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Musicians' Union going totally Brass Eye...

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Musicians' Union going totally Brass Eye...

Postby feline1 » Fri Jan 07, 2011 10:11 pm

I found myself in one of those perplexing "OMG I agree with a Tory!" situations today

http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/2011/jan/07/michael-gove-charities-warning

The MU & the NSPCC have launched a campaign advising music teachers to avoid touching children when showing them how to play an instrument. I have to say I agree with Michael Gove in finding this utterly brainwrong. Sometimes it really does seem that, genetically, the MU has more in common with a giant crab.
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Re: Musicians' Union going totally Brass Eye...

Postby zenguitar » Sat Jan 08, 2011 12:56 am

Yes, the same feeling here.

And Michael Gove is right, but the real problem lies elsewhere, in a society that Michael Gove and his ilk has spent 30 odd years fostering. One where the emphasis has been put on 'Stranger Danger' when the real risk to children has always been, and remains, danger from within the family unit. And one where structural changes to the legal system have fostered a culture of fear of litigation.

I agree 100% with Michael Gove's sentiments. But he has to also put his hand up and admit to being part of the problem. He has a long history in politics starting as a Young Conservative, long before becoming an MP. The problem exists because of things he campaigned for, or failed to oppose.

In the current climate, the MU were right to get involved and give the advice they have given. They would be negligent towards their members if they hadn't. I just wish we lived in a society where it wasn't necessary for them to cover their backs.

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Re: Musicians' Union going totally Brass Eye...

Postby Exalted Wombat » Sat Jan 08, 2011 1:05 am

Recently I read "Blind Faith" by Ben Elton. Not worth buying, but if your local library has a copy.. A story of a world where the attitudes we're discussing run riot.
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Re: Musicians' Union going totally Brass Eye...

Postby Steve Hill » Sat Jan 08, 2011 8:07 am

As someone who helps out in the kids' pre-school occasionally, I would personally never let myself get into a situation where I touched a kid or was alone in a room with a kid without a independent witness there. You only need one going home to mummy saying "he touched me", and you'll be in custody.

And some of the older kids are well aware that they have been handed this weapon on a plate and they know how to use it.

Sign of the times. I see no way out, frankly. Forget the politicians: it would take ten years without tabloid newspapers just to undo the damage they have done.
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Re: Musicians' Union going totally Brass Eye...

Postby Exalted Wombat » Sat Jan 08, 2011 12:36 pm

There seem to be so many people who can ruin my life by making a casual complaint. Where's MY powers of destruction? If my drummer plays a wrong note tonight I think I'll claim it caused me stress. That'll get the bastard!
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Re: Musicians' Union going totally Brass Eye...

Postby A Non O Miss » Sat Jan 08, 2011 1:18 pm

Why embark on a campaign?? They might as well just jump right ahead and instead just buy everyone a bubble already, and then toss the rest away on, oh idk, a herd of Ostrich or something...

its not the touching that damages the kids for life, um, its the raping... slightly different.
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Re: Musicians' Union going totally Brass Eye...

Postby hollowsun » Sat Jan 08, 2011 1:57 pm

zenguitar wrote:the real problem lies elsewhere, in a society that Michael Gove and his ilk has spent 30 odd years fostering. One where the emphasis has been put on 'Stranger Danger'
I think you'll find that it's the tabloid press who have largely raised the umbrella of fear of a paedo lurking on every corner aided and abetted by Neü Labour's 'big brother' surveillance society which they built over the last decade or more and their introduction of futile CRB checks, etc..
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Re: Musicians' Union going totally Brass Eye...

Postby feline1 » Sat Jan 08, 2011 2:09 pm

It's such a mess, isn't it?

I've pretty much given up doing any private tutoring these days (I used to teach the odd bit of undergraduate/A-level chemistry) - all that CRB crap.

And yeah, misbehaving kids totally know they can play a trump card of "he touched me!!" when what they need is not to be touched, but a clip round the ear.

Perhaps the MU can go further and model their advice on the Ripping Yarns episode "The Curse of the Claw"?
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Re: Musicians' Union going totally Brass Eye...

Postby Exalted Wombat » Sat Jan 08, 2011 2:30 pm

A Non O Miss wrote:its not the touching that damages the kids for life, um, its the raping... slightly different.

Oh, "rape" no longer means what we (and the dictionary) think it means. And, dare we say, the amount of damage done is largely determined by the amount of damage the child is TOLD has been done.

It can be difficult to discuss this point without being accused of condoning the offence. But it's very much up to us whether the child considers his life ruined and is condemned to a lifetime of torture through counselling, or whether he puts the nasty incident behind him.

A previous generation ALL lost a loved one in the war. Is that experience worse or better than an incident of sexual molestation? I think we can agree it's comparable. So do you focus on how you were damaged for life, or do you cope with it?
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Re: Musicians' Union going totally Brass Eye...

Postby tex » Sat Jan 08, 2011 3:11 pm

Agree with you all. We now have a media driven attitude straight from Hollywood concerning rather a lot of things.

I like to think that when the little buggers grow up and all us old "paedos" are dead and they have no food because they were too snooty to learn how to read and they killed all the clever kids they will revert to the good ole days. Of cannibalism.

First off in the new order. Make the bstrds WALK to school. So WE can throw things out of the car window at them. :bouncy:

OH. OT but another sign of growing government naziism. You can't even flash your car headlights any more in case a policeman sees you and decides you were warning others of speed cams. (and if speed cams were serious about stopping speeding the fine would be £500 minimum + 6 points = no speeding) Wot next? Fined for NOT telling a copper about a speeding car.

Back OnT. I used to be a kid. Broken homes, assaults, the cane, dodgy priests (and nuns) lots of dead kids and friends, car crashes, drugs.
I find it's all my friends who had the ideal upbringings that seemed to have the most problems later and not the ones who had been assaulted who just seemed to get on with life.
And I really cannot think of anything that bothers me about all that really and I don't think I'm anyone special looking around me.
And I reckon most reading this are no different.
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Re: Musicians' Union going totally Brass Eye...

Postby Exalted Wombat » Sat Jan 08, 2011 4:32 pm

tex wrote:Agree with you all. We now have a media driven attitude straight from Hollywood concerning rather a lot of things.

Two words. Shirley Temple.
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Re: Musicians' Union going totally Brass Eye...

Postby Frisonic » Mon Jan 10, 2011 4:09 am

Spotted this thread a bit late and I agree with both views, being a) the law resembles a donkey and b) the MU have no option under the prevailing conditions. However, I am not convinced that (in the UK at least) we have become so cowed by the so called litigious society.

We all assumed that when the regulations were changed back in the late 80's (so that the ambulance chasing law firms were allowed to advertise 'no win no fee') we would descend into a North American type lunacy. My experience a few years back, working for a large government agency that managed vast amounts of outdoor infrastructure, much of which was potentially dangerous yet highly attractive to protagonists in certain competitive outdoor sports, was rather different. My job was to convince the engineers/heath and safety police that we should let experienced players, led by their sporting national governing body, go play and even teach the less experienced. On the understanding that on their own heads be it (think weirs, canoes, floods here - everything you need for a quick drowning). To read the above thread you'd have thought I'd have been on a hiding to nothing. Yet I was able to win the day because basically the law backed me up.

This was shortly after the Hatfield rail tragedy, a time when infrastructure managers were at their most paranoid. But the judiciary was clear in the recent test cases: There was an escalating duty of responsibility towards the players (as opposed managers) the riskier it all got. They said we do not want a barmy litigious culture here. We had to be certain that we were giving out good advice, signposting people to the relevant NGB and putting up suitable warning signs at the sites involved. But a huge sigh of relief was being felt at that time by many people across local government, national parks, all sorts. And the cherry on the cake was that one of the two big ambulance chasing law firms that emerged from the 'deregulation' in the 80s became insolvent just after (albeit, so I understand, because they ballsed up the accounting - Steve will know better).

My suspicion is that the media, rather than wagging the dog is overstating the reality. The problem the law has with kids is that they must be perceived as vulnerable. Its difficult to argue with that.
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Re: Musicians' Union going totally Brass Eye...

Postby abba_x » Mon Jan 10, 2011 2:23 pm

While I'm not a big fan I also sympathise with the MU. They have not created this climate, they are representing their members and advising on best practise within the current climate. I would offer the same advice! The NSPCC on the other hand... They are representing children and so are culpable in creating the current climate. They are suggesting it is in childrens' best interests (not teachers') that no physical contact at all is used, no matter how it impacts their learning, physical or emotional needs.
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Re: Musicians' Union going totally Brass Eye...

Postby Exalted Wombat » Mon Jan 10, 2011 3:03 pm

Frisonic wrote:The problem the law has with kids is that they must be perceived as vulnerable. Its difficult to argue with that.

We have plenty of laws regarding the various forms of assault. They apply to everyone - child and adult. I'm not sure we need so many special-case laws.

The really frightening aspect is the idea that an individual has an absolute right to not be upset, offended, annoyed, challenged ... and that if he FEELS this has happened, it is sufficient proof.
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Re: Musicians' Union going totally Brass Eye...

Postby CharlieFarley » Mon Jan 10, 2011 4:28 pm

This is a bit of a moot point as the Tories are once again destroying school instrumental music lessons.
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Re: Musicians' Union going totally Brass Eye...

Postby Frisonic » Mon Jan 10, 2011 5:47 pm

Exalted Wombat wrote:
Frisonic wrote:The problem the law has with kids is that they must be perceived as vulnerable. Its difficult to argue with that.

We have plenty of laws regarding the various forms of assault. They apply to everyone - child and adult. I'm not sure we need so many special-case laws.

The really frightening aspect is the idea that an individual has an absolute right to not be upset, offended, annoyed, challenged ... and that if he FEELS this has happened, it is sufficient proof.

I don't disagree with you at all. All I'm saying is that it's not an easy argument to win and in the case of children its like trying to argue against motherhood or apple pie. My point is that in the broader sense the litigious culture may not be as endemic across our society as some fear. I hope not anyway. Perhaps I am just naive.
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Re: Musicians' Union going totally Brass Eye...

Postby tex » Mon Jan 10, 2011 7:13 pm

There is an answer. Insist that all the little blighters are accompanied by two parents and that the child shall not be allowed within touching distance of teacher. Inform the parents that if the child touches you at all the lesson is void and the fee non-returnable.

Actually, how do gymnastic, dance and ice-dance instructors get around this? Or is it that music teachers are just fair game because they rarely tell anyone to eff off?
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Re: Musicians' Union going totally Brass Eye...

Postby tex » Mon Jan 10, 2011 7:19 pm

CharlieFarley wrote:This is a bit of a moot point as the Tories are once again destroying school instrumental music lessons.

This is so all W.C. kids can learn rap music.
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Re: Musicians' Union going totally Brass Eye...

Postby hollowsun » Tue Jan 11, 2011 2:16 am

CharlieFarley wrote:This is a bit of a moot point as the Tories are once again destroying school instrumental music lessons.
No they are not! They actually want to improve them and Michael Gove and Nick Gibbs are very keen to make it possible for more kids to enjoy the delights of playing a musical instrument

And it wouldn't be a bad thing. In my experience (at the primary school level at least), instrumental music lessons in schools have been woefully at the arse end of funding using peripatetic teachers on the cheap who attend for 15 minutes a week to teach a class of - what? - ten budding violinists, flautists, whatever, in their lunch hours and to which parents often have to make a financial contribution. The instruments the kids have to play on are often/usually utter crap (*) and enough to sap any interest a child may have in learning to play. It's a remarkable feat of out of hours dedication that these poor peripatetic teachers manage to cobble together a school orchestra for a small concert.

At the secondary level (again in my experience), there are no in-school music lessons - it is assumed that the parents will pay for private tuition for the kids who will populate the school orchestra, string orchestra, brass band, etc..

And this is not under the evil Tories (**), this was under Neü Labour!

I sincerely hope that the new lot can and will make school instrumental music lessons more available. It seems to be their intention.

This, of course, will be overshadowed by media noise from the likes of The Federation of Music Services et al saying in speculative press releases that they "warn" against "fears" they have that funding may be reduced. But they don't actually know for certain. But - sadly - this noise will get the sensational Daily Mail headlines and will be carefully misquoted so that the evil Tories are seen (or at least implied) to be making music 'elitist'. Bollocks! On face value, they appear to wanting to do the complete opposite!

FWIW, our daughter was Grade 8 violin when she was 13 and will be sitting her G8 piano soon, now aged 14. She's also G6 viola which she gained aged 12. No thanks to the school instrumental music lessons however (which actually did more harm than good regarding violin technique!) but because we have struggled to give her private tuition. And it HAS been a hell of a struggle. But now she plays in several school and local orchestras, is the leader of the county orchestra, was in the National Children's Orchestra and is headed for a career in music.

If the new lot can somehow manage to allow kids to achieve something similar with their new initiative, good on them. Whether they will, of course, remains to be seen (and I don't suppose for one moment that we will soon see a nation of Grade 8 teenagers), but it's early days. Let's see what this initiative has to offer once the results are published rather than jumping to conclusions.

(*) Why are the instruments crap? Because they HAVE to be bought from 'approved suppliers' who basically have carte blanche to sell schools any old badly set up Korean tat that they fancy for an inflated price. I hope the new lot scrap that nonsense so that the music teachers (rather than the local authority accountants) can choose where to get decent instruments from at a reasonable price... like, for example, buying a half decent fiddle or guitar from a pupil who is upgrading to something better. When our daughter went from 1/2 sized fiddle to 3/4, we offered to sell the school her old one at a silly price. They weren't allowed to buy it - they were only allowed to buy from XXXX Music, the approved supplier! FFS, there was also reluctance to have it donated! So we sold it privately which went towards a few lessons.

(**) The 'Tories' are not in power. It's a coalition government
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Re: Musicians' Union going totally Brass Eye...

Postby Guest » Tue Jan 11, 2011 11:02 am

This whole kiddie fiddling paranoia has coincided with the exposing of the terrible things that have been going on within the church. They all came to light in the late 90s. So i don't so much blame the tabloids or the government but the church. That's where it kicked off.

I don't blame the MU for this, the have gone for a safe default position for theor members.

And it's all very well Mr Gove playing the "everything used to be silly, look at us and how sensible we are" card, but like i say about all this rhetoric coming from the new administration; it's all very well, but lets have some legislation. A bit like the Transport minister telling people that it was ok to clear snow on the pavement outside their house. Well yes, of course it makes sense, but when he was aksed about possible litigation he said "it should be alright".

Lets see some law changes and some public test cases. And lets see the real offenders given something more severe than a few years in jail. I heard a story yesterday of a teacher who has had his life ruined by a completely unsubstantiated allegation of innapropriate behaviour with a pupil appearing on his CRB docs. At the same time a woman who abused her kids to order for the webcam got two years.

If this new administration are really going to make things less silly, lets se them doing it and not just putting out some nice soundbites.

As for the music cuts, we will have to see. If there's less money what are you going to teach, science or recorder?
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Re: Musicians' Union going totally Brass Eye...

Postby shufflebeat » Tue Jan 11, 2011 11:45 am

The MU are absolutely right on this one.

Self employed teachers are dealing with a broader spectrum of society than ever before, thankfully. Whether this is as a result of deliberate policy or economic necessity is immaterial but it does leave teachers and pupils in a potentially vulnerable position.

As a foster carer for 20+ years and having had the good sense to have married a social worker I probably see and hear about more instances of child abuse than the average guitar player.

Those who seek to exploit children can be surprisingly creative and persistent and some of them are musicians. The CRB system, while not being perfect seeks to gather information in one place so that an abuser who has already come to the attention of the authorities doesn't just move to the next council borough and set out a new sweetie stall. If you find the CRB checks cumbersome and you'd like to complain, seek out your local paedo ring and register your complaint there.

There are other situations where a teacher (schools or private) can be vulnerable. Apart from genuine misunderstandings by a child already (understandably) suspicious of people in powerful positions it has been known for children to have been abused and need to find a way of alerting the world but are in fear of their lives of the abuser. In this case an innocent action can be (unwittingly) deliberately misconstrued by a child who assumes evil intent because that is their experience of adults.

It may be that a child, having been the victim of abuse may have an inappropriate sexual awareness. This is not the child's fault but any teacher dealing with such a child could be in grave danger not being aware of this. Of course, even if the abuse has been acknowledged it may not have been thought appropriate to make every adult aware of it.

One of the most effective skills we have to deal with this murky world is awareness. Avoiding career ending problems (and worse) may just be a matter of simple training and good advice based on experience from knowledgable professionals that are on your side.

Michael Gove should get out more.
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Re: Musicians' Union going totally Brass Eye...

Postby hollowsun » Tue Jan 11, 2011 2:52 pm

shufflebeat wrote:so that an abuser who has already come to the attention of the authorities doesn't just move to the next council borough
And there's the key right there....

has already come to the attention of the authorities

The CRB failed to flag Ian Huntley at Soham because his only registered misdemeanour was riding an unlicensed motor bike (even though he had been suspected of burglary, rape and indecent assault ... the police had lost those records).

In a knee jerk reaction to this, Labour set the ISA up and it wasn't long before ANY person (such as someone who generously and voluntarily takes a neighbour's kids to football training, ballet, whatever, on a regular basis) had to register with a prospect of criminal proceedings and a fine if they didn't. All this has served to foster is a dangerous air of suspicion, the notion that all adults (particularly male) are pervs and that there are paedos hanging around on every street corner just waiting to abduct our children. Eminent sociologists warned against this but they were ignored.

We have the ludicrous situation where people can't take photos of their own kids playing in the park in case someone else's child happens to appear in the photo or where parents - technically - need the permission of all the other spectators to take photos or videos of their lad playing playing football at a school match and/or where the taking of photos/vids at school events are sometimes banned outright, where authors visiting schools have to be CRB checked (WTF can they get up to in front of a hall full of kids supervised by teachers?), etc..

It has also given some some kids a fantastic weapon against teachers and many of them have had their lives completely decimated by false accusations by some vindictive brats. And even if said brats own up and admit they made it all up (as has been the case), the damage is done for that teacher because the accusations remain on their file making it difficult to the point of impossible to then pass subsequent CRB/ISA checks when applying for a position!

But have either of these agencies been effective in reducing child abuse? It seems not given the sentences dished out to Colin Blanchard and his nursery teacher accomplices the other day.

They also overlook the big elephant in the room...

The VAST majority of child abuse takes place within families.
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Re: Musicians' Union going totally Brass Eye...

Postby shufflebeat » Tue Jan 11, 2011 3:52 pm

hollowsun wrote:
shufflebeat wrote:so that an abuser who has already come to the attention of the authorities doesn't just move to the next council borough
And there's the key right there....

has already come to the attention of the authorities

The CRB failed to flag Ian Huntley at Soham because his only registered misdemeanour was riding an unlicensed motor bike (even though he had been suspected of burglary, rape and indecent assault ... the police had lost those records).

In a knee jerk reaction to this, Labour set the ISA up and it wasn't long before ANY person (such as someone who generously and voluntarily takes a neighbour's kids to football training, ballet, whatever, on a regular basis) had to register with a prospect of criminal proceedings and a fine if they didn't. All this has served to foster is a dangerous air of suspicion, the notion that all adults (particularly male) are pervs and that there are paedos hanging around on every street corner just waiting to abduct our children. Eminent sociologists warned against this but they were ignored.

We have the ludicrous situation where people can't take photos of their own kids playing in the park in case someone else's child happens to appear in the photo or where parents - technically - need the permission of all the other spectators to take photos or videos of their lad playing playing football at a school match and/or where the taking of photos/vids at school events are sometimes banned outright, where authors visiting schools have to be CRB checked (WTF can they get up to in front of a hall full of kids supervised by teachers?), etc..

It has also given some some kids a fantastic weapon against teachers and many of them have had their lives completely decimated by false accusations by some vindictive brats. And even if said brats own up and admit they made it all up (as has been the case), the damage is done for that teacher because the accusations remain on their file making it difficult to the point of impossible to then pass subsequent CRB/ISA checks when applying for a position!

But have either of these agencies been effective in reducing child abuse? It seems not given the sentences dished out to Colin Blanchard and his nursery teacher accomplices the other day.

They also overlook the big elephant in the room...

The VAST majority of child abuse takes place within families.

Where to start...?

Do some background reading and I'll get back to you.

http://www.crb.homeoffice.gov.uk/media/news/home_office_dispels_vbs_myths.aspx
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Re: Musicians' Union going totally Brass Eye...

Postby Exalted Wombat » Tue Jan 11, 2011 5:04 pm

shufflebeat wrote:Do some background reading and I'll get back to you.

http://www.crb.homeoffice.gov.uk/media/news/home_office_dispels_vbs_myths.aspx

Also http://www.crb.homeoffice.gov.uk/faqs/vetting_and_barring_scheme.aspx where the new Government come close to admitting it's all a load of b******s and pave the way for abolishing it.
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Re: Musicians' Union going totally Brass Eye...

Postby hollowsun » Tue Jan 11, 2011 6:04 pm

shufflebeat wrote:Do some background reading and I'll get back to you.
Done the background reading, thanks, because it was going to affect us here.

"Myth 1 – Parents who supervise children on a school day trip will have to register

No they won’t. People will be required to register if they work or volunteer with vulnerable groups ‘frequently’ – once a week or more.
"

I wasn't referring to someone occasionally dropping a neighbour's kids off somewhere but someone who 'frequently' transports neighbours/friends' kids around... or nonsense like this

And still Blanchart and his ilk slip under the radar as do abusive parents and uncle and aunty perv.
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