstration of our built in data manipulation tool – Paritor Insight.

This particular example comes from a Support Ticket raised this week by a customer keen to use the software to it’s full potential. This customer wanted to run a report to show the number of Pupil's who continued into small group/individual lessons following on from a KS2 Scheme last year.

The reply was as follows: Go to Pupils, Pupil Analysis and select KS2IVT. Select the pupils continuing analysis. Select the year and then click on start process. This will show all the pupils in Wider Opps and the last column will show if they have continued. If you click on the summary button (Sigma) on the penultimate column and select Average you will get the average continuation. You can then grab column headings to group by any and see the average for that group. So if you want to get the average continuation by gender drag the Gender column to the group area above. From here you could produce a report or any number of graphs and pie charts should you wish to.

Although the specific need issue raised in this ticket may not be relevant for everyone, the use of Paritor Insight definitely is. If you have questions or thoughts please comment or contact us on 01395 445092 or email support@paritor.co.uk.

The Hints & Help Blog will return next week. Thank you for reading.

2 March 2011

National Youth Jazz Collective summer school.

The National Youth Jazz Collective is delighted to launch its National Youth Jazz Summer School 2011, which will be held at the University of East Anglia from 14th August - 21st August 2011. The focus of the National Youth Jazz Summer School is to develop improvisatory and interactive skills within the context of small group playing, as well as offering a high level of performance experience and professional guidance.

Tutors for the 2011 summer school include NYJC’s Founder and Artistic Director Issie Barratt, Nic France, Nikki Iles, Mark Lockheart, Liam Noble, Jeremy Price, Nick Smart, Martin Speake and Mike Walker.

Auditions for the 2011 Summer School will be held between 2nd April and 1st May 2011 at various locations, and are open to young musicians who are aged 14 to 18 and living in England.

National Youth Jazz Summer School 2011 applications close on 11th March.

To apply online, or further details about the Summer School and the audition process check out our website at: www.nyjc.co.uk/summerschool.htm

For printed copies of our flyer or application form e-mail us on: summerschool@nyjc.co.uk

1 March 2011

Guest Blog: East Ayrshire Instrumental Music Service


Children traditionally learn to play a musical instrument one to one with a teacher – but a new full class method is earning top marks in a local school.

At Greenmill Primary in Cumnock, the whole class learns how to play instruments together as an orchestra – and it’s a beautiful noise!

The Greenmill Strings Project began in March 2010 as a joint venture between East Ayrshire Council, Drake Music and the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama (RSAMD)’s Musicworks programme, funded by the Scottish Arts Council.

The programme was designed to try out a full class approach to teaching children how to play stringed instruments – and to see if using special music notation Figurenotes would help speed up the process of learning to play and read music.

Music Leader Christopher Gray focused on working with two P3 classes for two 40-minute lessons per week.

Budding musicians were given violins, violas, cellos and double basses which were kept in school between lessons. This kept project costs down, as one set of instruments was used by both classes.

The pilot proved to be a roaring success. Students not only developed significant skills on their individual instruments, but also a broad knowledge of music. The kids raved about their experience and it was felt that the project positively enhanced the teamwork and behaviour of the whole class.

The project started up again with a new group of young music learners in September 2010. Lessons are provided weekly to the two new P3 classes, as well as continuing with last year’s two P3 classes (now P4).

Christine Wilson, Head Teacher, said: “The approach of the whole class lessons has built a real and meaningful community between class teacher, pupils and music instructor. This community is supportive and encouraging of each other and every challenge becomes everyone’s responsibility, whether it is a challenge faced by the whole class, or by one individual”.

Spokesperson for Lifelong Learning Councillor Jim Roberts said: “This new method of teaching strings to children in larger groups has proved to be very successful. Not only have the young musicians developed music-making skills – they have had the time of their lives playing and performing together”.

Christopher Gray said: “The classes have already been asked to perform at national events showcasing innovative and successful teaching approaches, as well as local events focusing on musical excellence.

“The project continues to be successful and it is hoped that it will eventually become not just a full class, but a full school initiative.”

For further information, contact Elaine Scott on 01563 576013 or email elaine.scott@east-ayrshire.gov.uk

Ensemble Embarks On Smartphone Technology

This term we have started the research and development for Android and iPhones. This technology will allow teachers to use their devices to update timesheets and registers, this will ultimately save the services time and money by reducing double entry and also allow the service to recieve the most up-to-date information.

3 New Music Services

This month alone we have secured contracts with 3 new music services including North Lincolnshire and Kirklees, totalling 9 this term. This shows that services are looking in more depth at their management and administration structure and the forward thinking services are putting steps in place to prepare themselves for the future.

Music Education:Management & Innovation Conference 2011

We are proud to announce that we will be hosting our Music Education: Management and Innovation Conference in May 2011. The event will be held at the Royal Opera House and is open to all music services. The focus will be on the management side of music education. The day will be jam packed with inspiring presentations from influential people with the sector. More info coming soon....

For more information or to book a place please visit www.paritor.com or email conference@paritor.co.uk.