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Open College of the Arts

 2009 No. 4

Student profile:
Joan Barker - page 3
Who’s who at OCA OCA music students Tutor: Patric Standford
Richard Robbins OCA Music - Music course author
obituary competition
2 4&5 6&7
Showcase Who’s who at OCA
is published by the Open College of
the Arts.
Debbie Hodson Adele Fitzpatrick
Open College of the Arts
Debbie joined the OCA on a temporary Adele joined
The Michael Young Arts Centre,
contract in 1993, packing the Guide to OCA in October
Redbrook Business Park
Wilthorpe Road, Barnsley S75 1JN Courses. 16 years later she is an invaluable 2003 as
member of the Academic services/ Tutor the finance
Telephone: 01226 730495
Email: services. assistant. Her
Web: interests in all
things technical
Registered charity no: 327446
Company limited by guarantee no: led her to
2125674 undertake
the CCNA (Cisco Certified Network
OCA welcomes contributions to
Showcase but reserves the right Associate) course and as a result she is
to edit materials at its discretion. now responsible for the IT Network.
Views and opinions expressed in
Showcase are not necessarily those She is also an OCA student on
of OCA, nor does the inclusion of Photography 1: Art of Photography.
an item, insert or advertisement Debbie’s interests include cross-stitching,
constitute a recommendation. Adele is married with 2 children and
reading and walking. She is at the
To amend your contact details or to enjoys cycling, walking, playing the violin
moment doing an AAT Foundation course
give feedback – please contact Dee and Photography.
at Barnsley College.
Whitmore, Marketing and Events,
on 01226 704364 or

Richard Robbins
Professor Richard Robbins: Painter, Poet, Sculptor, Sportsman

OCA Trustee Richard Robbins was born in 1927. He was the son of Lord Robbins,
chairman of the influential 1963 committee report on Higher Education.

He attended Dauntsey’s School in Wiltshire, where his prowess on the sports field
outshone his academic ability. After a brief spell in the army he resumed his education
reading literature at Oxford.

Richard went on to study art at Goldsmith’s and the Slade, specialising in drawing,
painting and sculpture, before embarking on a career as an art teacher. He taught for
33 years at Hornsey School of Art, later part of Middlesex University, becoming Professor
Emeritus in 1993. Unlike many of his contemporaries in art schools, he firmly believed in
the importance of drawing; a principle that the Open College of the Arts still hold firmly
to. He was a trustee of the OCA from its foundation in 1987. He was elected an Honorary
Member of the Royal Society of British Artists in 2004.

Richard passed away on July 28th 2009.

Student: Joan Barker
First class art

I have been involved with art all my life and have painted and All this would give me a new logical working system of work.
exhibited my work over a period of years. I felt I needed a fresh
Having completed the course I now realise that my “art” is all
challenge and when I discovered that the Open College of the
about my response to what is really there in the environment. I
Arts were offering an Arts degree I decided that working for this
am not just a landscape painter. It goes much deeper than that,
degree would fulfil my requirements.
I use the environment as a jumping off point to explore different
After my application onto the course I was given Prior Learning dimensions of reality. Hence my work can result in a naturalistic
Points towards the Degree in acknowlgement of my previous interpretation or equally may be totally abstract. I need to explore
qualifications and experience. In order to obtain the degree I this at greater depth and I now have my artistic challenge.
needed to work through Level Three of the Painting course. This
was to be my personal starting point.

I was sent the course module for Your Own Exhibition and was
immediately impressed by the writing of Ian Simpson, who
formulated and wrote the module. I found it to be informative
and comprehensive as well as leaving opportunities for individual

I decided to work with a personal tutor as I value the opportunity

for one to one contact and discussion. I enjoyed working through
the module. Some of the work was used to represent the College
at the Birmingham Exhibition centre. It was assessed according to
the college procedures.

I next embarked on the final module - Painting Three advanced.

I was required to write my own module following the College
module programme. I found this to be very thought provoking This is now my “way forward” in future development, and it is the
and I discussed it at length with my tutor Rhonda Fenwick. I felt result of working for my degree with the Open College of the Arts.
that I needed to compose a personal structure that would: The whole experience has been very worthwhile, challenging,
• Sum up my previous work to date. educational, and satisfying.

• Stretch my thought processes and abilities. Joan Barker

• Give me a personal direction for future artistic study.
Student: Paul Wisby

Confidence in
Since leaving school, pieces, followed by a recorder trio. The first three pieces were
I have been very approximately a minute in length, and the pieces in the latter half
lucky with being of the course were about three minutes in length.
able to make a
My tutor for the course was Patric Stanford. Patric is a very well
living from either
known and respected composer and arranger, whom - I only
playing or teaching
recently learnt - was Professor of Composition at the Guildhall
the guitar. However,
School of Music in the 1970s. The tutoring of the assignments
sometimes there are
was excellent. My tutor’s comments were always very supportive,
areas of music that I
whilst also encouraging me to improve my work and experiment
need to know more
with new ideas.
about, or often feel I
need a skills top up. I submitted all of my assignments to Patric online as a Sibelius file,
Working full time it which worked really well. I would highly recommend any potential
is difficult to find a composition students to buy a computer notation package, as this
course that you can will help you produce professional looking scores, whilst being
commit to and keep your work/ life balance, whilst maintaining able to hear how your ideas sound.
your sanity.
After completing Composing 1, I signed up for Composing 2. This
Having previously taken several distance learning courses, I had was a much more enjoyable course. However, the compositions
either found them less than satisfactory, or found it difficult to were a lot more demanding and the level of detail required in the
sustain the level of work for the duration of the course. I was, assignments was considerably higher than in Composing 1. In
then, pleasantly surprised to find the Open College of the Arts, Composing 1 most of my pieces were trio pieces of a maximum
and eagerly signed up for Composing Music 1. length of 3 minutes; whilst with Composing 2 I composed a full
choral piece, a string quartet and a brass quintet, each over 5
Several days after signing up, the course material arrived. This
minutes in length.
included course textbooks, notebooks, CD’s and a descant recorder.
Although the recorder did bring back memories of being asked to I found the assignments in Composing 2 to be demanding, but
leave the recorder group at my primary school, I didn’t let this the amount I feel I have learnt from these assignments has been
put me off, and read through the course. [Incidentally this course well worth the extra effort put in.
has now been re-written and no longer features the recorder! -
Editor] Both courses were excellent and the tutoring was first class. As
a non-orchestral musician I feel that studying with the OCA has
The course text started off at a grass roots level, and soon helped improve my all-round knowledge, and given me more
progressively built up its pace to a fairly advanced level. The first confidence in my own composing and arranging.
two assignments I composed consisted of several short percussion
OCA Music Student:
competition Jamie Dunnett
We are now launching our first ever competition aimed exclusively at I started writing songs when I was in my teens and went on
music students. to study music formally in my mid 20s, leading, eventually, to
degrees with both Durham University and the Open University.
Task: choose one only of the two traditional folk tunes pictured below
(and available via E-mail from the OCA office) and produce your own The music course at Durham had an element of composition
arrangement. and I decided recently to take this further with the Open College
of the Arts. The OCA course is the only one that I am aware of
which allows the flexibility that I need to work around my health

As I live in Edinburgh, I would have to travel a considerable

distance to attend tutorials for the course I have chosen. Without
the stimulation of face to face contact with a tutor and other
OCA music students, I have felt rather isolated in my studying.
This said, I have found that the feedback by post and telephone
from my OCA tutor, Patric Standford, has been very helpful and

Earlier this year (2009), one of my songs was performed at the

Edinburgh Music Club, where a performance of a piece I composed
at Durham is now planned for the new year. I hope to follow this
Format for entries: Ideally entries should be submitted in a Sibelius up with performances of more recent compositions, including, of
file so that we can listen to the entry as well as read the score. However, course, those I have written for the OCA course.
we recognise everyone doesn’t have that particular software so will
accept alternatives provided we are able to read and hear them here.
Please contact Paul Vincent if you would like to discuss this further
(Tel 0800 731 2116). an audio file on the website for a brief period, but there are
some technical issues we would need to resolve first so are not
Closing date: entries should be emailed to Paul Vincent at OCA by
making this a commitment.
Friday January 29th 2010 at
Judges: entries will be judged by a panel comprising Patric
Length: we are looking for something brief – say about 50 to 60
Standford (Music Course Leader), Gareth Dent (Chief Executive)
seconds. The idea is to create something short and memorable, not an
and Andrew Watson (Director of Development).
extended work!
Copyright: we reserve the right to use entries for OCA publicity
Style: feel free to use whatever style you wish – an unaccompanied
purposes (with appropriate credits, of course). Please don’t
harmonisation for a 4 part choir; an arrangement for a melody instrument
submit an arrangement if you are unhappy about this.
with accompaniment; a two part setting for violin and flute; a rock, jazz
or folk treatment etc. Be as creative (or restrained!) as you wish. For the future: if the competition goes well, we intend to run
more in the future. Do let us have your ideas. For example we
Prize: there will be a suitably modest prize! The winning entrant
might be inviting you to come up with a jingle or signature tune
will receive a £50 Amazon token, and the kudos of an honourable
for the OCA – but that’s for another day!
mention on the OCA website. We may also place the winning entry as
Tutor: Patric Standford
Music course author
I was first drawn into composing. Among several other new compositions I completed
the OCA experience as a large-scale ‘Masque’ for chorus and orchestra – five scenes
an adviser in the early about St Francis and his communion with the birds – and this was
1980s when I was then awarded the First International Composers’ Prize of Budapest in
Head of Music at Leeds 1996. It received a grand performance for Hungarian Radio and
University’s Bretton Hall Television. Three years later I gained another major International
College. Approaches award in Belgium for a new Clarinet Quintet. All this and more
to distance learning was making up for lost creative time in academic administration
in music were being and persuading me that I could make it up successfully.
explored and it was
several years before a
reasonably satisfactory
model was produced.
Rather predictably,
although the course was called Composing Music, its Level 1
devoted much space and project work to learning about the
basic principles of musical notation, the so-called rudiments of
music. This was in line with the OCA philosophy at the time –
to admit anyone who had an enthusiasm for learning even if
they did not possess any technical knowledge of the subject.
Maybe it was the result of a book of mine - Projects: a course
in musical composition – which Stainer & Bell published in
1992 (and is still in print!), or because a year later I retired
from the arduous and increasingly administrative university
post, that the OCA invited me to become a music tutor.

I came to Bretton in 1980 from 15 years as professor at

the Guildhall School of Music in London. During the
1980s in a new home in Yorkshire I had to balance (rather
miraculously) the running of a large collegiate music
department, preparing new BA courses for validation and
revitalizing the existing stagnation in the department,
responding to a BBC commission to write a symphony
for the BBC Philharmonic orchestra, a group of choral
works for Hungarian and Estonian choirs and a series
of new chamber music pieces – alongside caring for
my family and its demanding components of three
children passing through junior and senior schools to
university. But it all helped to focus the mind!

In ‘retirement’ I was devoting myself much more to

Alongside was more teaching, critical reviewing, traditions. Students do, after all, need some secure grounding in
writing and journalism and I was happy to be the fundamental techniques of musical notation and theory, and
invited to assist an enterprise like the OCA which to provide this we recommend a familiarity with grades 1-5 of a
endeavoured to meet the voluntary enthusiasm music theory course before beginning. And the use of technology
of its students with professional guidance. I was is obligatory for both students and tutors - projects are submitted
also asked to teach undergraduate composition as email attachments!
students at the University of Huddersfield, and this
It is all very exciting. The course has already enrolled its initial
parallel between the issues raised in the ‘classroom’
cohort of students and we shall search more widely than in the
and those by correspondence courses became most
past for others to take on these challenges. It is not a course
useful when eventually I was asked to carry out
that seeks to give students a style. Composing is a mysterious
a radical revision of the OCA’s Composing Music
business, but the process is supported by technical resources that
courses. With the support and encouragement of
it is good to know about and use. The course seeks to make
the new Chief Executive Gareth Dent, and the wise
students aware of these techniques and encourages the building
guidance of my ‘editor’ Andrew Watson, the new course
of fresh ‘soundscapes’ and hopefully the making of a personal
was completed last autumn. It is a carefully considered
creative voice.
course and assaults two pleasant but now outdated OCA

for more details
2010 call 0800 731 2116
Date Workshop Location
18th & 25th January 2010 Pick up your pen and write! Bristol
27th February 2010 Still Life – Man-made objects Edinburgh
6th - 7th March 2010 Get back to life on Skye Isle of Skye
20th March 2010 Still Life – Man-made objects (2) Edinburgh
17th April 2010 Figuring it out! York
18th April 2010 Drawing from the Model Broadwindsor, Dorset
24th April 2010 Still Life - groups of objects Edinburgh
24th April 2010 Pastel & Mixed Media Barnsley
2nd May 2010 Painting from the Model Broadwindsor
29th May 2010 Screen Process; Print Simply! Barnsley
3rd - 7th May 2010 Sketchbooks: A sense of place Plockton
8th May 2010 Celebration of Colour Broadwindsor, Dorset
9th May 2010 Sketching at the Natural History Museum London
15th May 2010 Tone & Form Edinburgh
15th May 2010 Monotype + Techniques York
29th May 2010 Drawing & Painting a Still Life Edinburgh
5th June 2010 Figuring it out! Barnsley
18th June 2010 Sketching on Hampstead Heath London
19th June 2010 Figure drawing Edinburgh
19th June 2010 Sketching at Kew Richmond, Surrey
19th June 2010 Exploring Chinese brushwork designs York
26th June 2010 Painting “En Plein Air” by the coast Milford on Sea
3rd July 2010 Monotype + Techniques Barnsley
11th July 2010 Along the Thames with a Sketchbook Central London
11 - 12th July 2010 Working in Clay from the Model Broadwindsor, Dorset
17th July 2010 Still Life York
23rd August 2010 Drawing Carnforth