All children need access to a good music education
All together now: children learn the ukulele at Llandogo primary school, near Monmouth Photo: Alamy
SIR — In 2011 the Government announced an inspiring initiative, the National Plan for Music, to ensure all children, whatever their background, would get a good music education and the opportunity to learn an instrument.
However, this promise is not being met and recent studies show serious cause for concern. A sector-wide report from the exam board of the Royal Schools of Music (ABRSM) revealed that 40 per cent of British children from more disadvantaged backgrounds who have never played an instrument said they had no opportunity to learn at school. A Paul Hamlyn Foundation review this summer found that in primary schools, only half of music teachers surveyed said they had the necessary resources. Research for James Rhodes’s Don’t Stop the Music television series chimed with these reports, and identified significant problems with teacher training, funding and progression opportunities — issues often raised by the sector.
Music has proven benefits for children — building confidence, teamwork and discipline, and encouraging improvements in literacy and numeracy. But music can easily be undervalued in an already crowded curriculum — a situation worsened by the lack of attention paid to it in regular Ofsted inspections.
The Government must fulfil its commitment and end the inequality of opportunity in school music.
Concert Pianist and Champion of the Don’t Stop the Music campaign
Professor Colin Lawson Director, Royal College of Music
Russell Hobby General Secretary, National Association of Head Teachers
Julian Lloyd Webber Founder of In Harmony
Jeremy Newton CEO, Prince’s Foundation for Children & the Arts
Richard Hallam Chair, The Music Education Council
Anthony Bowne Principal, Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance
Professor David Saint Principal, Birmingham Conservatoire
Katherine Zeserson Director of Learning and Participation, Sage Gateshead
Professor Joe Wilson Director of Curriculum, Leeds College of Music
Deborah Annetts Chief Executive, Incorporated Society of Musicians
Jem Shuttleworth General Manager, The UK Association for Music Education — Music Mark
Sarah Alexander Chief Executive and Artistic Director, National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain
Ian Maclay Managing Director, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Christopher Warren-Green Music Director and Principal Conductor, London Chamber Orchestra
Marianna Hay Artistic Director and Founder, National Orchestra for All
Janie Orr Chief Executive, EMI Music Sound Foundation
Dr Mary Bousted General Secretary, Association of Teachers and Lecturers
Maestro Vladimir Ashkenazy
Professor Graham F Welch Chair of Music Education, Institute of Education
Kevin Brennan MP (Lab) Shadow Minister for Schools
Lord Lipsey Chair, All-Party Parliamentary Group on Classical Music
Lord Aberdare Member, All-Party Parliamentary Group on Music Education
Originally published at www.telegraph.co.uk on November 23, 2014.