It was very exciting to welcome the visitors from Leicestershire School Music Service, both past and present, for the presentation of the blue plaque as part of BBC Music Day. The Blue Plaque recognises the huge impact of Eric Pinkett, the founder of the Music Service. Our school was chosen as the location for the plaque as the first concert organised by Leicestershire Schools Music Service was held at our school. The year five children did a brilliant job performing on the taiko drums and enjoyed the chance to be filmed by East Midlands Today (unfortunately they didn’t make much of the final edit) and to appear on Radio Leicester. The episode of Ben Jackson’s show can be listened to again on BBC iplayer, the children perform about 1 hour 45minutes into the episode.
Photo gallery of the day
This is the full biography for Eric Pinkett.
Eric Pinkett (OBE) – (1911-1979)
Eric Pinkett founded the Leicestershire School of Music in 1948 with the help of the local education authority. This was the first school music service in the UK and led the way for the rest of the county. He was seen as a ‘world pioneer’ in musical education and known as ‘Mr Music’ in Leicestershire.
Eric believed that children from any background should be able to play musical instruments and it should be not be dependent on finances. Prior to his work only wealthy children played musical instruments. He wanted all children to love music as a result of playing musical instruments. He set a team of peripatetic music teachers to go to all schools in the county and provide instruments free of charge. He also set up the Leicestershire Schools Symphony Orchestra which became well known for its excellence and patrons included Sir Michael Tippett, Sir Adrian Boult and Sir Malcolm Arnold. Eric took the orchestra on tours abroad himself to further expand the children’s musical education.
Many of the children have gone onto perform with top orchestras across the world. Today his legacy continues with the Leicestershire Schools Music Service and the schools symphony orchestra.
In the early pioneering days Eric had only his faith to keep him going. He was once advised to rehearse for five years before giving a concert and he ignored it. He knew that the children’s interest would have evaporated without the stimulus of playing in public.
Eric has been nominated by listeners to BBC Radio Leicester and through network programmes.
One said – ‘his influence on the people he taught an on musical education as a whole has impacted the way music is taught in schools and continues today. His passion and enthusiasm should be remembered by siting of a blue plaque in his memory in the place in Leicester where is all started’.
He was awarded an OBE in recognition of his work to inspire young musicians.