Central Bedfordshire Council news and press releases

Music manager hits the right notes with Royal Academy recognition

Wednesday, 22 January 2020

An educator from our Inspiring Music service has joined the likes of Sir Elton John in being elected as a Member of the Royal Academy of Music.

Ben Bottone conducting

Ben Bottone was last week made an Associate Member, which is a prestigious award given to alumni who have made a significant contribution to the music profession or to society in general.

The Inspiring Music Area Manager is actually the fourth member of his own family to get a recognition from the Royal Academy of Music, along with his mother, who taught at the college, and his father (a Fellow of the Academy) and sister, who are both internationally renowned opera singers.

Ben said:

I’m incredibly honoured to be made an Associate Member of the Royal Academy of Music. It’s limited to 300 former students, so I think it must be quite rare to have three people from the same family recognised by the college. Elton John is also an Honorary Member, so we’re in good company.

Inspiring Music Director, Charlotte Payne, said

It’s an amazing achievement for Ben and is a great example of why we’re delighted to have Ben on the team.

He has created so many opportunities for the students that he has worked with in previous roles. I am very excited about his passion for music education and how this will support us in continuing to develop our offer to children and schools.

Our Executive Member for Families, Education and Children, Councillor Sue Clark, said:

We are extremely proud of Ben’s achievement and very fortunate to have such a talented and passionate musician in our wonderful Inspiring Music service. I am glad that Central Bedfordshire Council is able to recognise and support our young people with high-quality access to music. Well done Ben.

Ben became a professional trumpet player after graduating from the Royal Academy in 1997 but caught the bug for teaching and moved into education, as the Head of Music at Abbs Cross Performing Arts College in London.

He then moved to the same role at Redborne Upper School in Ampthill, running a wide variety of extra-curricular orchestras and groups that performed in the school and the wider community, as well as the Ampthill Concert Orchestra, conducting them at the Ampthill Proms since 2010.

Last year, Ben joined us and he said of the Inspiring Music service:

The focus is making sure we get really good quality staff in front of the kids, making sure they’re supported with events and encouraging them to do it.

I think young people do want to play music. I think parents want it to happen, so we’ve got to take as many barriers away as possible and make it happen.

I think that being able to string together confidence with creativity and dedication are things that generally underpin anything people go on to do in school and then the workplace.

It’s very difficult to teach creativity without the opportunities to explore what works and what doesn’t work, but without fear of it being right or wrong. Music is one of those opportunities where you can do that.

For me, the most creative person in existence was Albert Einstein. It’s not his maths or his genius that made him famous, it’s that he thought of an experiment that no-one else had ever thought of, which might prove something he believed.

The fact that he was creative enough to do that is the reason he is as famous as he is. It’s the creativity that’s important.

Helping to give a platform to the next generation of musical geniuses, Ben has organised Inspiring Music’s Beds Band Factory and Battle of the Bands, helping to create the new Key Stage 3 Battle of the Bands, to support school students’ musical progression.

This year’s competition – in association with Bedford Music Hub, Arts Council England and BBC Music Introducing – takes place on 4 March at Redborne Upper School.

Tickets are £5 for adults and £3 for concessions. Book tickets online now.

The Battle of the Bands takes place on 26 March at The Stables in Milton Keynes.