2010 New York Film Festival Award


Posted by upbeat | Posted in Collaboration, Creativity | Posted on July 25, 2011

On a wet Saturday in October 2007, I sat with BAFTA winning film director Norman Stone at the piano in his house. In the space of 2 hours we rattled out 5 music hall songs (all Norman’s words) which feature throughout his drama documentary, ‘Florence Nightingale’. Lennon & McCartney didn’t work as fast as this! 5 songs knocked out in record time, recorded direct to MP3 and emailed across the Atlantic to be arranged for performance a week later with Roy Hudd in Liverpool. One of the songs is featured in the video clip above, around 4 minutes in. Great fun to spend time at the piano with Norman on a wet Saturday afternoon with the end result seeing the film winning an award in New York!

The 2010 New York International Film Festival. Award for Best Historical Short Film: Florence Nightingale.

Florence Nightingale – a full costume drama that tells the untold story of one of Britain’s greatest heroines, based on her own words. Florence NightingaleFlorence NightingaleFlorence Nightingale

Shown on BBC One on the 1st of June 2008, Florence Nightingale received 4.7 million viewers and a 22.9% audience share. Starring Laura Fraser, this film brings to life the story of Florence Nightingale’s spiritual and emotional breakdown after the Crimean War: a moment of crisis, doubt and failure that ultimately inspired her revolutionary career in medicine.

It also introduces the actor comedian Roy Hudd as the leader of a raucous Music Hall troupe, who dip in and out of the action with songs in the style of the times.



30 years of the Space Shuttle


Posted by upbeat | Posted in International Education | Posted on July 9, 2011

The space shuttle Columbia, NASA’s first orbiter, is lit up in this night scene at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, during preparations for the first flight of NASA’s new reusable spacecraft system. I can vividly remember watching the launch of the first flight of the Space Shuttle Columbia on April 12, 1981, the 20th anniversary of Yuri Gagarin’s first spaceflight in Vostok 1. Columbia was commanded by John Young, a Gemini and Apollo veteran who was the ninth person to walk on the Moon in 1972.

Yesterday, I watched (on TV) with my 8 year old daughter, Eilidh, the last Space Shuttle Atlantis (below) taking off from the Kennedy Space Centre in Florida, bound for the International Space Station and marking the end of Nasa’s 30-year space shuttle programme.

Shuttle Atlantis Launches on Mission STS-135

Brass Lessons via Video Conference


Posted by upbeat | Posted in Collaboration, Creativity, Curriculum for Excellence, ICT, International Education, Learning & Teaching, New Learning, video conferencing | Posted on July 4, 2011

Grant Golding teaching today via video-linkDumfries & Galloway Education Service is known throughout the UK (and certain other parts of the world) to have pioneered a music learning & teaching programme for school students (aged 9-18) over the medium of video conferencing. In November 2005, Grant Golding was appointed as the UK’s first instrumental tutor to teach pupils in remote schools every week via video-link. Some of the schools Grant teaches in, he has never personally visited. The quality we now have with Polycom HD video conference systems is such that it is possible to teach young people from around the age of 9, lessons in a range of orchestral instruments. Today Grant was giving lessons to groups of pupils in a range of schools from a room in Lochside Education Centre, Dumfries. The pictures seen here show the on-screen detail possible. Via a remote control handset, the tutor has control of the camera at both locations, near and far. Grant has zoomed in on a student’s trumpet and hand position and can give detailed instruction to the student as if he was standing beside him. These images were captured today as Grant delivered his lesson to students in Kelloholm Primary School, around 30 miles north of Dumfries. Lessons are delivered in Dumfries & Galloway schools most days of the week by this method, allowing young people in remote schools access to instrumental lessons. This technology is now capable of allowing tutors to deliver lessons over high quality, reliable and cost effective broadband video conference systems.Grant Golding teaching today via video-link

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