Changing the tune? Responding to the shifting landscape of classical music.

Presenter: Andrea Jones


Over recent years the classical music industry has been under sustained scrutiny for not fully reflecting the diverse society in which we live. However, both onstage and backstage, the industry can only reflect the demographics of those young people who are seeking to enter it, thus making the education system, at all levels, a key focus for our attention.  As part of a sector wide response to tackling issues of diversity, especially post-Covid, music educators in all areas and at all stages of the education pipeline must examine their roles in this ecosystem, considering and developing their response to help support change, develop new skills, build resilience and work in new ways to fulfil creative ambitions.  

This talk will focus on some of the strategies and initiatives we are developing at RWCMD, supporting musicians entering Higher Education in a conservatoire setting and raising awareness of the diverse skills and attributes needed for success in a fast-changing sector. Recognising and developing a broader range of talent and potential through non-traditional means is one way in which we can support diversity and better bridge the gap between ‘traditional’ conservatoire training and that which audiences and practitioners are seeking.  

The role for higher music education here is crucial, as for both instrumental teachers and students a clear and up to date understanding of what is desirable and realistic to work towards for a career in music is of the utmost importance. Within our re-imagined undergraduate provision at RWCMD, attention is now given to the development of a broad range of socially informed, collaborative, entrepreneurial and robust pedagogical skills in addition to core musical practices, highlighting the importance of preparing flexible musicians who are ready in turn to play their part in tackling the challenges of building a more diverse and sustainable classical industry. Focus will also be given to how entry processes to conservatoires may evolve to reflect the diverse pre-entry musical journeys of students, and the ways in which teachers can nuance and develop their inclusive teaching practices to nurture students’ preparations for a contemporary HE education. 


Graduating in 1996 from the Royal Academy of Music, Andrea Jones studied violin with Howard Davis and Mateja Marinkovic, and baroque violin with Simon Standage and Elisabeth Wällfisch.  Andrea subsequently became co-leader of the European Union Baroque Orchestra before commencing her career with the renowned German Baroque ensemble Musica Antiqua Köln, as well as establishing herself widely both as a chamber and orchestral musician with many of the UKs leading period instrument ensembles. Andrea has performed and toured extensively, often as co-leader or section principal with orchestras including The King’s Consort, The Sixteen, The Academy of Ancient Music, The English Concert, The Gabrieli Consort and Players, The Hanover Band, The Early Opera Company, Dunedin Consort, Avison Ensemble, English Baroque Soloists and the Orchestra Révolutionnaire et Romantique. Andrea has also combined her orchestral and chamber music performances with numerous recordings as well as commercial TV and film work. 

Teaching has always been a significant part of Andrea’s core activity and she has more than 25 years’ experience in this area. Since commencing teaching at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama in 2004 as a baroque violin teacher and academic lecturer, she has established a deep commitment to supporting musicians in Higher Education, undertaking the roles as Head of Learning and Teaching (2017-21)  and leading the BMus Course ( 2013- present). Andrea’s current doctoral research interests focus on student transitions into Conservatoire study, and her current teaching centres on string pedagogy, the psychology of performance and in supporting the development of personal and critically reflective skills for her students.  

Andrea is a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, a council Member of the European String Teacher’s Association and External Examiner at the Royal College of Music and Guildhall School of Music and Drama. 

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