4. December 2013 16:07
International woodwind and brass retailer John Packer Ltd has been nominated for ‘Most Innovative Retailer’ for the Music Teacher Magazine Awards For Excellence 2014. Now in their second year, the awards, hosted by the widely respected Music Teacher Magazine, seek to reward musical businesses, institutions and groups who excel in a variety of given categories. The ‘Most Innovative Retailer’ category seeks to reward the retailer that “has proactively met and developed the needs of the music education sector”. Culminating in an evening of celebrations on Thursday 20 March, the award ceremony will be held in the Barbican’s stunning Garden Room and Conservatory and hosted by Classic FM’s Margherita Taylor.
John Packer Ltd have worked closely with the education sector for over 40 years and have contributed to a shift in the cultural relationship between music retailers, schools and colleges.
Their involvement in the creation of the Assisted Instrument Purchase Scheme (AIPS), which quickly became a nationwide provision, supported the growth of music in schools by making instruments more accessible. Now, with music losing its significance in the modern curriculum, John Packer Ltd is fighting not only to restore its rightful position, but also to change the way in which is it perceived. The wide variety of benefits that music offers is already well documented - positive impacts on mind, health, socialisation, self-esteem and academic prowess - all of which generate positive outcomes in the education system and also far beyond in the wider community. Through the creation and promotion of the AIPS, and integration with a wider educational policy, John Packer Ltd hope to be able to contribute to the fight against what’s been described in The Times newspaper as a “national tragedy”.
More recently, and integral to their commitment to supporting the needs of the educational sector, John Packer Ltd’s own instrument line, JP Musical Instruments, has also made big waves. JP Musical Instruments have been developed in collaboration with world class woodwind and brass designers including Smith-Watkins, Sterling and Rath. The result? High quality and performance at an accessible price - parents get better value and schools and LEA’s get more from their budgets. Designed by such guru’s, these instruments have captured some of the magic usually reserved for instruments of much higher value - more people in more schools playing better instruments.
For the future, John Packer Ltd are committed to continue working with the education sector nationally and locally to try to create and inspire more musicians and support the resurrection of practical music making in schools across the UK.
25. November 2013 14:23
This letter is in reply to the article in The Times (19 Nov) titled "The creative importance of music in schools", a copy of which can be found on their website at http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/opinion/letters/article3925304.ece
On the subject of the decline in music education in schools, I would disagree with the contributor who described the current situation as a ‘national tragedy’. I think that barely begins to describe the cultural and academic disaster that is not only unfolding relentlessly, but also accelerating, before us.
There is little benefit perhaps in detailing the cause of our current predicament, but the prevailing situation is an almost perfect storm of preconditions necessary to snuff music out of education in large areas of the UK.
1) Many Hubs only have resources to deliver Wider Opportunities (whole classroom tuition) projects and maintain their area ensembles (county orchestra’s etc)
2) In these areas, the majority of the teaching in schools is often carried out by independent self-employed teachers.
3) Those hubs wanting to engage schools with non Wider Opportunities teaching are now competing with (and losing against) the teachers that they recently made redundant who can offer a cheaper alternative.
Consequently, huge tracts of the UK have no cohesive, structurally supported or strategically co-ordinated music provision at all.
Music provision in primary schools offers little kudos in the eyes of the government where all eyes are on success in other target areas (numeracy and literacy etc) and all resources are given to playing the government game so that success occurs both in league tables and with the Ofsted inquisitors. Musical success gains almost no recognition and is not a supported by the government as major feature in the curriculum. Consequently, the rich seam of beginners ore that primary schools provided for the secondary schools has been all but mined out.
The bizarre thing about all this is that it is occurring despite a wealth of incontrovertible evidence that music has benefits beyond simple musicianship. Among its many qualities are the ability to improve the mind, health, socialisation and self esteem as well as offer vital life lessons. For example the relationship between input and outcome. There is no frivolous, life cheapening instant gratification with practical music making. Music is regarded by too many as simply being something that is ‘nice’ to have and the reality is that there is active negative discrimination in curricular terms.
If you ever go on a sales course, you will be told that people respond to benefits rather than technical details. A salesman won’t dwell on the details of how something functions, but will concentrate on explaining how their client’s life will, in some profound, practical and tangible way, be enhanced by their purchase.
I believe that the best education that we can offer to H.M. Government and school heads (and parents) is the message that music gives tangible and significant benefits. These benefits need to be sold to anyone in a position to aid in supporting music provision. Music matters because it has the potential to help a school achieve higher academic standards, to reduce the incidence of anti-social behaviour and truancy, to give health benefits and to build generations of well rounded individuals. The clear benefits for the Government are that it can assist in achieving its academic targets and it can also save money by reducing the need for support services to deal with the effects of bad behaviour (including outside the school environment) and truancy etc. Some these benefits will leave indelible and significant marks on the broader community far beyond the school playground and far beyond an individual’s school career.
As a musician myself (and I mean that in the sense that musician is what I am rather than what I do), I am of course concerned about the decline in something that has been a part of world culture for centuries. However, I don’t want to encourage action purely to maintain a long standing habit or because music is ‘nice’. It has become a cliché to say that music changes lives, but those of us who have experienced it know the truth of the statement. More importantly, the wealth of research that has been carried out is in full endorsement of it. How many non-musicians have experienced teary eyes when watching Gareth Malone’s choral series and how many of those that he has tutored have said that their lives have changed irrevocably as a result of their brief experience?
Why then, is something that has the capacity to have such a positive effect on education in particular and, consequently, on society in general being cast to the winds.
The Government surely must immediately engage with Music Mark to come up with a strategy for re-introducing music to the core of the education system (starting in the primary sector) in a manner whereby high quality instrumental lessons are provided along with sufficient funding to allow this to be sustained indefinitely as a key element of the very fabric of mainstream education in the UK.
It is simply indefensible to consider the possibility of decline into oblivion or for it to be relegated to the equivalent of game reserves in the leafy suburbs of middle class suburbia where it can finally become extinct out of the public eye.
This is not in any way a tilt against those dedicated people involved in music hubs who are doing their level best to offer high quality music provision in the most difficult of circumstances. They have my respect, admiration and (unfortunately) sympathy. I hope that they will have the opportunity of delivering music to the standard that they would wish under a new regime where the true value of music in education and the community is finally fully recognised.
John Packer Ltd
21. November 2013 14:50
To say thank you for all your support over the past year, we have put together a free Christmas Gift Guide full of great ideas for your musical friends and family. Featuring a range of brass, woodwind, general and gift ideas, there is something for everyone, whether your budget is £5 or £5,000. As well as a great selection of ideas and suggestions for Christmas we are also giving you some fantastic discounts on a wide range of accessories.
Sign up for our general newsletter before Tuesday 26 November 10am and we’ll send you codes and the Christmas Gift Guide to give you:
25% off all Mutes
25% off all Cases
25% off all Stands
25% off all Mouthpieces
To sign up for our newsletter visit www.johnpacker.co.uk/newslettersubscribe/ and fill in your details.
Happy Christmas from all the staff at John Packer Ltd.
29. October 2013 15:06
Over 90 VIP Yamaha brass and woodwind dealers from 16 European countries formed a capacity audience at the historic Theatre Kehrwieder in the heart of Hamburg’s fashionable warehouse district on 30 September to witness a new chapter in the illustrious history of XENO, as Yamaha unveiled the latest additions to its award-winning range of trumpets.
The event was characterised by exceptional performances from seven of the world’s most accomplished and respected trumpet artists. It is testament to Yamaha’s relentless research and development work on the XENO range that such a roster could be assembled for the event.
The evening was expertly hosted by R&D manager Thomas Lubitz and brass product specialist Timo Hanf, both of whom provided humorous and informative links between performances They also conducted highly educational question and answer sessions with the artists, who each gave their own personal opinion on the XENO instruments and their impressions of the improvements Yamaha have now made to the 16-strong range.
Artists taking part included UK-based Philip Schartz, principal trumpet of the BBC National Orchestra of Wales; the Italian, Andrea Tofanelli, also recently appointed to the board of directors of the International Trumpet Guild; French Instrumentalist Sylvain Gontard; local Hamburg boy Ingolf Burkhardt, who is with the NDR Big Band; Vincente Campos from Spain, who is Professor of Trumpet, Conservatorio Superior de Musica de Valencia; soloist and Professor at Conservatoire National re region de Rueil-Malmaison, Eric Aubier and the explosive Norwegian soloist Frank Brodahl, who is also Musical Director of Norwegian Blaseensembelet.
Two key and common themes emerged as the artists provided rare and personal insights into their opinion of the new instruments. Firstly, the new instruments do not represent one big change, rath, many small, subtle improvements that combine to produce much better sounding, more versatile and more playable instruments for all musical styles. Additionally, Yamaha is keen to stress that they have maintained current price points thus ensuring that the new models offer exceptional value for money.
Secondly, the assembled artists all noted the great projection and free character of the instruments. This allows the players to build their own personal sound, giving them unprecedented creative freedom at the highest levels of performance, the instruments ‘coming to’ the players without them needing to work too hard to find ‘their’ sound.
Trumpets are at the heart of Yamaha’s brass instrument range and the groundbreaking YTR-1, the very first Yamaha trumpet, was introduced in 1966. Providing the benchmark for all subsequent brass instruments, the new XENO trumpets remain true to the vision of the designer of the original trumpets. The XENO range has now expanded to 16 instruments, comprising medium and large-bore models, standard and reverse type models and a variety of finishes.
Yamaha spokesman Ian Frankland, commenting on the launch, said: “With such a stellar line-up of some of the world’s finest players, this is the perfect start to the next chapter in the history of XENO. The range now offers great variety and options ensuring that serious players can find their sound. The huge variety of sounds available from the new models provides tremendous creative freedom whatever the musical style”
If you are interested in trialing any of the new Yamaha Xeno instruments, please don't hesitate to get in touch with our brass team. Steve Herbert, our Brass Manager is more than happy to discuss the new range with you further. he can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 01823 282386 (menu option 1)
This article was featured in British Bandsman October 2013 http://britishbandsman.com/
11. October 2013 11:25
International guests from as far afield as Spain recently took part in a special weekend of flute activities at Plymouth University to mark the 10th Birthday of local flute charity 4Flutes. Vital in championing flute playing in the South West of England, 4Flutes has always managed to entice the most exciting flute players to perform in more than just a recital and concert in the nation’s capital. This year, flute royalty Ian Clarke and Clare Southworth not only performed in several recitals over the weekend but also hosted special one-off workshops giving aspiring flautists the chance to work with some of the UKs finest musicians.
During the workshops participants were given expert tuition on a variety of areas including playing, technique, breathing, embouchure and ensemble work. Participants especially enjoyed the chance to ask Ian and Clare about specific issues that they were experiencing and to draw upon their extensive knowledge and professional experience.
The concerts that took place on Friday 4th and Saturday 5th October featured a variety of genres including classical and modern playing. Ian’s concert “Deep Blue” featured a number of compositions from his 2013 album of the same name which made it to number 8 in the Classical Album Chart earlier in the year. Ian is thought to be the first UK Flautist to make it into the top ten with an album compromised entirely of new compositions. Accompanied by Tim Carey, Ian played Hatching Aliens!, Touching The Ether and Madrigal by Philippe Gaubert amongst many others. His creative flair and innovative use of the instrument delighted the audience.
Clare Southworth played alongside the Ten Tors Orchestra, conducted by Simon Ible in the Minster Church of St Andrew Plymouth on Saturday evening. In this special performance, Clare brought new life to the concerto by Reinecke, a less well known Victorian composer, in a vibrant & compelling performance. The Ten Tors Orchestra also played A Midsummer Night’s Dream Overture by Mendelssohn and Symphony in F Major Pastoral by Beethoven.
As well as the captivating concerts and workshops, both Yamaha and Pearl also had a presence at the event. There was also a contrabass flute by Dutch flute maker Eva Kingma that stood over 6 feet tall and proved a real talking point.
A truly celebratory event that was enjoyed by all, Ruth Ballantyne, Director of 4Flutes, closed the event by thanking everyone involved for their support and shared her wishes for a bright future for flute players.
7. October 2013 14:43
A large number of enthusiastic musicians from across the UK took part in a special wind band event on Saturday 28 September in Taunton, Somerset hosted by Brass and Woodwind specialists John Packer Ltd. The workshop, led by Lieutenant Colonel (retired) Chris Davis OBE BA(Hons) MMus DMA LRAM saw participants challenged with a variety of exciting pieces and arrangements including the lively Stage Centre by Richards, The Melody Shop by King and Sea Songs by Knox.
Participants thoroughly enjoyed the challenge of the day and remarked how well balanced the choice of repertoire was. Erica Wright who played in the trombone section complimented the day adding “I was thoroughly challenged but (the event) also gave me a more confidence in my playing”
Chris Davis shared many wise words of wisdom with those that attended commenting that the “texture and layers of playing was very encouraging”. His extensive knowledge and experience enabled people to grow in confidence over the day players with many remarking on improved playing.
Following a full days playing, friends and family were treated to a final concert performance featuring some of the highlights from the day. Of particular note was the emotional and moving performance of John Williams’ Hymn to the Fallen.
Richard De La Rou of the Exeter Music Group described the whole day by saying "I much enjoyed the wind band day organised by John Packer recently. The music was difficult enough to interest advanced players but not impossible for those slightly less competent to attempt. I left feeling that I had a good day and exercised my sight reading considerably!"
Following the success of the second annual wind band day, John Packer Ltd plan to host their annual Brass Band workshop on Saturday 29 March in Taunton with special guest conductor Dr Robert Childs. Needing no introduction, Dr Childs is one of the leading figures in the world of brass music having performed at the highest levels for over 30 years.
To register your interest and to reserve your seat, contact our Brass Manager, Steve Herbert by emailing email@example.com or calling 01823 282386 (option 1)
26. September 2013 16:23
We are looking for a musician to help in our busy retail premises on Saturdays.
The successful candidate will play a woodwind or brass instrument to a good standard. They also need to be intelligent, articulate, accurate and a good communicator.
Sales experience would be helpful, but is not essential as training will be given. This is a ‘people’ business, so musical ability, attitude and personality are more important.
Please apply in writing with cv in the first instance to our Retail Manager, Andy Still: firstname.lastname@example.org
14. August 2013 16:30
Already the brand of choice for many great names in the music industry, several JP instruments were recently selected by members of none other than Van Morrison’s Band at a recent gig. The JP144 Cadence Baritone Saxophone has already been in the spotlight having been played by session musician Ben Somers during Seal’s 2012 Tour. Alongside the JP144 Cadence, the band also selected the JP374 Sterling Euphonium to reinforce the fact that JP instruments are capable of playing at the highest level and are trusted by pro’s to deliver the goods in the most demanding situations.
Why not come and try the JP144 or the JP374 at the John Packer store?
Pictured: Ben Somers, session musician, with the JP144 on tour with Seal 2012
31. July 2013 16:34
John Packer Ltd need a high quality candidate as maternity cover for a key position in their education department.
This responsible role involves liaising with Music Services, schools and ensembles and dealing with orders, queries and related administration. Although primarily based in our Taunton office, the role will require some travel to meet clients across the southern half of the UK.
To be the successful candidate you will be a woodwind or brass musician of a good standard with good communication skills. You must also be presentable, intelligent, articulate, computer literate, organised and have a full UK driving licence. Some selling experience would be an advantage, but full training will be given.
The position starts on September 2nd.
Please apply by email in the first instance with your CV and a relevant covering letter indicating the strengths that you can bring to the position to email@example.com.
The remuneration package reflects the importance of the role.
5. July 2013 12:07
Please remember that there are ongoing traffic restrictions around the John Packer shop for the next few weeks. Access to the shop is still possible but please be aware there may be higher levels of traffic when approaching from Staplegrove Road and Bindon Road due to temporary traffic lights and a reduction to one lane. Please remember that our website stocks all of our products and includes a 5% discount for purchasing online. We hope to see you soon.