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Colston Hall and Renishaw extend successful music partnership

August 2016

After a successful year long trial to inspire Bristol schoolchildren with an education programme that combines engineering, maths and music, Colston Hall and global engineering company Renishaw today announced a four-year extension to the partnership to educate an estimated 800 pupils each year.

‘Beat Lab' is a series of innovative music technology programmes, offering 7-14 year olds the opportunity to get involved in a variety of different music-tech experiences, one of which is developed by partners Conductive Music CIC.

The programme offers children the chance to create musical instruments from scratch, using everything from circuit boards and conductive ink to pieces of fruit.

To celebrate the announcement, Bristol Plays Music, the city's music education hub based at Colston Hall, presented the programme to members of the Royal Academy of Engineering at Renishaw's headquarters on Tuesday 26 July.

The scheme is being evaluated by the University of Bristol, who will carry out an academic study beginning in September to measure the impact of the programme on young people's aspirations.

Louise Mitchell, Chief Executive of Bristol Music Trust which runs Colston Hall, said, “The trial scheme has proved a real success with excellent feedback from both teachers and pupils. We've delivered a programme that brings together science, technology and music education, taking STEM subjects one step closer to STEAM, including the arts.

“Extending our partnership with Renishaw into a five-year project means that they will continue to work with us well into the new life of our new education spaces at Colston Hall following the completion of our £45 million transformation. Renishaw is a creative organisation, which understands the importance of encouraging young peoples' creativity for their future lives in the arts, science and engineering spheres. We look forward to the next few years as we continue to develop music participation in creative ways.”

Sir David McMurtry, Chairman and Chief Executive of global engineering company Renishaw plc, which is funding the programme, said, “It has been wonderful to see so many young people gain an understanding of different engineering skills and how they can combine in a creative way.

“Delivering scientific innovation is one of Renishaw's core values and the Beat Lab programme contains elements of both. We understand the value of supporting young people as they take their next steps towards a rounded education, where science and the arts play active roles in their early development. We look forward to working with Bristol Plays Music, Colston Hall and Conductive Music over the next few years.”

Colston Hall's £45 million transformation plans will enable Bristol Plays Music to expand its current music education offering in the future, reaching more young people and introducing further programmes. The Hall's redevelopment includes a new world-class learning centre that will engage school children and adults from all backgrounds and all levels of ability.