The aim of the educational sub-committee is:
To promote educational exchanges and hence cultural understanding between Azerbaijan and the UK.
As a first step, the Executive Committee of the Society have agreed that they will start an exchange between the Purcell Music School in the UK and the Bulbul Music School in Baku.
The Purcell School for Young Musicians is a specialist music school for children aged between 11 and 18, located in the town of Bushey and is the oldest specialist music school in the UK.
It first opened at Conway Hall, in Red Lion Square in London in 1962 and then moved to Harrow in 1969 and then finally in 1997 moved to Bushey, The Purcell takes advantage of all that the city has to offer being on the edge of London, but enjoy a semi-rural environment too.
The Purcell get involved with events at venues such as Wigmore Hall where they have held two recitals, and at the Royal Festival Hall where they will be performing next year, and some of the younger students performed last year at Conway Hall.
The Purcell also has involvement with the Royal School of Music, Royal College, Guild Hall and its sister school - The Yehudi Menuhin. Students also perform at the Watford Town Hall and St. Albans Cathedral.
The Purcell provides theory and practice in Music as well as an all-round education in academic subjects and exams are taken through the Royal school of Music and academic exams at the age of 16 and 18.
The School‘s pupils are funded largely by the Government's Music and Dance Scheme, along with the School’s own scholarship funds. It has a consistent success in national and international competitions and has an extensive programme of outreach and community work. The majority of pupils progress to music conservatoires although a small number each year elect to go to University to study both music and non-musical subjects. They have around 190 pupils from 50 countries.
The Bul Bul School in Baku was founded in 1937 and now has 320 children from the age of 6-17 but there are no boarding facilities. Pupils who are selected have to find their own accommodation if they do not live within travelling distance of the School. They take tests at the age 11 and then again at 14. At 17 they leave for either the National Conservatoire or the National Academy for Folk and Traditional Music.
The Director of the Bul Bul also conducts the National Chamber Orchestra. The BulBul now has a Chamber Orchestra of around 25. Music as the Bul Bul will typically consist of 7 to 8 hours per day of tuition and practice time, with other academic subjects in addition. They work Monday to Friday and also Saturday mornings.
A large number of the older students at the BulBul speak English but they are taught in Azerbaijani.
The Executive committee is now interested in starting a pilot scheme on a small scale to commence, by bringing two students from the Bulbul – one with Classical European sklls and one with a classical Mugham background to give them a taste of musical education at The Purcell.
Benefits of Student Exchange Programs
Student exchange programs provide students with opportunities that they simply could not get anywhere else. Whether students want to travel in order to earn credits, broaden their horisons or experience a new culture, there are plenty of benefits to be had.
Because students must meet certain requirements before they are able to participate in exchange programs, their ability to choose locations and courses that suit their personal needs is a huge asset. These students are able to learn about the things that interest them the most in new and exciting ways, while earning credits that can be transferred to their home school.
Hands-on learning is often a primary focus of exchange programs, meaning that students are likely to participate in field studies, internships and other forms of learning that will allow them to apply their knowledge in constructive ways.
Student exchange programs can certainly have an impact on the lives of the participating students, both in the short-term and for the rest of their lives. These programs are an excellent opportunity for students to gain new interests, get an education and gain an appreciation for diversity all at the same time.
One of the primary reasons why students choose to participate in student exchange programs is for the learning opportunities they provide. Aside from simply earning credits in basic subjects, these students also become acceptant of alternative ways to learn.
These students learn to analyse the things around them in a constructive manner and learn how to solve problems on their own. Students who take a foreign exchange approach area also able to experience the way learning institutions in other countries work.
In a nutshell, these are the educational benefits of SE programmes:
• International learning and knowledge propels students towards acceptance and understanding of an array of different cultural and community perspectives.
• Language acquisition is achieved through practical immersion.
• Awareness and adoption of alternative, multi-faceted approaches to learning.
• Analytical and problem solving skills.
• Enhanced interest in global issues as well as a broader general knowledge.
While adding to a student’s education is very important, students who participate in exchange programs also benefit on a personal level. By having the opportunity to discover themselves
in a place that is unfamiliar to them, students develop self-awareness and self-esteem in a manner that cannot be duplicated. These students learn the ability to confront social challenges outside of their comfort zones and deal with problems head-on. Also, exchange students must learn to live in their host families’ households, and this increases the value they place on home and family life.
They will also learn how to form their own opinions about the things that matter most to them.
The personal benefits of SE programmes are:
• Self-development and awareness leading to enhanced self-confidence and self-esteem. This is often the most noticeable change in returned exchange students
• Maturity and social poise, fuelled by the necessity to confront challenges outside a familiar support network and comfort zone
• Integration into another family as well as the development of life-long friendships, fostering an appreciation of home and family.
• A tremendous sense of accomplishment upon completion encourages students to develop independent opinions, make informed decisions and strive to attain fresh goals
Although an exchange program is typically only a semester or a single academic year in length, students who participate in them learn skills that will stay with them for the rest of their lives.
Once the student has finished their college education and is actively seeking employment, there is no doubt that employers will look favourably upon students who have travelled around the world.
The social changes that take place in exchange students are remarkable; they are often more flexible in any ‘foreign’ situation, whether this means taking a new job, embarking on a new course of study or speaking publicly in front of their peers.
These are the long-term benefits of SE programmes:
• Students who go on to tertiary studies find themselves more comfortable in ‘foreign’ environments.
• Prospective employers in almost every field look favourably upon experience gained while living overseas and knowledge obtained of another language and culture.
• Increased pressure to communicate and relate to others develops an awareness of group dynamics and personal sensitivity towards others.
• Successful program completion represents an excellent measure of personal flexibility, encompassing an ability to reach compromise, focus and succeed through challenging times