2015 was my first year as ABRSM’s Chief Executive. With its focus on laying foundations for future development, change and growth it was a challenging but exciting year for the organisation. High on my own list of priorities was meeting the many people and organisations involved with ABRSM. By listening to a wide range of views and opinions, I have been able to deepen my understanding of this fantastic organisation, its place in the world of music education and the direction it needs to take in the future.
During the year we took a long look at who we are as an organisation and what we do. As a result we developed a new way to express our mission, which is now simply ‘to inspire achievement in music’. In its breadth and flexibility this reflects our desire to widen our reach and broaden our activities. We have also restated our reason for being – ‘to support the teaching and learning of music, in partnership with the Royal Schools of Music’. Partnerships, both existing and new, will be essential if we are going to support and offer opportunities to an ever-wider range of learners and teachers. Classical 100 was one project which demonstrated our appetite for working creatively with like-minded organisations. It also provided an opportunity for us to test our ability to seize opportunities and to work quickly in collaboration with others.
During the year there was a flurry of activity as we planned for and began a transformation of our services, systems and structures. The early results of this work are now becoming apparent. A new Products and Services department is bringing a coordinated and, where necessary, swift approach to the development of assessments, books and digital resources. We are also streamlining our approach to exam operations and administration so that we can provide the very best customer service to teachers and learners worldwide.
Central to this transformation is our move to new offices at Salters’ Hall in the City of London. Much of the preparation for this relocation took place in 2015 and as I write we are putting the final touches to our plans for the big move. Our new home will provide a working environment that encourages and allows us to work even more effectively, productively and creatively. As we move into this exciting phase in ABRSM’s history it is clear that much of the success of our organisation is due to the passion, dedication and professionalism of people, whether they are staff, examiners or representatives, teachers or learners, or our many friends and colleagues in the wide world of music and music education. This will always be the case.
After more than a year here at ABRSM, I feel honoured to be working for one of the world’s leading music education bodies. I am also very much looking forward to a bright future which sees ABRSM playing a key role at the forefront of music education, supporting all kinds of music making, teaching and learning and championing the wonderful thing we call music.