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IMA in Media

Visiting the International Music Academy (On The Road, Stouffville municipal government publication)
Music and mathematics (On The Road, Stouffville municipal government publication, Mandarin edition)
International Music Academy opens Stouffville location (Stouffville Tribune)
International Music Academy opens new location in Stouffville (York Region News)

IMA Success Stories

IMA STUDENTS HAVE WON AWARDS AT THE PRESTIGIOUS 2020 INTERNATIONAL MUSIC FESTIVAL AND COMPETITION


IMFC Logo

The International Music Festival and Competition is an annual event that provides musicians of all ages with opportunities to perform, to conduct and to write music while receiving professional guidance by leading experts in the classical music industry.


GOLD MEDALLIONS
Aaron Dutta
Allyssa Talledo
Angélique Erry
Chantal Luo
Clarisse Lin
Daniel Yu
Emma Kang
Hanyu Zhang
Jaden Thomas
Jason Chen
Kelly Chen
Nicole Huang
Ryan Lam


SILVER MEDALLIONS
Aaron Dutta
Allyssa Talledo
Catherine James
Hanyu Zhang
Jaden Thomas
Kelly Chen
Lucy Zhao
Nicole Huang


BRONZE MEDALLIONS
Aaron Dutta
Giancarlo Montanaro
Hermes Chan
Jashvir Rathore
Jason Chen
Kevin Guo
Kyle Guo
Louis Chan
Reena Tamaran
Renjing Li


Congratulations to all students for their amazing achievement!





ROYAL CONSERVATORY OF MUSIC EXAMINATION (January 2020 session)


RCM Logo

The Royal Conservatory of Music January session examination results have been announced. Congratulations to the IMA students achieving considerably higher than the Provincial average marks, with distinction.



Student

Subject

Mark

Teacher

Savannah Dunberry

Level 8 Theory

92

Ms. Marina Grigorian

Felix Yu

Level 1 Piano

91

Ms. Winnie Hsieh

Elle Zhou

Level 1 Piano

87

Ms. Winnie Hsieh

Jonathan Wong

Level 1 Piano

86

Ms. Marina Grigorian

Priyanka Ragunathan

Level 8 Theory

86

Ms. Antonia deWolfe

Hayden Chin

Level 2 Piano

85

Ms.Winnie Hsieh

Catherine James

Level 1 Piano

84

Ms. Antonia deWolfe

Chantal Luo

Level 7 Piano

83

Ms. Antonia deWolfe

Elijah Gao

Level 1 Piano

82

Ms. Galyna Anno

Jackson Zhu

Level 3 Piano

82

Ms. Elena Eremeeva

Avni Prabhu

Level 1 Piano

80

Ms. Marina Grigorian

Aashika Eswarapatham

Level 3 Piano

80

Ms. Elena Eremeeva

Bethany Tse

Level 3 Piano

80

Ms. Antonia deWolfe

Thea Duggal

Level 3 Guitar

80

Mr. Ramon Taranco

Esther Lam

Level 4 Violin

80

Mr. Arpad Josephson




ROYAL CONSERVATORY OF MUSIC EXAMINATION (August 2019 session)


RCM Logo

The Royal Conservatory of Music August session examination results have been announced. Congratulations to the IMA students achieving considerably higher than the Provincial average marks, with distinction.



Student

Subject

Mark

Teacher

Ryan Lam

Preparatory A Piano

93

Ms. Dianne Hughes

Andrei Talledo

Preparatory B Piano

91

Ms. Suzanne Marfise

Jonathan Wang

Level 5 Flute

91

Ms. Leonid Sprikut

Nicole Huang

Level 1 Piano

89

Ms. Suzanne Marfise

Janessa Puyo

Level 2 Piano

85

Ms. Suzanne Marfise

Clarisse Lin

Level 5 Theory

84

Ms. Dianne Hughes

Angelique Erry

Level 4 Voice

84

Mr. Paul Williamson

Connor Lau

Preparatory Violin

84

Mr. Arpad Josephson

Angelina Kostantin

Level 2 Piano

83

Ms. Galyna Anno

Clarisse Lin

Level 8 Piano

83

Ms. Dianne Hughes

Allyssa Talledo

Level 1 Piano

81

Ms. Suzanne Marfise

Edwin Dong

Level 5 Piano

81

Ms. Suzanne Marfise

Theesik Aravinthan

Level 5 Piano

81

Ms. Suzanne Marfise

Reena Tamaran

Level 1 Piano

80

Ms. Winnie Hsieh

Arianna Jean Lagunzad

Level 2 Piano

80

Ms. Karina Shnayder

ADaniel Yu

Level 4 Piano

80

Ms. Karina Shnayder

Brandon Yin

Level 1 Piano

80

Ms. Antonia De Wolfe

Jason Chen

Level 8 Theory

80

Ms. Antonia De Wolfe




ROYAL CONSERVATORY OF MUSIC EXAMINATION (June 2019 session)


RCM Logo

The Royal Conservatory of Music June session examination results have been announced. Congratulations to the IMA students achieving considerably higher than the Provincial average marks, with distinction.



Student

Subject

Mark

Teacher

Thivya Jeyapalan

Level 8 Theory

92

Ms. Antonia de Wolfe

Isabelle Dasgupta

Level 1 Piano

90

Ms. Galyna Ammo

Emily Jong

Level 8 Theory

89

Ms. Marina Grigoryan

Priyanka Ragunathan

Level 7 Theory

88

Ms. Antonia de Wolfe

Louis Chan

Prep B Piano

86

Ms. Suzanne Marfise

Thea Duggal

Level 1 Guitar

85

Mr. Ramon Taranco

Hermes Chan

Prep B Piano

84

Ms. Suzanne Marfise

Jessica Wang

Level 6 Voice

81

Mr. Paul Williamson

Linda Liu

Level 4 Oboe

80

Mr. John Mills




IMA STUDENTS HAVE WON AWARDS AT THE PRESTIGIOUS 2019 INTERNATIONAL MUSIC FESTIVAL AND COMPETITION


IMFC Logo

The International Music Festival and Competition is an annual event that provides musicians of all ages with opportunities to perform, to conduct and to write music while receiving professional guidance by leading experts in the classical music industry.


GOLD MEDALLIONS
Aaron Chen
Carter Kawabata
Hayden Chin
Peter Morcos
Reese Bi
Rex Hakimi
Thea Duggal


SILVER MEDALLIONS
Aaron Dutta
Alex Reyes
Allyssa Talledo
Catherine James
Chris Wei
Derek Price
Huy Luong
Kelly Chen
Kyle Guo
Reese Bi


BRONZE MEDALLIONS
Renjing Li
Aaron Dutta
Alec Dong
Edwin Dong
Jason Chen
Kevin Guo
Kyle Guo
Kyra Sophie Oszlai
Nicole Huang
Reena Tamaran
Reese Bi
Renjing Li
Theesik Aravinthan


Congratulations to all students for their amazing achievement!





ROYAL CONSERVATORY OF MUSIC EXAMINATION (April 2019 session)


RCM Logo

The Royal Conservatory of Music April session examination results have been announced. Congratulations to the IMA students achieving considerably higher than the Provincial average marks, with distinction.



Student

Subject

Mark

Teacher

Aaron Dutta

Level 3 Piano

88

Ms. Lili Imastounian

Jerry Wong

Level 3 Piano

84

Ms. Lili Imastounian

Ethan Wong

Level 1 Piano

82

Ms. Lili Imastounian

Bethany Tse

Level 2 Piano

81

Ms. Antonia de Wolfe

Reese Bi

Level 5 Piano

81

Ms. Lili Imastounian

Henry Zheng

Level 2 Piano

81

Ms. Marina Grigoryan

Jonathan Wong

Prep B Piano

80

Ms. Marina Grigoryan




WINNERS OF THE 2019 KIWANIS FESTIVAL OF THE GREATER TORONTO AREA


toronto kiwanis festival

This year there were over 1,000 young musicians performing at the GTA Kiwanis Music Festival. Competitive as ever, the Festival was a great opportunity for our students to receive feedback on their studies from internationally renowned artists


Three of the International Music Academy (Markham) students have received the highest recognition and has been awarded First Place in the following categories:


Aaron Chen 1st place (Clarinet Grade 9)
Patrick Hu 1st place (Clarinet Grade 8)
Jeffrey Su - 1st place (Clarinet Grade 6)
Jonathan Wang 3rd place (Flute Grade 3)
Jalen Yang 3rd place (Clarinet Grade 8)


Jaffrey, Patrick and Aaron have also been selected to compete at the Ontario Provincial Finals in June. Congratulations to them all and many thanks to their teacher Mr. Leonid Sprikut for his continued dedication.




ROYAL CONSERVATORY OF MUSIC EXAMINATION (January 2019 session)


RCM Logo

The Royal Conservatory of Music January session examination results have been announced. Congratulations to the IMA students achieving considerably higher than the Provincial average marks, with distinction.



Student

Subject

Mark

Teacher

Kevin Guo

Level 10 Theory

95

Ms. Antonia de Wolfe

Jonathan Wong

Level 8 Theory

93

Ms. Suzanne Marfise

Daria Pryymak

Preparatory A Piano

90

Ms. Dianne Hughes

Angela Liang

Level 1 Vioce

88

Ms. Sara Chen

Jason Chen

Level 8 Piano

88

Ms. Antonia De Wolfe

Clarisse Lin

Level 7 Piano

84

Ms. Dianne Hughes

Avni Prabhu

Preparatory B Piano

83

Ms. Marina Grigoryan

Clara Kim

Level 8 Piano

83

Ms. Dianne Hughes

Thivya Jeyapalan

Level 8 Piano

80

Ms. Antonia De Wolfe




ROYAL CONSERVATORY OF MUSIC EXAMINATION (August 2018 session)


RCM Logo

The Royal Conservatory of Music August session examination results have been announced. Congratulations to the IMA students achieving considerably higher than the Provincial average marks, with distinction.



Student

Subject

Mark

Teacher

Renee White

Level 8 Theory

98

Ms. Antonia de Wolfe

Jonathan Yu Sing Wong

Preparatory A Piano

88

Ms. Marina Grigoryan

Bethany Tse

Level 1 Piano

88

Ms. Antonia De Wolfe

Rida Aftab

Level 5 Piano

87

Ms. Antonia De Wolfe

Esther Lam

Level 2 Violin

87

Mr. Arpad Josephson

Reena Tamanan

Preparatory B Piano

86

Ms. Marina Grigoryan

Janessa Puyo

Level 1 Piano

86

Ms. Suzanne Marfise

Carter Kawabata

Level 7 Piano

85

Ms. Lili Imastounian

Jenny Wang

Level 2 Piano

84

Ms. Suzanne Marfise

Eva Montanaro

Preparatory Violin

84

Mr. Arpad Josephson

Daniel Yu

Level 3 Piano

83

Ms. Suzanne Marfise

Alec Dong

Level 8 Piano

81

Ms. Suzanne Marfise

Isabelle Dasgupta

Preparatory B Piano

80

Ms. Galyna Anno

Anujan Kandasamy

Level 5 Piano

80

Ms. Lili Imastounian




ROYAL CONSERVATORY OF MUSIC EXAMINATION (June 2018 session)


RCM Logo

The Royal Conservatory of Music June session examination results have been announced. Congratulations to the IMA students achieving considerably higher than the Provincial average marks, with distinction.



Student

Subject

Mark

Teacher

Emily Jong

Level 7 Theory

94

Ms. Lili Imastounian

Arianna Lagunzad

Preparatory B Piano

93

Ms. Suzanne Marfise

Thivya Jeyapalan

Level 7 Theory

92

Ms. Antonia De Wolfe

Jonathan Wong

Level 7 Theory

92

Ms. Suzanne Marfise

Avni Prabhu

Preparatory A Piano

89

Ms. Marina Grigoryan

Priyanka Ragunathan

Level 5 Theory

88

Ms. Marina Grigoryan

Savannah Dunberry

Level 7 Theory

88

Ms. Marina Grigoryan

Shaelin Baldsing

Level 2 Piano

86

Ms. Marina Grigoryan

Jason Chen

Level 7 Piano

85

Ms. Antonia De Wolfe

Jeffrey Su

Level 4 Clarinet

84

Mr. Leonid Sprikut

Nitin Raj

Level 2 Piano

83

Ms. Marina Grigoryan

Jerry Wong

Level 2 Piano

83

Ms. Lili Imastounian

Jatynne Raj

Level 4 Piano

83

Ms. Marina Grigoryan

Rohin Furchner

Preparatory B Piano

80

Ms. Marina Grigoryan




ROYAL CONSERVATORY OF MUSIC EXAMINATION (April 2018 session)


RCM Logo

The Royal Conservatory of Music April session examination results have been announced. Congratulations to the IMA students achieving considerably higher than the Provincial average marks, with distinction.



Student

Subject

Mark

Teacher

Aryan Ihsan

Level 2 Piano

94

Ms. M. Grigoryan

Ava Ford

Prep B Piano

93

Ms. M. Grigoryan

Reena Tamanan

Prep A Piano

92

Ms. M. Grigoryan

Christina Tarla

Prep B Piano

92

Ms. M. Grigoryan




WINNERS OF THE 2018 KIWANIS FESTIVAL OF THE GREATER TORONTO AREA


toronto kiwanis festival

This year there were over 1,000 young musicians performing at the GTA Kiwanis Music Festival. Competitive as ever, the Festival was a great opportunity for our students to receive feedback on their studies from internationally renowned artists


Three of the International Music Academy (Markham) students have received the highest recognition and has been awarded First Place in the following categories:


Aaron Cheng – Clarinet (RCM Grade 8)
Patrick Hu – Clarinet (RCM Grade 7)
Jeffrey Su – Clarinet (RCM Grade 4)


Patrick and Aaron have also been selected to compete at the Ontario Provincial Finals in June. Congratulations to them all and many thanks to their teacher Mr. Leonid Sprikut for his continued dedication




ROYAL CONSERVATORY OF MUSIC EXAMINATION (January 2018 session)


RCM Logo

The Royal Conservatory of Music January session examination results have been announced. Congratulations to the IMA students achieving considerably higher than the Provincial average marks, with distinction.



Student

Subject

Mark

Teacher

Alex Reyes

Level 8 Theory

100

Ms. Antonia De Wolfe

Jonathan Wong

Level 6 Theory

94

Ms. Suzanne Marfise

Theesik Aravinthan

Level 2 Piano

88

Ms. Suzanne Marfise

April J Wei

Level 9 Piano

85

Ms. Suzanne Marfise

Jenny Wang

Level 1 Piano

83

Ms. Suzanne Marfise

Nancy Peter

Level 8 Theory

83

Ms. Antonia De Wolfe

Thivya Jeyapalan

Level 7 Piano

82

Ms. Antonia De Wolfe

Renee White

Level 7 Theory

82

Ms. Antonia De Wolfe

Carter Kawabata

Level 8 Theory

82

Ms. Lili Imastounian

Edwin Dong

Level 3 Piano

80

Ms. Suzanne Marfise




ROYAL CONSERVATORY OF MUSIC EXAMINATION (August 2017 session)


RCM Logo

The Royal Conservatory of Music August session examination results have been announced. Congratulations to the IMA students achieving considerably higher than the Provincial average marks, with distinction.



Student

Subject

Mark

Teacher

Christina Tarla

Preparatory A Piano

95

Ms. Marina Grigoryan

Nancy Peter

Level 6 Theory

92

Ms. Antonia de Wolfe

Adela Hua

History Level 10

91

Ms. Antonia de Wolfe

Daniel Yu

Level 1 Piano

91

Ms. Suzanne Marfise

Alec Dong

Level 8 Theory

90

Ms. Suzanne Marfise

Ava Ford

Preparatory A Piano

90

Ms. Marina Grigoryan

Rohin Furchner

Preparatory A Piano

90

Ms. Marina Grigoryan

Shaelin Baldsing

Level 1 Piano

88

Ms. Marina Grigoryan

Kyra Sophie Oazlai

Level 5 Theory

86

Ms. Antonia de Wolfe

Jatynne Raj

Level 3 Piano

83

Ms. Marina Grigoryan

Nitin Raj

Level 1 Piano

81

Ms. Marina Grigoryan

Holden Boutros

Level 3 Piano

80

Ms. Marina Grigoryan

Logan Boutros

Level 3 Piano

80

Ms. Marina Grigoryan




ROYAL CONSERVATORY OF MUSIC EXAMINATION (June 2017 session)


RCM Logo

The Royal Conservatory of Music June session examination results have been announced. Congratulations to the IMA students achieving considerably higher than the Provincial average marks, with distinction.



Student

Subject

Mark

Teacher

Deejesh Subramanian

Theory 8

94

Mr. Arpad Josephson

Savannah Dunberry

Theory 6

91

Ms. Marina Gregorian

Aryan Ihsan

Level 1 Piano

91

Ms. Marina Gregorian

Jashvir Rathore

Level 1 Clarinet

91

Mr. John Mills

Bernice Chung

Level 5 Theory

88

Mr. Arpad Josephson

Alexandra Lavric

Prep A Piano

88

Ms. Marina Grigoryan

Rex Hakimi

Prep A Piano

88

Ms. Marina Grigoryan

Henry Zheng

Prep B Piano

87

Ms. Marina Grigoryan

Carter Kawabata

Level 6 Piano

86

Ms. Lili Imastounian

Theesik Aravinthan

Level 1 Piano

84

Mrs. Suzanne Marfise

Alexandra Lavric

Level 1 Voice

81

Ms. Marina Grigoryan

Navid Pahlwan

Level 4 Piano

80

Mrs. Suzanne Marfise

Chloe Ip

Level 8 Piano

80

Ms. Antonia DeWolfe

Emily Jong

Level 6 Theory

80

Ms. Marina Grigoryan

Garrett Kawabata

Level 9 Piano

80

Ms. Lili Imastounian

Rex Hakimi

Level 1 Voice

80

Ms. Marina Grigoryan




ROYAL CONSERVATORY OF MUSIC EXAMINATION (January 2017 session)


RCM Logo

The Royal Conservatory of Music January session examination results have been announced. Congratulations to the IMA students achieving considerably higher than the Provincial average marks, with distinction.



Student

Subject

Mark

Teacher

Alec Dong

Theory Level 6

94

Ms. Suzanne Marfise

Deejesh Subramanian

Theory Level 6

90

Mr. Arpad Josephson

Emma Grace Ortiz

Level 3 Violin

90

Ms. Salome Legemaate

Alex Reyes

Level 10 Piano

84

Ms. Antonia de Wolfe

Anya Pooran

Level 1 Violin

84

Ms. Salome Legemaate




ROYAL CONSERVATORY OF MUSIC EXAMINATION (August 2016 session)


RCM Logo

The Royal Conservatory of Music August session examination results have been announced. Congratulations to the IMA students achieving considerably higher than the Provincial average marks, with distinction.



Student

Subject

Mark

Teacher

Emma Grace Ortiz

Grade 1 Violin

90

Ms. Salome Legemaate

Aryan Ihsan

Prep B Piano

86

Ms. M. Grigoryan

Jatynne Raj

Grade 2 Piano

86

Ms. M. Grigoryan

Shaelin Baldsing

Prep B Piano

85

Ms. M. Grigoryan

Dailiang Chen

Grade 2 Piano

83

Ms. M. Grigoryan

Nitin Raj

Prep B Piano

82

Ms. M. Grigoryan

James Au

Prep B Piano

82

Ms. M. Grigoryan

Jonathan Wong

Grade 1 Guitar

81

Mr. Ramon Taranco

Celina M Mekhail

Grade 5 Voice

80

Mr. Justin Walsh




ROYAL CONSERVATORY OF MUSIC EXAMINATION (June 2016 session)


RCM Logo

The Royal Conservatory of Music June session examination results have been announced. Congratulations to the IMA students achieving considerably higher than the Provincial average marks, with distinction.



Student

Subject

Mark

Teacher

Alec Dong

Theory Basic

97

Ms. Suzanne Marfise

Olivia Maveal

Theory Basic

97

Ms. Marina Grigoryan

Rhea Pai

Theory Basic

97

Ms. Antonia De Wolfe

Savannah Dunberry

Theory Basic

95

Ms. Marina Grigoryan

Linda Gu

Theory Basic

95

Ms. Antonia De Wolfe

Bernice Wu

Theory Advanced

92

Ms. Marina Grigoryan

Aaron Chen

Grade 6 Clarinet

89

Mr. Leonid Sprikut

Evelyne Jurca

Theory Intermediate

87

Ms. Antonia De Wolfe

Jackie Xu

Grade 8 Clarinet

80

Mr. Leonid Sprikut




ROYAL CONSERVATORY OF MUSIC EXAMINATION (April 2016 session)


RCM Logo

The Royal Conservatory of Music April session examination results have been announced. Congratulations to the IMA students achieving considerably higher than the Provincial average marks, with distinction.



Student

Subject

Mark

Teacher

Darius Bonakdar

Grade 3 Piano

87

Ms. Katherine Cao

Carter Kawabata

Grade 5 Piano

85

Ms. Lili Imastounian

Teresa (Yuxuan) Peng

Grade 9 Piano

83

Ms. Lili Imastounian

Mutian Liu

Grade 7 Piano

82

Ms. Antonia de Wolfe




THE INTERNATIONAL MUSIC ACADEMY HAS WON THE 2016 CONSUMER CHOICE AWARD FOR BEST PRIVATE MUSIC SCHOOL IN YORK REGION.


Consumer choice 2016

Consumer Choice Award was established in 1987 and is considered to be the most distinguished award for business excellence in Canada.


This is the second time the International Music Academy has won the Consumer Choice Award for best private music school, within the past 5 years.


In his congratulatory letter to the International Music Academy Faculty and Staff, Mr. Marcl Sbrollini, President of the Consumer Choice Award wrote:


“… the consumers and the business in your community have selected you as the top-ranked organization in your industry. You are now part of a very select group of business owners and entrepreneurs recognized for their business excellence in the GTA.”


Official Announcement of the Award was made on February 4, 2016 in Le Parc Centre in Richmond Hill.


Warmest thanks to our students, their parents and all clients for their confidence in the International Music Academy. Congratulations to all teachers and staff for their dedication and work at the highest international standards.




ROYAL CONSERVATORY OF MUSIC EXAMINATION (January 2016 session)


RCM Logo

The Royal Conservatory of Music January session examination results have been announced. Congratulations to the IMA students achieving considerably higher than the Provincial average marks, with distinction.



Student

Subject

Mark

Teacher

Emily Jong

Harmony I

97

Ms. Marina Grigoryan

Joy Wu

Theory III

95

Ms. Katherine Cao

Michael Lee

Theory III

88

Ms. Marina Grigoryan

Labros Spandonidis

Grade 4 Piano

84

Ms. Antonia de Wolfe

Celina Mekhail

Grade 3 Voice

81

Mr. Justin Welsh




ROYAL CONSERVATORY OF MUSIC EXAMINATION (August 2015 session)


RCM Logo

The Royal Conservatory of Music August session examination results have been announced. Congratulations to the IMA students achieving considerably higher than the Provincial average marks, with distinction.



Student

Subject, Grade

Mark

Teacher

Jatynne Raj

Grade 1 Piano

86

Ms. Lili Imastounian

Mishani Tan

Preparatory Violin

81

Mr. Arpad Josephson

Adela Hua

Basic Harmony

80

Ms. Suzanne Marfise




ROYAL CONSERVATORY OF MUSIC EXAMINATION (June 2015 session)


RCM Logo

The Royal Conservatory of Music June session examination results have been announced. Congratulations to the IMA students achieving considerably higher than the Provincial average marks, with distinction.



Student

Subject, Grade

Mark

Teacher

Kyra Sophie Oszlai

Grade 2 Piano

93

Ms. Antonia de Wolfe

Kyra Sophie Oszlai

Grade 1 Guitar

86

Mr. Ramon Taranco

Adela Hua

Grade 5 Trumpet

83

Mr. Leonid Sprikut




WINNERS OF THE 2015 KIWANIS FESTIVAL OF THE GREATER TORONTO AREA


toronto kiwanis festival

This year there were over 1,000 young musicians performing at the GTA Kiwanis Music Festival. Competitive as ever, the Festival was a great opportunity for our students to receive feedback on their studies from internationally renowned artists.


Three of the International Music Academy (Markham) students have received the highest recognition and has been awarded First Place in the following categories:


Richard Zhang – 1st Award (RCM clarinet, Grade 7)
Jackie Xu - 1st Award (RCM clarinet, Grade 6)
Katherine Lee – 1st Award (RCM clarinet, Grade 3)
Garrett Kawabata – Silver Award (RCM piano, Grade 8)
Garrett Kawabata – Silver Award (RCM piano, Grade 7)
Karter Kawabata – Bronze Award (RCM piano, Grade 4)



ROYAL CONSERVATORY OF MUSIC EXAMINATION (January 2015 session)


RCM Logo

The Royal Conservatory of Music January session examination results have been announced. Congratulations to the IMA students achieving considerably higher than the Provincial average marks, with distinction.



Student

Subject, Grade

Mark

Teacher

Anjali Mistry

Music Theory II

93

Ms. Suzanne Marfise

Michael Lee

Music Theory II

92

Ms. Marina Grigoryan

David Yap

Grade 2 Violin

92

Ms. Marina Grigoryan

Alena Parkinson

Grade 6 Piano

84

Ms. Antonia de Wolfe

Kyra Sophie Oszlai

Grade 1 Piano

83

Ms. Antonia de Wolfe

Kyle Omari Miller

Grade 1 Piano

80

Ms. Antonia de Wolfe




ROYAL CONSERVATORY OF MUSIC EXAMINATION (January 2015 session)


RCM Logo

The Royal Conservatory of Music January session examination results have been announced. Congratulations to the IMA students achieving considerably higher than the Provincial average marks, with distinction.



Student

Subject, Grade

Mark

Edward Tang

Theory Advanced

93

Labros Spandonidis

Grade 1 Piano

91

Rida Aftab

Grade 1 Piano

87

Kayvon Najibzadeh

Grade 1 Piano

83

Matthew Finn

Grade 2 Piano

81

Jackie Xu

Grade 4 Clarinet

80

Tiger Zhao

Grade 8 Saxophone

80




ROYAL CONSERVATORY OF MUSIC EXAMINATION (June 2014 session)


RCM Logo

The Royal Conservatory of Music June session examination results have been announced. Congratulations to the IMA students achieving considerably higher than the Provincial average marks, with distinction.



Student

Subject, Grade

Mark

Brenda Liu

Theory Basic

93

Rishi Bhuwan

Grade 3 Trumpet

86

Garrett Kawabata

Grade 4 Violin

80

Noah Mathew

Grade 2 Piano

80




ROYAL CONSERVATORY OF MUSIC EXAMINATION (January 2014 session)


RCM Logo

The Royal Conservatory of Music January session examination results have been announced. Congratulations to the IMA students achieving considerably higher than the Provincial average marks, with distinction.



Student

Subject, Grade

Mark

Tiger Zhao

Theory Advanced

93

Garrett Kawabata

Theory Intermediate

91

Carter Kawabata

Grade 3 Piano

87

Matthew Finn

Grade 1 Piano

83

Garrett Kawabata

Grade 6 Piano

82

David Yap

Grade 1 Violin

80

Ethan Jong

Grade 2 Piano

80




ROYAL CONSERVATORY OF MUSIC EXAMINATION (August 2013 session)


RCM Logo

The Royal Conservatory of Music August session examination results have been announced. Congratulations to the IMA students achieving considerably higher than the Provincial average marks, with distinction.



Student

Subject, Grade

Mark

Edward Tang

Theory Intermediate

99

Rishi Bhuwan

Grade 1 Trumpet

90

Sharon Cheung

Grade 2 Flute

87

Tiger Zhao

Grade 6 Saxophone

86

Olivia Xu

Grade 4 Violin

86

Chloe Cheung

Grade 2 Flute

85

Noah Mathew

Grade 1 Piano

80

Rachel Tang

Grade 7 Piano

80




ROYAL CONSERVATORY OF MUSIC EXAMINATION (June 2013 session)


RCM Logo

The Royal Conservatory of Music June session examination results have been announced. Congratulations to the IMA students achieving considerably higher than the Provincial average marks, with distinction.



Student

Subject, Grade

Mark

Anjali Mistry

Theory Basic

99

Odosa Obasuyi

Grade 1 piano

89

Michael Lee

Theory Basic

88

Zahra Mustansir

Grade 1 piano

84

Niral Mistry

Grade 2 Clarinet

83

Michael Cheng

Grade 2 Flute

81

Janis Cheng

Grade 2 Flute

81

Vincent Poon

Grade 4 Violin

80




ROYAL CONSERVATORY OF MUSIC EXAMINATION (April 2013 session)


RCM Logo

The Royal Conservatory of Music April session examination results have been announced. Congratulations to the IMA students achieving considerably higher than the Provincial average marks, with distinction.



Student

Subject, Grade

Mark

Chloe Tam

Grade 3 Piano

85

Adit Krishnan

Grade 3 Piano

82

Jessica Facchini

Grade 2 Piano

82

Alexander Nielsen

Grade 2 piano

80

Mariah A Brown

Grade 5 Piano

80




THE DJOGO BROTHERS HAVE WON THREE FIRST AWARDS AT THE 2013 NORTH YORK MUSIC COMPETITION

Gligor Djogo (clarinet) has won a first place in the category of ARCT Performance at the North York Music Competition for playing Mozart’s Concerto for clarinet and orchestra. His younger brother, Novak Djogo (flute), has won a first award and Radomir Djogo (trumpet) has won a first award as well. All three boys are students of Mr. Leonid Sprikut. Congratulations on their excellent performances and all the best in their future music-related endeavours.




Nicole Lazarovsky and Deven Chakravorty have won prestigious awards at the 2012 North York Music Festival.

May 2012. North York Music Festival was created in 2010 and has quickly gained popularity due to its professional adjudicators and non-competitive environment. Nicole Lazarovsky (voice) and Deven Chakravorty (voice) have won second award at the 2012 North York Music Festival.




The International Music Academy students were invited by the Toronto Maple Leafs to sing the Canadian national anthem at the opening of the hockey game of the Toronto Marlies vs the American Grand Rapids Griffins (AHL).

April 2012. Eighteen IMA students took part in this prestigious event, held on April 7, 2012 at Ricoh Coliseum 9,500-seat stadium. To our pleasure, the Marlies have won the game, 45 seconds into overtime with 3-2. To watch a short documentary in HD, click on the image below.




iMA students have won great awards at the 2012 Markham Euromusic piano competition

April 2012.The Markham Music Festival is also known as the Euromusic Piano Competition. It has been created in 1994 and is sponsored by TD Canada Trust. The competition is for young pianists only and is based on the Royal Conservatory of Music curriculum. It is also one of the most serious piano competitions in the GTA. Congratulations on excellent performances to:


Gwyneth Poon (Second Award in RCM Grade 7 class)
Parthee Bala (Second Award in RCM Grade 3 class)

Warmest thanks to their teachers for inspiring our young pianists and guiding them to the highest achievements as well as to their families for their continuous support.




iMA students have achieved spectacular success at 2012 Kiwanis Music Festival.

March 2012. Six students from the International Music Academy have competed with hundreds of participants from the Greater Toronto Area at the 2012 Kiwanis Music Festival. All have won prestigious awards in various categories. Congratulations on their outstanding performances to:


Marcel Short (Gold Award in RCM Grade 2 clarinet class)
Radomir Djogo (Gold Award in RCM Grade 2 trumpet class)
Novak Djogo (Gold Award in RCM Grade 6 flute class)
Garrett Kawabata (Gold Award in RCM Grade 4 piano class)
Carter Kawabata (Gold Award in RCM Grade 2 piano class)
Matthew Wong (Gold Award in RCM Grade 7 violin class)
Gligor Djogo (Silver Award in RCM Grade 9 clarinet class)
Mihai Lungu (Silver Award in RCM Grade 2 trumpet class)

Warmest thanks to their teachers for inspiring our young musicians and guiding them to the highest achievements as well as to their families for their continuous support.




Marina Wai, a student at the International Music Academy, has been awarded the 2011 Gold Medal for the highest mark (96) in Grade 4 piano examination in Ontario.

February 2012. An international leader in the fields of music education and performance training, The Royal Conservatory is celebrating its 125th Anniversary this year with the introduction of the combined Convocation and Gold Medal Awards Ceremony. Gold Medals are awarded each academic year, September 1 to August 31, by province or region, to candidates who have obtained the highest marks for practical examinations in each discipline, Grades 1 through ARCT. In order to be eligible for these awards, recipients must have obtained a minimum mark of 80% on their practical examination and have completed the theory requirements for their grade.

On behalf of The Royal Conservatory, we cordially invite you to the 2011 Ontario and Quebec Convocation and Gold Medal Awards Ceremony in Toronto to celebrate excellence in music with the community of Gold Medal Teachers and Medalists this year. The 2011 Ontario and Quebec Convocation and Gold Medal Ceremony wil take place on February 12, 2012 at 2:00 p.m. at Koerner Hall, The Royal Conservatory, The TELUS Centre for Performance and Learning at 273 Bloor Street West, Toronto, ON M5S 1W2.




Nine IMA students have received a mark over 80 at the Royal Conservatory of Music January 2012 examination session.

Matthew Wong (grade 7 violin)
Edward Tang (grade 4 piano)
Mary Christidis (grade 3 harmony)
Katryna Durfy Weir (grade 2 rudiments)
Madura Muraleetharan (grade 2 voice)
Samantha Fung (grade 1violin)
Niral Mistry (grade 1 piano)
Timothe Noche (grade 1 violin)
Olivia Xu (grade 1 violin)



14 students from York Region have won the Kindred Spirits Orchestra 2011 Broadway Kids Live! auditions.

The Kindred Spirits Orchestra under the Honorary Patronage of Mayor Frank Scarpitti of Markham is pleased to announce the winners of the 2011 Broadway Kids Live! Auditions. Broadway Kids Live! is a new programme created by the Kindred Spirits Orchestra that is designed to provide children with opportunities to acquire important skills in singing, acting, dancing, working with conductor, and performing in front of a large audience. From 115 applications received, 55 children from York Region were invited to audition live in Markham and another 23, in Toronto. During the live auditions, a panel of judges led by Maestro Kristian Alexander, Music Director of the Kindred Spirits Orchestra, looked for a particular blend of vocal, acting, and dancing skills, as related to a pre-determined list of characters that will later be included in the show. A final cast of 14 children was selected to perform live on stage of Markham Theatre for the Performing Arts on May 6, 2012:

- Aneesah Bari (Stouffville)
- Ayla Neumann (New Market)
- Candace Santos (Mississauga)
- Celeste McGill (Maple)
- Deven Chakravorty (Markham)
- Faith Rauen (Unionville)
- Glenn Edward Montera (Toronto)
- Isabelle Duchene (New Market)
- Leya Herschel (Markham)
- Lia Luz (Scarborough)
- Luka Mihajlovi (Markham)
- May He Tessoro (Unionville)
- Nicole Lazarovski (Markham)
- Samantha Waller (Richmond Hill)



iMA students have won the highest awards in the GTA at the 2011 Kiwanis Music Festival

16 students from the International Music Academy have competed with thousands of participants from the GreateToronto Area at the 2011 Kiwanis Music Festival. All have won prestigious awards in various categoriesCongratulations on their outstanding performances to:

- Stella Schneckenburger (Piano solo RCM Grade 3) - Gold Award and Best in Class
- Garrett Kawabata (Piano solo Sonatinas) - Gold Award and 1st place
- Celia Tang (Clarinet solo RCM Grade 10) - Gold Award and 1st place
- Sharon Wong (Piano solo RCM Grade 7) - Gold Award and 2nd place
- Ryan Xu (Piano solo RCM Grade 1) - Gold Award and 2nd place
- Carter Kawabata (Piano solo RCM Grade 2) - Gold Award and 3rd place
- Marina Wai (Piano solo RCM Grade 6) - Gold Award and 3rd place
- Michael Xu (Piano solo RCM Grade 4) - Gold Award
- Gwyneth Poon (Piano solo RCM Grade 5) - Gold Award
- Daniel Joanes (Piano solo RCM Grade 2) - Gold Award
- Julie-Anne Boucher (Violin solo RCM Grade 7) - Gold Award
- Hansel Lui (Violin solo RCM Grade 3) - Silver Award
- Daniel Joanes (Piano solo RCM Grade 2) - Silver Award
- Garrett Kawabata (Piano solo RCM Grade 3) - Silver Award
- Johnson Zheng (Piano solo RCM Grade 2) - Silver Award
- Martin Tuzin (Piano solo RCM Grade 6) - Silver Award
- Katherine Lee (Piano solo RCM Grade 4) - Silver Award
- Jobert Sevilleno (Voice solo) - Bronze Award and 2nd place



2010 Richmond Hill Music Festival has brought more awards to iMA students.

Three voice students from the clas of Ms. Helena Holl have won a Silver Award at the 2010 Richmond Hill Music Festival. Congratulations to:

- Leya Herschel (Italian Art Song)
- Nicole Lazarovsky (Broadway Musical)
- Jobert Sevilleno (Open class)



International Music Academy has sponsored the educaiton of 4 children in Peru

Through a collaboration with AYNI, the International Music Academy has assisted 4 children in Peru with the purchase of books and educational materials required for one year of studies. Watch a video about this exciting partnership in gallery.




Great success at the 2010 North York Music Festival

The North York Music Festival (formerly NYCO Music Festival) has brought another wave of great success to our students, especially those who competed in the vocal classes. Congratulations to:


Stephanie CommarasanaGOLD Award (saxophone)
Leya HerschelGOLD Award (voice)
Philip HuynhGOLD Award (voice)
Charina AlducenteSILVER Award (voice)
Nicole LazarovskiSILVER Award (voice) and BRONZE Award (voice)
Nicole JaskotSILVER Award (voice)
Garett KawabataSILVER Award (piano)
Aneesah BariBRONZE Award (voice)


Special thanks to their teachers Ms. Helena Holl (voice), Ms. Mao Ke (voice), Ms. Priscila Coelho (voice, piano), Mr. Leonid Sprikut (woodwinds), and Ms. Lili Imastounian (piano).




More awards from the 2010 Markham Euromusic piano competition

The Markham Music Festival is well known as the Euromusic Piano Competition. It has been created in 1994 and is sponsored by TD Canada Trust. The competition is for young pianists only and is based on the Royal Conservatory of Music curriculum. It is also one of the most serious piano competitions in the GTA. Congratulations on excellent performances to:


Gwyneth Poon (First Award in RCM Grade 3 Sonatina class)
Sindu Karunaharan (Second Award in RCM Grade 3 contemporary piece class)
Katherine Lee (Third Award in RCM Grade 3 contemporary piece class)


Warmest thanks to their teachers for inspiring our young pianists and guiding them to highest achievements. Best regards to the families for their continuous support.




iMA students have won 11 GOLD awards at the 2010 Kiwanis Music Festival

Congratulations to the following students:


Gligor Djogo (GOLD Award), clarinet RCM Grade 8
Cameron Lee (GOLD Award), violin RCM Grade 8
Matthew Wong (GOLD Award), violin RCM Grade 6
Maggie Chie (GOLD Award), saxophone RCM Grade 6
Amanda Mac (GOLD Award), piano RCM Grade 5
Novak Djogo (GOLD Award), flute RCM Grade 4
Ameen Meshkat (GOLD Award), saxophone RCM Grade 4
Tiger Zhao (GOLD Award), saxophone RCM Grade 1
Jeffrey Li (GOLD Award), Guitar RCM Grade 1
Michael Xu (GOLD Award), piano RCM Introductory Grade
Michelle Yu (GOLD Award), voice Musical theatre
Andrea Wong (SILVER Award), violin RCM Grade 6
Martin Tuzim (SILVER Award), piano RCM Grade 5
Jamal Virani (SILVER Award), voice Musical theatre
Cathy Shen (BRONZE Award), voice Grand Opera




iMA students have won awards at the 2009 Richmond Hill Music Festival

Congratulations on successful performances to:


Lucy Yi (double bass) - 1st place (class DB5)
Nicole Jaskot (voice) - 2nd place (class VO3)
Michelle Yu (voice) - 3rd place (class VO5)




iMA has won the 2008 Consumers' Choice Award for best music school in the GTA

The International Music Academy has won the 2008 Consumers' Choice Award for best music school in the GTA. We have won in all categories of "consumers satisfaction", "quality of education", "programmes and services", "learning and teaching environment", "management", "music festivals and competitions", and overall "business excellence". The official award ceremony was recorded on June 2, 2008 by CTV for future release.

The Consumers' Choice Award is considered the seal of excellence. For recipients the award not only constitutes the crowning achievement of their efforts, but more importantly it also represents the most valuable reward of all, the knowledge that they have earned the trust and loyalty of consumers.

The International Music Academy Faculty, Staff, and Management would like to thank all students and their families for their continuous support and for voting us the best music school in the Great Toronto Area.




iMA student has won Second Award on the Ontario Provincial Music Competition

Xianxin Du was selected to represent the GTA at the Ontario Provincial Competition (in the category of brass instruments). He competed with other candidates from all major cities in Ontario and has won the Second Award. This has been very fruitful year for Xianxin. He has also won a SILVER medal from the Royal Conservatory of Music and a Second Award from the Kiwanis Music Competition. Congratulations on your great achievements!




iMA students have won great awards at the prestigious Kiwanis Music Competition.

The International Music Academy Faculty and Staff congratulate the following students on their outstanding performance:


Ryan Ip (violin) – First Award (RCM 9 Violin sonata)
Ryan Ip (violin) – First Award (RCM 9 Violin concerto)
Renée Ly (piano) – First Award (RCM 4, List A)
Diane Tam (violin) – First Award (RCM 3, List C)

Xianxin Du (trumpet) – Second Award (RCM 9, List B)
Ryan Ip (violin) – Second Award (Bach solo sonata)
Clemence Tam (violin) – Second Award (RCM 4, List A)
Renée Ly (piano) - Second Award (RCM 4, List B)
Diane Tam (violin) – Second Award (RCM 3, List A)
Ranjith Ranganathan (guitar) – Second Award (RCM 1, List A)
Anna Wong (violin) – Second Award (RCM 2, List A)
Daniella Pisciola (piano) – Second Award (RCM i, List A)
John Mamatis (piano) – Second Award (RCM 1, List B)

Clemence Tam (violin) – Third Award (RCM 4, List C)
Aaron Wong (piano) – Third Award (RCM 4, List B)
Matthew Wong (violin) – Third Award (RCM 4, List A)
Maria Pin (violin) – Third Award (RCM 4, Violin Studies)
Stanley Yeung (trumpet) – Third Award (RCM 4, List B)
Amanda Mac (piano) – Third Award (RCM 2, List B)
Serena Sgandurra (piano) – Third Award (RCM 1, List A)
Ganesh Santhananthan (saxophone) – Third Award (RCM 2)


Congratulations go also to the following students for their excellent performance. They all have put a lot of time and energy and have achieved great results: Cameron Lee (violin), Hayson Ko (violin), Stanley Yeung (piano), Sunny Yeung (piano), Chelsea Dumasal (piano), Ellie Mamatis (piano).


We would also like to thank the teachers Mr. Leonid Sprikut, Mrs. Svetlana Koroleva, Mrs. Irina Pechkina, Mrs. Olga Polikarpova, and Mr. Rizgar Al-Timary for their professionalism and dedication.


The Kiwanis Music Competition is the oldest in Canada and is a member of the Kiwanis International that was founded in 1915 with the goal to "change the world one child and one community at a time".




7 GOLD, 9 SILVER, and 6 BRONZE medals for iMA students

Arts Richmond Hill was founded in 1979 as a community based Arts Council whose mandate is the advancement of arts and culture through promotion, awareness, and education. Every year hundreds of students participate in a Music competition based on the Royal Conservatory of Music curricula and examination requirements. During the last weekend of November 2007 iMA students competed in several classes for piano, violin, trumpet, flute, and voice. The winners of this year Richmond Hill Music Competition are:


Aaron Wong, GOLD medal (piano, P13)
Alexander Volkov, GOLD medal (violin, VN25)
Alexander Volkov, GOLD medal (violin, VN27)
Hayson Ko, GOLD medal (violin, VN19)
Serena Sgandurra, GOLD medal (piano, P4)
Stanley Yeung, GOLD medal (trumpet, TU3)
Xianxin Du, GOLD medal (trumpet, TU5)

Aaron Wong, SILVER medal (piano, P11)
Alexander Volkov, SILVER medal (violin, VN24)
Alexander Volkov, SILVER medal (violin, VN26)
Anna Djalilvand, SILVER medal (violin, VN9)
Anna Djalilvand, SILVER medal (violin, VN11)
Deanna Rudiak, SILVER medal (violin, P18)
Diane Tam, SILVER medal (violin, VN9)
Hayson Ko, SILVER medal (piano, VN18)
Serena Sgandurra, SILVER medal (piano, P3)

Anna Djalilvand, BRONZE medal (violin, VN10)
Anna Wong, BRONZE medal (violin, VN6)
Diane Tam, BRONZE medal (violin, VN10)
Diane Tam, BRONZE medal (violin, VN11)
Hayson Ko, BRONZE medal (violin, VN20)
Jonathan Matta, BRONZE medal (piano, P2)




iMA students have received the highest award of the Royal Conservatory of Music.

Every academic year the Royal Conservatory of Music awards SILVER medals to students who have achieved the highest marks on their combined practical and theory examinations. Only one student per grade (1 through 10) would receive the SILVER medal award in the province of Ontario. The GOLD award is given only to accomplished students at the Artist Diploma (ARCT) level.

We are proud to announce that this year the Royal Conservatory of Music has awarded SILVER Medals to two iMA students:

Alexander Volkov, a 12 years old violinist who has achieved 94% on his Grade 7 violin and 99% on his Theory 2 examinations; and
Xianxin Du, a 18 years old trumpeter who has achieved 92% on his Grade 8 trumpet and 99% on his Theory 2 examinations.


The International Music Academy is thrilled that Alexander and Xianxin are both the only students from the province of Ontario who have been awarded the RCM SILVER Medal this year.Congratulations and warmest thanks to their families and to the devoted IMA teachers for this great achievement. The Award Ceremony will be held on Sunday, November 25, 2007 at 2:00 p.m. at The Glenn Gould Studio, 250 Front Street in Toronto.




The 2007 Euromusic Competition has brought great success to the iMA

Aaron Wong, winner of two Bronze Awards in groups of 12 and of 9 competitors.
Aaron Wong
Sarika Chakravorty, winner of the Bronze Award in a group of 16 competitors.
Sarika Chakravorty

The Markham Music Festival is well known as the Euromusic Piano Competition. It has been created in 1994 and is sponsored by TD Canada Trust. The competition is for young pianists only and is based on the Royal Conservatory of Music curriculum. It is also one of the most serious piano competitions in the GTA.


The iMA Faculty and Staff would like to congratulate the following students for their spectacular success at the Euromusic Piano Competition:


Aaron Wong, winner of two BRONZE Awards in groups of 12 and of 9 competitors;
Sarika Chakravorty, winner of the BRONZE Award in a group of 16 competitors;
Suzette Marie Cameron and Rochelle White for their outstanding performance.




Xianxin Du has won the Kiwanis Music Foundation 2007 Scholarship

Xianxin Du, winner ot the Kiwanis Music Foundation 2007 Scholarship
Xianxin Du

iMA student Xianxin Du has won the prestigious Kiwanis Music Foundation 2007 Scholarship. He has competed at the Kiwanis Music Competition and is the only trumpeter in the GTA who has been given this award. In a personal letter to Xianxin, Ms. Pan Allen, General Manager of the Kiwanis Music Festival, wrote:


“Congratulations on your outstanding performance at the 2007 Kiwanis Music Festival of Greater Toronto! In recognition of your talent and hard work, our team of adjudication has chosen to award you with the Kiwanis Club of Toronto Foundation Award. The Kiwanis Music Festival of Greater Toronto hopes that you use this award toward the further development of your talent.”

The iMA Faculty and Staff are very happy of Xianxin’s success. He is currently preparing for his RCM Grade 8 examination in June. You can hear him playing at one of the iMA students’ recitals in May and at the iMA Annual Concert on June 24th.




The International Music Academy has sponsored world famous conductor Benjamin Zander

World famous conductor and Music Director of the Boston Philharmonic Orchestra, Maestro Benjamin Zander, came to Toronto on January 19th, 2007.


In the morning, Mr. Zander gave a speech on “The Art of Possibility: Transforming Professional and Personal Live” at the Toronto Hilton Convention Centre. Later in the afternoon Maestro Zander conducted a special concert at John Bassett Theatre in the Metro Toronto Convention Centre and presented his highly acclaimed concept of the orchestra as a metaphor for leadership. After the concert Maestro Zander signed copies of his world bestseller “The Art of Possibility”, presented by Harvard University Press.


Benjamin Zander’s work as a conductor and motivational speaker has been awarded the highest attention on five continents. His leadership view is unconventional and its impact is without boundaries. His teaching transforms entire lives through “The Art of Possibility” in ways that are nothing short of magical with results that are nothing short of exemplary. According to Fortune 500, “Ben Zander is the hottest property on the management guru circuit”. According to Boston Globe, “Zander is one of the finest conductors in the world”.


Both the speech and the concert were presented to a very interesting multifaceted audience: executives from leading Canadian companies; conductors and music directors converging in Toronto from five continents for the Conductors Guild International Conference; high school and university students and professors; seniors.


The event was presented by Classical 96.3 FM and sponsored by the International Music Academy.




iMA students have won first awards at the 2006 Richmond Hill Music Competition

Cameron Lee
Cameron Lee
Stephen Yu
Stephen Yu

Congratulations to our students for their excellent performance!


Cameron Lee (violin, first award)
Stephen Yu (violin, first award)

The iMA teachers and staff extend their warmest wishes to our students' families. Thank you for your continuous support!



Monthly Newsletter

To print a copy of the current month newsletter and take advantage of exciting offers, coupons and current promotions, click here [PDF].

Year XXIV, No. 4 (April 2021)

 



WELCOMING OUR NEW STUDENTS

Sara, K., voice
Elijah, Z., piano
Lea, T., voice

 



IMA STUDENTS BIRTHDAYS IN APRIL

Bryan. Z, Ryan. S, Dia. P., Sanjayan. S. Landrie C., Sangavi N., Carl C., Vivian T., Shaya S., Adam B., Julianna Z., Clarisse L., Nikola R., Isabella D.

 

HAPPY BIRTHDAY!



IMPORTANT DAYS IN APRIL

  • March 27 – April 3. Passover.
    April 2. Good Friday. IMA is open.
    April 4. Easter Sunday. IMA is open.
    April 5. Easter Monday. IMA is open.
    April 13 – May 12. Ramadan.
    May 1. Kindred Spirits Orchestra presents: Melodies of emotion. Live-streamed from the Richmond Hill Centre. KSOrchestra.ca

     



 

IMA STAYS OPEN DURING THE PROVINCIAL SHUTDOWN

The Provincial Government announced a 28-day province-wide shutdown beginning 12:01 a.m. Saturday, April 3 to curb the spread of COVID-19 and in particular the variants of concern.

 

The Ministry of education of Ontario has repeatedly emphasized that keeping schools open is “critical to students’ mental health and learning”. The Chief Medical Officer of Ontario has also pointed out that one-on-one (one teacher to one student) instruction is safe.

 

The restrictions that have been introduced during the month of April are not as tight as those back in January and allow the IMA to stay open for in-person private lessons.

As always, we will continue following the advice of the public health authorities and provide alcohol-based hand sanitizer and PPE to our teachers and staff, as well as screening to our students and parents. The capacity of our school has been limited to 25% since last year and will remain at that level as long as required. Wearing a mask/facial covering while inside the school remains mandatory and daily cleaning and disinfection is part of our top priorities. Complete information about the IMA Covid-19 safety plan is available on our website.
 
For your convenience, we will remain open during the Easter holidays (Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday) and will continue offering your music lessons, as scheduled.
 
Should you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to call or email our offices at your convenience.

 

Our Teachers and Staff recognize that it has been challenging for parents as well in supporting their children and we salute all of your efforts. We are very thankful for the outpouring of support from our community.

 





GET 3 FREE LESSONS WITH THE PURCHASE OF A PIANO

If you are ready to purchase a high quality pre-own piano through one of the IMA commercial partners, 3 of your lessons at the IMA will be free. Call our Office or e-mail Office@InternationalMusicAcademy.ca for more information. Pre-own piano is a great investment that comes at an attractive price, with a free tuning and delivery.




GET A $30 CREDIT ON YOUR NEXT MONTH TUITION

We have been very pleased with the continuous success of our students. They have improved a great deal and we share their excitement with their families, friends, neighbors, and schoolmates. We appreciate your interest towards our programs and services. We are always very happy to welcome new students of all ages, levels, and instruments to the iMA. Please tell your friends about your experience with the International Music Academy.


Do you know someone who is thinking of taking music lessons or who has children who may be interested in getting their hands on a musical instrument or singing? Do you know a teenager who needs a high school OAC credit? Do you know an adult who has wanted for a long time to learn how to play a musical instrument but has never had the time or inclination? Please tell them about the IMA.


As an appreciation for your referral, we will give you a $30 credit for each new student who registers at the International Music Academy as a result of your referral. As we value your friends as much as we value you, we will offer to each referred student a $30 credit as well.




FOLLOW US ON

Stay in touch and follow the IMA latest news on Facebook. Visit Facebook and become a friend of the International Music Academy.




PERSONALIZED IMA GIFT CARD

The IMA offers personalized Gift Cards that could be used as thoughtful birthday, holiday, bar/bat Mitzvah, graduation gift or for any other occasions as well as to encourage someone to start learning a musical instrument or singing. The card can be used for any products or services.


The gift card is available for any amount. As cards are personalized with the name of the person who will receive it as well as with the name of the person who purchase it, requests have to be made 1 day in advance. Cards can be ordered in person, by phone at 905.489.4620 or by e-mail at info@InternationalMusicAcademy.ca. At the time the card is ordered, a non-refundable $5 deposit is required. The full value of the card is paid upon pick-up (and the deposit is credited towards the purchase price). Payments can be made by any major credit card, cheque or cash as well as through the accounts of the IMA Clients.



 




COMPOSERS’ ANNIVERSARIES IN APRIL

01/04/1873 Rachmaninoff born

01/04/1917 Scott Joplin died 

03/04/1897 Brahms died

06/04/1971 Stravinsky died

08/04/1848 Donizetti died

14/04/1759 Handel died

18/04/1936 Respighi died 

27/04/1891 Prokofiev born

27/04/1915 Scriabin died

27/04/1992 Messiaen died

Where you born or do you know someone who was born on the same day as these famous composers? Drop us e-mail at info@InternationalMusicAcademy.ca to let us know.

 




FEATURED TEACHER OF THE MONTH

Mr. John Mills

M.Mus., B.Ed.

Guitar Studies, Music Theory


Mr. Mills has earned his Bachelor of Education degree from York University and music certification from University of Toronto. He brings over 25 years of teaching experience to the International Music Academy in various guitar styles, music theory and numerous bluegrass instruments. For many years, Mr. Mills taught all the concert band instruments for the Toronto District School Board. His youth stage bands performed at Ontario Place and numerous Community Centers, while his choirs were featured on children’s television. He organized Master classes for the Scarborough night studies programs for many years, along with teaching at various music schools throughout the city. As a performer, he was lead guitarist for the Arrivals for two years before touring with the Elvis Memories retro show. His caring, unique, multi‐resource approach to teaching has met with measured success throughout his instructional career. Mr. Mills is a registered teacher with the Royal Conservatory of Music.

Mr. Mills was happy to answer a few questions for our students and parents:

 

1. What do you like most about teaching? Teaching is a dynamic time of sharing. The knowledge imparted by the teacher is but a small part of the overall procedure. As an instructor, I would be allowed to participate in the joy and excitement of the student’s commitment to higher learning. Sharing in the active growth of the student offers a window of observation into a learning progression which serves to enrich both participants. Self-discovery and self-fulfillment are ongoing processes that lend excitement to the overall development and serve to reinforce and validate the applied methods.

 

2. How do you inspire students to practice more? As an instructor I hope I would serve as a valuable role model to the student. Through demonstration and visible commitment, I am placed in the position of being able to encourage the students. The resultant effect often assists in the motivation of the student. Appropriate praise and critiquing are also a factor in inspiring the students to demand more of themselves. This often quickly translates into a greater dedication to their practice time. Offering suitable challenges to the student may also help to enrich their practice time and facilitate more productive results.

 

3. What roles does performance play in student’s development? Performance offers the students an opportunity to justify and proudly display the results of all the hours put into perfecting their skills. It is a time to let peers know that total commitment is a quality to be admired and appreciated. It is also a time for the student to revel in their accomplishments as well as become aware of their own limitations. In effect, performance becomes a secondary learning device that hopefully serves to inspire and enrich their IMA experience.

 

4. Who are your favourite composers? John Dowland, J.S. Bach, Charlie Parker, Lennon/McCartney and various traditional blues composers are but a few of the artists the I draw inspiration from. There is something in the quality of their compositions which speaks to me at a profound level and inspires me to achieve greater success in my own arrangements.

 

5. What was the last piece of music (sheet music or a recording) you purchased for yourself? My most recent acquisition was the complete Verve works of Charlie Parker. It gives me pleasure to know that there are artists out there that can provide me with an opportunity to learn, experience and appreciate the depths to which the human spirit can reach.




FEATURED STUDENTS OF THE MONTH

Shreya Ratnam || Sachin Ratnam

• What instrument do you play? We both play the piano.
• How long have you taken lessons? Shreya has been playing for 4 years and Sachin – for 2 years.
• Who are your favourite musical artists? Shreya likes Ariana Grande and Sachin – DJ Snake.

• What are your other hobbies, besides music? Shreya likes cultural dancing, tiktok, gardening and playing basketball. Sachin likes to play Karate, collect Pokemon trading cards, cooking, dancing and singing.

• Favourite food? Shreya likes chicken nuggets and Sachin – sushi.

• What is the coolest thing you’ve learnt in your lessons in the past three months? Shreya enjoyed learning the piece “Relay Race”. Sachin is perfecting “The Juggler”.

Do you have any performance coming up? Nothing yet but we hope to be able to perform in public over the summer.


E-mail to info@InternationalMusicAcademy.ca a photo of yourself (or your child) together with the answers of the questions above. The deadline for submissions is the 15th of every month. We will feature you in one of the next issues of the newsletter.




FEATURED ARTICLE


U-turns in the fog: the unfolding story of the impact of COVID-19 on music education in England and the UK

Alison Daubney and Martin Fautley
Cambridge University Press |  15 February 2021

Introduction

As the biggest health crisis for many generations continues to wreak havoc around the world, we consider the impact COVID-19 continues to have on some aspects of music education, although the impacts are far wider than we are able to highlight within this article. Whilst drawing on international evidence, it is written from a UK (mostly English) perspective, although many of the points raised may resonate globally. It draws out the challenges and changes since our previous editorial article, which was written at the time the pandemic was starting to really bite in the UK, and highlights the flexibility that all who are involved in music education have needed in order to keep going throughout this very challenging period. It is ironic that it has taken a global pandemic to shine a spotlight on the importance of music and music education in people’s lives; the many examples we see on the news and social media are often personally connected to the idea of music being at the centre of our ways of finding meaning, our bid to communicate and collaborate, but are sharply juxtaposed with our stark and sudden recognition of the ways in which we miss it.


If somebody had said at the start of 2020 that in just one year’s time government rules in England would state that ‘you must not leave, or be outside your home except when necessary’ (U.K. Government, 4.1.21) then we probably would have thought they were joking. This is, after all, the UK and such enforcements are generally something we watch on the TV as events unfold in other parts of the world, not here. If they then went on to say that the 2020 cohort of examination students would progress to the next level of education, or into employment, based on the predicted grades from their teachers and not examinations (known as centre assessed grades, CAG), we probably would have thought that another whole level of hilarity had been reached, given the often measurement-focussed policies of the current Conservative government. Yet this is the stark reality, along with many other previously unconceivable changes throughout 2020 which are continuing into 2021.

Learning music anywhere

After entering a first Nationwide lockdown on 23rd March 2020, with England being the last of the UK jurisdictions to implement remote education, learning moved away from predominantly classroom settings and instead became a hybrid model, with the children of key workers and those who were vulnerable still able to attend schools and early years settings, whilst other children learnt at home, whether through packs of work sent home, live online lessons, remote learning or a combination of all of these. Music teachers quickly worked to adapt to new and often unfamiliar models, and we have no doubt that a plethora of research on the impact of this is currently underway. Towards the end of the summer term, primary schools in England reopened to the youngest and oldest year groups, whilst secondary schools in England expected those taking public examinations in 2021 to return to face-to-face teaching. Schools across the rest of the UK remained shut for most pupils. Yet, as we highlighted earlier in the year (Daubney & Fautley, 2020) resourceful music teachers embraced different working modalities and people across the world found new ways of making and creating music on their own and collaboratively.


For music education in particular, the challenges were (and continue to be) significant, and guidance from the UK Department for Education (DfE) was often given late, or was hazy and vague. A global literature review produced by the Incorporated Society of Musicians (ISM) (Williams & Underhill, 2020a) brought together international research on important considerations such as COVID-19 transmission in performance and education spaces when those in different age groups engaged in a wide range of musical activities, risk management, instrument hygiene and how to mitigate the risks. This was updated over the summer (Williams & Underhill, 2020b) as more research was developed around the world. That the research showed there was ‘still no clear consensus as to the role that children play, the transmission paths and the implications for the full return of schools’ (p.17) was worrying for many music teachers.


UK DfE guidance issued for the start of the new academic year had only limited detail about music teaching; specific updated guidance for music education was not issued until a few weeks into term and has been subject to frequent change as the restrictions in different geographical areas of the UK have been adapted and now tightened. Regular updates from professional organisations including The Musicians Union1, The ISM2 and Music Mark3 remain vital in helping those working as music teachers in a wide variety of roles in schools, community settings and from home to keep up to date with the changes and to interpret them in consistent and safe ways.

New year, new challenges

The new academic year commencing September 2020 hailed a return to face-to-face teaching across the UK, albeit with a staggered start. The summer months, coupled with the spring lockdown and other socially distancing regulations, drove infection rates down sufficiently for a ‘new normal’ to be established. Getting all children back to school was considered by Prime Minister Boris Johnson as a ‘moral duty’ and ‘the national priority’ (U.K. Government, 24.7.20). Head teachers continued to be faced with an onslaught of changes and challenges, with new government guidance being issued at the 11th h on many occasions. Hand washing became a timetabled activity, along with accompanying songs (and Matt Lucas’s offering ‘Thank You Baked Potato’ stormed the UK charts). Teachers, adaptable and resourceful as ever, made significant adaptions and worked out what an inspiring education could look and sound like. Risk assessments were carried out so that appropriate safeguarding remained in place regardless of the mode of delivery of music education, with the results that schools, music organisations and music education hubs had varied successes in having music as part of the curriculum, as noted by the school’s inspectorate (Ofsted 2020a). Perhaps unexpectedly though, despite all their hard work, the Christmas term was dogged with disruption and constant change. Moving to the present, DfE guidance for out of school provision (UK Government, 8.1.21a) continues to support some music teaching in adapted ways even through the current national lockdown.


Despite rallying under the banner of the hashtag #CanDoMusic4, and the positive attitude that prevailed in many places, actually ‘doing’ music was by no means universal. The ISM report ‘The Heart of the School is missing’ (Underhill, 2020) provides a sad overview of the devastation wreaked across all aspects of music education throughout the UK during the Christmas term. Based on survey responses from over 1,300 music teachers, the report demonstrates the considerable drop in music teaching in schools, through instrumental lessons and the usually buoyant extracurricular opportunities offered by schools, hubs, music education organisations and communities. Some of the headline figures include:

 

  • 68% of primary teachers and 39% of secondary school teachers reported a reduction in music education taking place as a direct result of the pandemic,
  • No extracurricular music at all was taking place in 72% of reporting primary schools and 66% of secondary schools.
  • During the 2020/2021 academic year, face-to-face instrumental lessons are not continuing in 35% of primary schools and 28% of secondary schools.

 

The challenges highlighted were mirrored in an Ofsted Survey report published a couple of weeks later (Ofsted, 2020a). Given that these findings relate to a period before the 2021 national lockdown was imposed, the situation for the provision of music teaching in England and the UK will now be even more grave.

 

Music’s position as a subject in a broad and balanced curriculum in English schools was already precariously balanced before the pandemic (Daubney, et al2019; Bath et al2020). It will be important to ensure that the devastation and disruption to teaching and learning exacerbated by COVID-19 are only temporary and to bring back and strengthen music in its many guises as a vital part of education and learning across the lifespan as soon as the situation allows.


Across the rest of our lives, we are urged to abide by the ‘2-metre rule’, and if we cannot manage that, ‘one metre plus’ is essential, these being the distances we could place between ourselves and the next person. Yet in classrooms, we know social distancing is normally unattainable in most situations. Some changes in schools were made to mitigate social mixing, such as staggered start and finish times, no mass gatherings for assemblies or extracurricular groups in small spaces, and cancellation of parents’ evenings and in-person celebration events. In many schools, ‘bubbles’ were created of youngsters who could mix with each other; however, problems were noted when in some schools a single bubble could involve an entire year group of 300 or more students.


Teachers in the ISM study reported significant changes and challenges; there were reports of having to teach other subjects, and 86% of secondary music teachers reported that their curriculum had to be re-written. This is unsurprising given that access to instruments, rules around singing and playing some instruments (which vary across different UK countries) was limited, and access to specialist rooms, equipment and teachers was also reportedly challenging or not permitted. Whereas in normal times, schools would have dedicated music specialist rooms, with the limitations on movement tales emerged of nomadic music teachers, having to transport whole sets of classroom instruments with them around the schools, negotiating stairs and long corridors, as the pupils stayed put in one room, and the teachers travelled between them, an inversion of the situation as it normally appertains in schools.


Teachers, it seems, are not like other humans. They might catch COVID-19 in a reasonably busy supermarket whilst wearing a face covering or anywhere else where they spend even short periods of time with other people, but in a classroom (although not in a staffroom) they were deemed to be at no more risk than other adults (those who spend their lives socially distancing from all others and avoid being with all but their closest family). This changed on 12th January 2021 when, having repeatedly denied that teachers were being put at risk despite union protestations, the English Home Secretary Priti Patel acknowledged that teachers were at ‘occupational risk’ of COVID-19 (TES 12.1.21). As key workers, the question now is whether the vaccine priority list will be amended so that teachers receive it earlier than they might otherwise have done. Whilst face coverings have been mandatory in enclosed indoor spaces since early summer 2020, government guidance in England for teachers has consistently been there should be no need to wear a face covering in a classroom because ‘other COVID measures are in place to keep them safe’ (although it is not entirely clear what these entail).


On the basis of current evidence, in light of the mitigating measures education settings are taking, and the negative impact on communication, face coverings will not generally be necessary in the classroom even where social distancing is not possible. There is greater use of the system of controls for minimising risk, including through keeping in small and consistent groups or bubbles, and greater scope for physical distancing by staff within classrooms. Face coverings can have a negative impact on learning and teaching and so their use in the classroom should be avoided. (U.K. Government, 8.1.21)


Clearly, there is a lot to consider over the coming months to keep the music education workforce safe, as well as their pupils.


By the end of term (December 2020), DfE figures show that the absence rate in English primary and secondary schools was rising, and that some students had missed a considerable amount of in-person teaching during the term, due to either having been infected or told to isolate, as the body ‘Public Health England’ had advised their school to send certain children home (sometimes for more than one period of time) due to exposure to the virus. Whilst many schools in Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland had been closed for extended periods of time at points during the previous term as part of ‘circuit-breaker’ exercises, schools in England remained open. Even in the final week of term, with a new variant of COVID-19 circulating, particularly in London and the South East of England, schools were told to remain open; the London Borough of Greenwich instructed their schools to close from 15th December (4 days early) only to be threatened with legal action by the government if they did not cancel this instruction (BBC News, 15.12.20).

Music education in a new lockdown

A new term, a new set of changes and challenges. Secondary school leadership teams in England spent their 2-week Christmas break sorting out the logistics of mass testing pupils and teachers (with very limited access to telephone support being given, of all people, by the army), having been handed this announcement as schools closed at the end of the previous term. It was initially optional, but at some point over the break testing pupils for COVID-19 became mandatory. Schools were ready to welcome pupils back for the new term – primaries right from the beginning and secondaries a week, and then 2 weeks later. With new, harsher tiering restricting which areas of the country people were allowed to do various things, and restrictions in place from Christmas night onwards, it was announced at the last minute that most of London and a few areas of the South East would not return to schooling (apart from online) for two more weeks. What followed was 24 h of chaos; effectively a stand-off, on the one side the teaching profession, represented by teacher unions and other similar organisations, and on the other side the government, all of which resulted in governmental guidance changing five times (known locally as ‘U-turns’, after the manoeuvre of turning a car through 180°) in 24 h. The first of these was to introduce remote learning in all schools in London for 2 weeks – a relief for those in Greenwich no doubt, as they were one of the handful of boroughs instructed that their schools must open at the start of term despite having higher COVID-19 case rates than other authorities that were not opening schools.


Prime Minister Boris Johnson appeared on the BBC’s flagship current affairs programme ‘the Andrew Marr Show’ on the first Sunday morning of the new year and gave the following message, having repeatedly said that keeping children in school was a ‘moral duty’ and ‘the national priority’:


Schools are safe. It is very, very important to stress that. The risk to kids, to young people is really very, very small indeed. The risk to staff is very small…I understand people’s frustrations, I understand people’s anxieties but there is no doubt in my mind that schools are safe and that education is a priority. (BBC News, 3.1.21)


And so the new term began on Monday 4th January with millions of primary school children in England going to school, whilst those in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales learnt from home and with the teaching unions locking horns with the government. But at 8pm that evening, after just 1 day in school, the Prime Minister announced, in another U-turn, a new national lockdown in England, stating that all learning in schools and universities (but not early years settings) would be take place remotely, with the exception of key worker and vulnerable children, for whom schools would remain open. In this address to the nation, he also admitted that ‘The problem is that schools may nonetheless act as vectors for transmission’ (U.K Government, 4.1.21), yet another U-turn from what had been announced previously.


In a surprise announcement, the Prime Minister also said that General Certificate in Secondary Education (GCSE) and advanced level (A-level) examinations would not go ahead this summer; the government in England had been under significant pressure on this point since examinations were cancelled in Scotland and Wales during the previous term. School music examinations have been subject to significant upheaval throughout the pandemic, as demonstrated below.

Assessment and qualifications

GCSE and A-level examinations mark the end of the final two phases of statutory education in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Whilst in many countries there is only one set of school-leaving examination, these exams at 16 and 18 years old have remained in place despite protestations that reform is urgently needed if we are to have a system that is fit for purpose. An open letter published in the Sunday Times on 26th September 2020 urging the government to overhaul the assessment system was signed by prominent educationalists from state and independent schools, universities, academy chains, the head of the Chartered College of Teaching (a professional body for teachers established with government funding until it became self-sufficient in 2019), and even Kenneth Baker, the former Secretary of State for Education under whose watch the examination reforms in the late 1980s took place. It would be incorrect to assume that the current global pandemic brought about this rethink, although it may have served to amplify the cause.


The main examination series in UK schools takes place in the summer term each year. The most recent examination reforms for music took place in 2016 when GCSE examinations with a new numerical grading system that replaced the old letter grades were introduced, and the A-levels were reformed. Changes at this time removed flexibility in the balance between composing, performing and listening in the GCSE examinations, introduced an upper limit of 60% for ‘non-examined assessment’, which was formerly called coursework, and for the listening examination now fixed at 40%, whereas previously it was between 30 and 40% depending upon the syllabus chosen. A requirement was introduced for areas of study to include Western Classical Music, controversially defined as music composed between 1650 and 1910, although in reality the previous specifications already included this. A limited number of vocational qualifications are also included in the English Performance Tables, although the numbers of students taking such qualifications in music are far fewer than GCSE and A-level, which themselves are in decline (Bath et al. 2020).


With schools across the UK closing for face-to-face teaching by 23rd March 2020, the question of what would happen to the awarding of grades quickly became an important focus. Wales cancelled the summer 2020 examination series on 18th March, with the Welsh Minister for Education announcing that:


Learners due to sit their GCSEs and A levels this summer will be awarded a fair grade to recognise their work, drawing on the range of information that is available. (Government of Wales, 18.3.20)


Written exams in Northern Ireland were cancelled (BBC News 19.3.20), but the oral and practical components in subjects such as music were given a temporary stay of execution until a few days later when these too were cancelled (BBC News 28.3.20). In England, the announcement of schools closing also coincided with the cancellation of exams, with an assurance from the Prime Minister that ‘we will make sure that pupils get the qualifications they need and deserve for their academic career’ (U.K. Government, 18.3.20).


The following day, the Scottish Minister for Education announced that their certification system would not rely on examinations for the 2020 series, stating that:


The chief examiner has assured me that we can put in place a robust and credible methodology that will enable her to certificate the examination system this year. I know it’s different but it has to pass the standard that our independent qualification authority sets for the performance of young people. (BBC News 28.3.20)


The following few months caused considerable stress for students and teachers whilst the details of the grading were thrashed out. Initially, it seemed like the judgement of teachers might be trusted, with the BBC (20.3.20) proclaiming:


Pupils whose exams were cancelled due to the coronavirus epidemic will be given grades estimated by their teachers, the government has said.


Yet in the intervening months between teachers carefully deliberating over the grades and going through internal and sometimes external moderation processes, the process of awarding grades was changed. Instead of being guided by the CAG, an algorithm was developed, taking into account the historical performance of examination candidates in each centre, and each candidate’s placing in a rank order determined by each school. This algorithmic method was supposed to avoid grade inflation and mean that the grading could be more comparable with previous years, yet the problems with this in relation to fairness were glaringly obvious.


In Scotland, the academic year starts and finishes earlier than in the rest of the UK; examination results are also released earlier. Their release caused a furore, with an estimated 125,000 grades being downgraded. This resulted in a swift U-turn and an apology that the Scottish government ‘did not get it right’ and the predicted centres assessed grades were promptly awarded (BBC News, 10.8.20).
In England, Wales and Northern Ireland, A-level grades are released a week before the GCSE grades. Despite having seen the chaos in Scotland, the release of the A-level grades went ahead as planned, with a significant number of students being given grades much lower than they were expecting, and with those from the poorest socio-economic backgrounds being disproportionately the worst affected by the algorithm results. Further U-turns followed a few days later in Northern Ireland and Wales, with an advance announcement that GCSE results in these countries would also revert to the best of CAG and the standardised grades (BBC News, 17.8.20).


In England, the Prime Minister defended the A-level results, describing them as ‘good’ and ‘dependable’ (ITV News, 13.8.20), and the Secretary of State for Education, Gavin Williamson, similarly defending the process as being ‘fair’ and ‘robust’ (Sky News, 13.8.20), despite nearly 40% being downgraded from the CAG. Schools Minister Nick Gibb stated that using CAG alone would ‘create its own injustice’ due to grade inflations (TES, 17.8.20) and Ofqual, England’s regulatory body, noted that using the CAG would ‘undermine the credibility of students’ grades’ (ibid). Please check the sentence “This despite many other Ofqual-regulated qualifications…” for clarity.This despite many other Ofqual-regulated qualifications not relying on examinations, and trusting teacher judgements based on evidence of work over an extended period of time. The report released by Ofqual on A-level results day (Ofqual, 2020) described teachers’ predictions as ‘generally optimistic’ and based on what each student would get on a ‘good day’. England was the last to do a U-turn on this issue, with the problems being attributed by the Prime Minister to a ‘mutant algorithm’ (iNews, 17.8.20), having withdrawn the appeal process within a few hours of announcing it (The Guardian, 16.8.20). GCSE grades awarded were whichever was the highest of the CAG or the algorithm; given the use of historical centre data by the algorithm what this meant in practice was that some pupils were awarded higher grades than those predicted by their schools and colleges.


The initial awarding of A-level grades caused huge disappointment to many young people, who were unable to take up a place at their choice of university. The U-turn on A-level grades, along with the government’s guarantee that all students would now be able to go to their first choice of university if their grades met their offer, caused significant issues for the higher education sector, and the impact of this is multi-layered. In terms of our main focus of attention, music results, data from the DfE used by FFT in their analysis show that the graded results for GCSE and A-level music both rose in 2020. The generally small group sizes meant that in many schools and colleges the CAG were employed, as the algorithm was not applicable (FFT Education Datalab, 2020); therefore, there were fewer changes applied to music when A-level results reverted to CAG. Candidates unhappy with the grades awarded were offered a ‘resit’ in the mid-year series; for music, this was only based on the listening examination, which is typically the weakest component for many candidates (AQA, 2019) and therefore not necessarily offering a realistic picture of their competencies as a musician. It is unclear what the position is with this now that exams are once again cancelled.


As for vocational qualifications such as BTEC, Cambridge Technicals and Music Practitioner qualifications, these were also subject to significant disruption and uncertainty. Some of these are more modular in nature and some aspects of the assessment may have already been submitted, but not all, offering an incomplete picture of a candidate’s final work and grades. This led to uncertainty for teachers and pupils, which was not helped by the announcement the day before the results were due to be released that these were being delayed by a week (BBC News, 19.8.20). In the end, the same solution as GCSE and A-levels was implemented, but the delay meant that A-level students had a head start on the scramble for university places.


Moving forward to the new academic year, the first pupils back into schools and colleges were often the examination pupils. Despite the considerable ongoing disruption to schooling during the first term, with some students and teachers quarantining at points, off sick, learning in a variety of ways in school, remotely, online or a hybrid of many of these, the GCSE, A-level and vocational examinations and assessments in England were still expected to go ahead, despite already being cancelled in Scotland and Wales. A consultation by Ofqual led to the publication of changes from the start of the autumn term to GCSE, AS and A-levels for 2021 candidates (U.K. Government, 3.8.20). For music, these included reducing the length of performances and compositions and delaying the examination series by 2 weeks. However, the lack of changes to the content or assessment expectations for many of the EBacc subjects once again highlighted a hierarchy of subjects. Schools were encouraged by the Head of Ofsted to think carefully about whether it was appropriate that all pupils continued to study all of the subjects in which they were planning to take examinations, or whether they should drop some subjects to focus on others, especially ‘English and Mathematics’ (TES, 3.7.20). Towards the end of term, another round of Ofqual consultations ensued, and more changes were made to exam expectations to mitigate the circumstances arising in the previous term. For music education, one of the changes announced was the removal of the need to study jazz music and the Courtney Pine set work in the Edexcel A-level – ironically the only black composer on the syllabus, and at a time when the need to decolonise the curriculum has been brought sharply into focus.
The recent ISM report (Underhill, 2020) highlighted the significant ongoing challenges to pupils accessing instruments at school and home, having access to appropriate technologies and specialist teaching; the inequality of access and opportunity also noted by Ofsted (2020) and Youth Music (2020) was laid bare. The ‘level playing field’ that the DfE desires is far from a reality across the country, and perhaps even more so in the case of music education. Yet the importance and power of music education, particularly for young people in non-selective state education, go far beyond music alone. A recent report from Cambridge International Examinations (Gill, 2020) which analysed results from the DfE national data set, shows that pupils in non-selective comprehensive schools taking a GCSE music qualification or graded music examination at grade 4 or above got better results across their GCSE subjects, whilst for those in selective schools there was no significant effect. Whilst caution is needed when interpreting this data, it is nevertheless a robust study into an area that merits further investigation.


Whilst the government in England has been consistently clear that its policy is that ‘exams and other assessments should nevertheless go ahead…because exams are the best and fairest form of assessment’ (Gibb, 2020), we have reached a point where even they have conceded defeat this academic year. As we enter the spring term, 2021 exams are now cancelled, although it is unclear at the moment what will replace them; neither is it clear what is happening with vocational qualifications, as these are expected to continue for now ‘if possible’. The Secretary of State for Education, Gavin Williamson, recently stated that the government ‘will put our trust in teachers, rather than algorithms’ (Williamson, 2021). Time, as they say, will tell. Perhaps the silver lining in all of this is that it will open the door to creating opportunities for genuinely musical assessment across music education in the future of a post-pandemic world. Maybe giving this responsibility to the teaching profession, as well as putting our trust in them to hold communities together, educate young people and feed families in the most challenging of times, will bring renewed respect for the profession and herald the implementation of positive changes across education, holding on to some aspects of these enforced changes and seeing them in a positive light.

Forging a way forward: #CanDoMusic

In the meantime, the work and compassion of incredible music teachers and practitioners across the world, weaving their extraordinary magic through schools and communities, continue to shine through and their resourcefulness and adaptability are greatly appreciated by all. In the most challenging of times, we need to celebrate small successes, and in 2021 #CanDoMusic is music to our collective ears. As we know, not all superheroes wear capes.

 


Footnotes

1 Musicians Union. Coronavirus Guidance. https://musiciansunion.org.u/OVID-19
2 Incorporated Society of Musicians. COVID-19 advice for musicians https://www.ism.or/dvice-centr/oronavirus-listing
3 Music Mark. Music Unlocked. https://www.musicmark.org.u/esource/usic-unlocked-guidance-for-schools-and-music-providers/
4 #CanDoMusic https://www.candomusic.org/


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