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Getting to know more about the UK

jbtsax

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As a citizen of the US, there are many things about the English culture that I have always been curious about. For example, why do you folks drive on the wrong side of the road (as opposed to the right side). Just kidding, of course. :)

Really, I have heard that most cars, autos, or whatever you call them do not have automatic transmissions like in the US, but have stick shifts. Is that true? How much do you pay for a gallon (or liter) of petrol? Over here it is about $3.00 per gallon.

What about music education in the schools? Do you have school band classes like we do in the US, or do students learn to play instruments outside of school? What about choirs and orchestra classes as well?

I have heard a lot about music performance and theory testing to achieve different levels of progress. Who decides what is to be on the tests, and who listens and grades the performance? Is it free, or are there fees involved?

Is music education taught in the colleges and universities? What I mean is teaching musicians how to teach others to play each instrument. Any information would be appreciated.
 

Clivey

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You need to come across and see for yourself buddy.

Things are expensive over here but you can always take measures to econmise. Unfortunately Cars are not cheap to run and you will be paying about £1.40 a litre for your Gas / Deisel.

I`m hoping to take a pretty long road trip taking in Canada, the USA and perhaps S . America in the next year or so I will hopefully buy a RV in Canada and use the Veihcle until we are ready to come home . " if we do"..

Well at least the fuel will be cheap but I might have to leave my horns behind:(
 

Tenor Viol

Full of frets in North Shropshire
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Lots of interesting questions - I'm sure you'll get some interesting responses. Here's few.
  • Once upon a time, everyone drove on the left until I believe a certain Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte wanted to demonstrate his authority and made people wherever he 'ruled' (which was a big chunk of Europe at one point) drive on the opposite side of the road - because he could.
  • In the UK we use Imperial measures in day-to-day use, but SI units (i.e. metric) are taught at school for all maths and science and has been for over 40 years. So we'll happily talk in feet and inches, but we have to buy carpet for example by the metre.
  • There are some minor differences between US and Imperial measures: an Imperial pint has 20 fluid ounces, not the 16 that a US pint has. So although we both have gallons of 8 pints a US gallon is only the equivalent of 6 Imperial pints (i.e. 3/4).
  • Petrol/diesel is darned expensive. I drive a VW Passat CC and I put 57 litres of diesel (c.16 US gallons?) in it this afternoon at a cost of GBP 81 (USD130 ish).
  • Auto gear boxes are not common in the UK, except on larger cars. Historically auto boxes were inefficient with small engines. I have had auto on my last two cars (the aforementioned VW and Mercedes C220 Coupé).
  • Music education varies. Most primary schools (5 - 11 year olds) offer basic tuition usually in things like recorders. At the age of 9 in some areas, conventional instruments will be offered (vioins, flutes, trumpets etc). This is what my nephew did (trumpet).
  • What happens in secondary school (11 - 16/18) depends on the local education authority to some extent. When I was at aschool, I was loaned a cello and had lessons from 11- 16. In the better ones, instrument tuition is still available. More able students will be put into wind bands and orchestras run by the local education authority (my nephew, now 15, plays cornet in the senior wind band and senior ensemble - they have loaned him a GBP1,500 instrument which he can use whilst he stays with them). Marching bands are almost unheard of in the UK, other than military.
  • There is a well-developed system of music training using 'grade exams' through various examination boards such as ABRSM (Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music) and wide avaialbility of teachers who teach it (usually privately but some schools/education authorities provide tuition).
  • Choral training in schools is very variable - it depends if they have the specialist staff or not - some are outstanding. Some secondary schools are labelled as 'performing arts' specialists and so are likely ot have better facilities.
  • Private schools usually have outstanding arts facilities
  • Most of the Cathedral choir schools are private (not all) but have scholarships available for those with ability but no money!
  • The above mentioned music grade system has parallel tracks for practical and theory and goes up to grade 8.
  • There are levels above this (broadly equivalent to graduate level) at diploma and licentiate level
  • You can do general music degrees at many universities
  • If you wish to become a professional (orchestral) musician, then you would go to one of the conservatoires such as the Royal College of Music, Royal Academy of Music, The Royal Northen College of Music etc
Hope that helps! Hope it's not twaddle either - it's nearly 2am here!
 
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kevgermany

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Tv forgot the brass bands - private, often associated with a works (company). And that beer is still consumed by the pint, even if food and drink are sold in metric units (often by paying lip service to the regs - selling 454g of something instead of a 1lb). In Germany the pound weight (Pfund) is often used unofficially, but it now means half a Kg, about 10% more than a pound.

Pipes are sold in metric sizes, but these sizes are the nearest millimetre size to the old imperial sizes (e.g. 13mm for 1/2"). And for domestic use, still use the old imperial threads (bsp....). Funnily enough this is also the case in Germany, which was metricated before the UK even dared to think about it.....

On the driving on the left/right, the story I was told was that in the days when men carried arms, they always passed right side to right side so that if something happened, their sword arm was closest to the enemy... And this carried through to mounted soldiers, carriages etc. But wasn't legislated, it was just convention. Napoleon, in a bid to stop/reduce the fighting in Franceissued a law saying people had to pass left to left, not right to right. And this led to the drive on the right rule. People still drive on the left in Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Ireland and many African countries (which makes life interesting when you cross a border and forget to swap) as well as other ex colonies. I'd guess that the US, in it's post independance days decided to go French, rather than perpetuate an English custom.

But cutting music education was one of the cost savers introduced about 20-30 years ago.
 

old git

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Mensuration was changed in the Victorian era when the Imperial (how grand) system was introduced which altered the lot upwards. A hundredweight changed from 100 pounds to 112 pounds avoirdupois, whatever that means along side the increase in the cubic measurements. Why? To illustrate how great the Empire was. You Yanks held on to the original system.

Manual transmission can be a boon in on the limit handling as the torque output to the wheels is purely dependent on throttle position and RPM rather than throttle, RPM and what the auto decides to do. Having said that, Formula Junior had a very competitive automatic car using the Dutch Van Veld belt drive system. Most public service vehicles and quite a few police vehicles are automatic as it saves all the extra stresses placed on the transmission by unskilled operators.

BTW Careful with the English, use UK as we are a bunch of mixed races and if you don't want to be struck by a Celtic Harp or have Gaelic or Irish bagpipes inserted in an inconvenient orifice, take care. :):)

Apologies for being serious.
 

MandyH

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As an observation in language, which might create confusion - what we call state schools, you call public schools.
What we call public schools, you call private schools (I think)
I know there is some confusion between UK English and American English over the Public school bit (free in the US and fee-paying in the UK)

And lets not get started on "pants"
... and (should I safely say) "erasers"

And there are music education courses - you can train to be a music teacher, if that is what you meant?
 

Tenor Viol

Full of frets in North Shropshire
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Mensuration was changed in the Victorian era when the Imperial (how grand) system was introduced which altered the lot upwards. A hundredweight changed from 100 pounds to 112 pounds avoirdupois, whatever that means along side the increase in the cubic measurements. Why? To illustrate how great the Empire was. You Yanks held on to the original system.

Manual transmission can be a boon in on the limit handling as the torque output to the wheels is purely dependent on throttle position and RPM rather than throttle, RPM and what the auto decides to do. Having said that, Formula Junior had a very competitive automatic car using the Dutch Van Veld belt drive system. Most public service vehicles and quite a few police vehicles are automatic as it saves all the extra stresses placed on the transmission by unskilled operators.

BTW Careful with the English, use UK as we are a bunch of mixed races and if you don't want to be struck by a Celtic Harp or have Gaelic or Irish bagpipes inserted in an inconvenient orifice, take care. :):)

Apologies for being serious.
Interesting OG - I hadn't realised that the Victorians had messed around with weights and measures etc (probably ought to have, I once had a summer job in Liverpool Museum photographing a vast collection of standard weights and measures equipment used by trading standards type people - all those brass tubs with plate glass tops for measuring bushels etc). I assume this is when the pint diverged?
 

thomsax

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3,805
TV wrote:

Historically auto boxes were inefficient with small engines.

I owned a Buick Super Eight (Riveria model) with an automatic gearbox called "Dynaflow" ( you shouldn't feel the steps but it was an ordinary 2-steps automatic gear box with a vaccum-pump). That car needed 3 litre fuel/mile (Swedish miles). So even big engines were inefficient with automatic gearboxes!

Thomas
 

Tenor Viol

Full of frets in North Shropshire
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Tv forgot the brass bands - private, often associated with a works (company). And that beer is still consumed by the pint, even if food and drink are sold in metric units (often by paying lip service to the regs - selling 454g of something instead of a 1lb). In Germany the pound weight (Pfund) is often used unofficially, but it now means half a Kg, about 10% more than a pound.

Pipes are sold in metric sizes, but these sizes are the nearest millimetre size to the old imperial sizes (e.g. 13mm for 1/2"). And for domestic use, still use the old imperial threads (bsp....). Funnily enough this is also the case in Germany, which was metricated before the UK even dared to think about it.....

On the driving on the left/right, the story I was told was that in the days when men carried arms, they always passed right side to right side so that if something happened, their sword arm was closest to the enemy... And this carried through to mounted soldiers, carriages etc. But wasn't legislated, it was just convention. Napoleon, in a bid to stop/reduce the fighting in Franceissued a law saying people had to pass left to left, not right to right. And this led to the drive on the right rule. People still drive on the left in Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Ireland and many African countries (which makes life interesting when you cross a border and forget to swap) as well as other ex colonies. I'd guess that the US, in it's post independance days decided to go French, rather than perpetuate an English custom.

But cutting music education was one of the cost savers introduced about 20-30 years ago.
To expand on what Kev says slightly, there are huge numbers of amateur music groups all over the country - brass bands, wind bands, orchestras, choirs etc. There is an umbrella organisation called "Making Music" (it's a charity and provides support including access to public liability insurance at reasonable rates!) and they have something like 2,200 choirs registered with them and that's probably significantly less than half of the 'real' number and does not include church choirs.
 

jonf

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Pretty much all industry uses metric measurements, and has done for a long time. Imperial is just hopeless, particularly when you want to scale something up or down. For a real lesson in how cumbersome imperial measurements are, try explaining them to a primary school kid who has only ever been taught metric.

Auto transmissions are becoming more an more common, as they become more efficient. Because of the high cost of fuel, automotive engineering is strongly biased towards efficiency, so it is common to see cars with 7 or 8 speed auto boxes here. Also, a typical 1800cc engine here (that's about 120 cubic inches) produces 150-170 horespower, and will give 40 miles to the gallon. Interestingly, despite the high cost of fuel, people here tend to drive faster than in most other countries I've visited (and far faster than in the US and Canada).

Music is a mandatory part of the National Curriculum, so is taught to some degree to all children, although the level of tuition varies from school to school. Much of it is free, as schooling is free at the point of delivery, except for those who think their children should be educated in private away from the masses (getting into a bit of a political area now, so will stop....).

Jon
 

Filton

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Pretty much all industry uses metric measurements, and has done for a long time. Imperial is just hopeless, particularly when you want to scale something up or down. For a real lesson in how cumbersome imperial measurements are, try explaining them to a primary school kid who has only ever been taught metric.
Have to disagree... 1/8 inch is easier to visualise than 3.175 mm and a thousandths of an inch are much better than .025 of a mm . . . (I spent my formative years as a Jig and Tool Designer . . :) ) and we of course still use Miles to determine distance and miles per hour to determine speed . . . . and even in your post you are quoting MILES per GALLON >:) .....

and HORSEPOWER rather than KiloWatts and then quoting Cubic Centimetres . . . . just gors to show how totally mucked up and confusing this country has become :w00t::))):)))
 

Targa

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On the driving on the left/right, the story I was told was that in the days when men carried arms, they always passed right side to right side so that if something happened, their sword arm was closest to the enemy... And this carried through to mounted soldiers, carriages etc. But wasn't legislated, it was just convention. Napoleon, in a bid to stop/reduce the fighting in Franceissued a law saying people had to pass left to left, not right to right. And this led to the drive on the right rule. People still drive on the left in Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Ireland and many African countries (which makes life interesting when you cross a border and forget to swap) as well as other ex colonies. I'd guess that the US, in it's post independance days decided to go French, rather than perpetuate an English custom.
I heard that the pass right to right was so that if attacked from the side of the road the sword arm was free.
It's interesting to note that in old motor racing films when there was a ride on mechanic, the cars are nearly all RHD regardless of nationality.
 

jonf

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Have to disagree... 1/8 inch is easier to visualise than 3.175 mm and a thousandths of an inch are much better than .025 of a mm . . . (I spent my formative years as a Jig and Tool Designer . . :) ) and we of course still use Miles to determine distance and miles per hour to determine speed . . . . and even in your post you are quoting MILES per GALLON >:) .....

and HORSEPOWER rather than KiloWatts and then quoting Cubic Centimetres . . . . just gors to show how totally mucked up and confusing this country has become :w00t::))):)))
Nope, not with you there at all. While a measurement of 1/8" might be easy to visualise, when you're doing a 1/5 scale mock up how on earth do you work out 1/5 of 1/8"? And whatever you did as a designer, pretty much all of UK industry went metric years ago. My dad, who's an old school heavy industry engineer, now in his 70's abandoned all his imperial measuring kit in the 1970s.

There's a reason we stick to miles for distance and fuel economy measurements - we're pretty much forced into it by the fact that distance and speed limits are still measured in imperial for some reason I can't fathom. I'd be far happier if they were in KM just like on the continent. Similarly, horsepower is sort of socially conditioned into us, as pretty much all advertisement uses it as a measurement of the might of an engine (however misleading that may also be, as an aside), and even European manufacturers often quote PS, a near-horsepower equivalent which has actually been obsolete for twenty years. KW is of course a much more sensible measure.
 

jbtsax

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Wow! Thank everybody for all the interesting facts and information. Please keep it coming. This is really fun to learn more about the folks in the UK (thanks old git). From now on I will back out of the room whenever I see a bagpipe playing Irisman.
 

Filton

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243
if you think of fractions as numbers it is quite easy . . . knowing an 1.8 is .125 it is simple to work out that a fifth of 1/8th would be .025

Because I used this stuff all the time I have no problems instantly converting fractions to decimals.... However, please understand I am not trying to be argumental or resistant to change, I guess it is simply that I personally find imperial measurements easier to deal with.

We do have a very over-complicated and confused way in this country.. as I said, miles/furlongs/acres/hectares/knots/feet/metres/Gallons/Pints/Litres you will hear many people using combinations of these every day without even considering that they are mixing systems.

I always think that it must be incredibly difficult for anyone from another country to understand what we get up to on this little island of ours..... wouldn't have it any other way though :)
 

jonf

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3,680
. However, please understand I am not trying to be argumental or resistant to change,:)
No, no, not at all, one of the good things about this forum is people seem to be able to express differing opinions without falling out.

For me it's the opposite. Although I'm in my mid 40s, I've never got on with imperial measurements, all these 12ths, sixteenths, etc compared to everything divisible by 10 in metric. The ready equivalence between volume and mass is also really handy when teaching stuff to kids. My eldest (aged 10) asked me to explain th imperial system to her, and although she's a clever kid she really struggled.

If ever you want to see a good example of a complex mix of metric, imperial and Whitworth bolt heads and metric and Whitworth threads (various), have a look at an astronomocial telescope mount. All will be found present and correct, together with Allen bolts, machine screws and knurled knobs. Ought to be a law against it............
 

Jules

Formerly known as "nachoman"
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Jon- I assume you're of the age, like myself, that your education swapped from imperial to metric at just the point when you were absorbing the intuitive knowledge of this kind of thing- hence neither feels ingrained properly......
 

Tenor Viol

Full of frets in North Shropshire
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5,946
No, no, not at all, one of the good things about this forum is people seem to be able to express differing opinions without falling out.

For me it's the opposite. Although I'm in my mid 40s, I've never got on with imperial measurements, all these 12ths, sixteenths, etc compared to everything divisible by 10 in metric. The ready equivalence between volume and mass is also really handy when teaching stuff to kids. My eldest (aged 10) asked me to explain th imperial system to her, and although she's a clever kid she really struggled.

If ever you want to see a good example of a complex mix of metric, imperial and Whitworth bolt heads and metric and Whitworth threads (various), have a look at an astronomocial telescope mount. All will be found present and correct, together with Allen bolts, machine screws and knurled knobs. Ought to be a law against it............
Nothing to beat a 1/4 inch 20 Whitworth!:)))
 

Tenor Viol

Full of frets in North Shropshire
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Jon- I assume you're of the age, like myself, that your education swapped from imperial to metric at just the point when you were absorbing the intuitive knowledge of this kind of thing- hence neither feels ingrained properly......
I'm in my 50s and we had Imperial at primary school, but it was metric and MKS SI units all the way in secondary (from 1971 on).
 
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