Musicians defend music in schools

Call for free lessons and instruments

Top musicians have joined in the campaign to save arts provision in English schools.

More than 20 past winners of the BBC’s Young Musician competition, including Nicola Benedetti, have written to the Guardian expressing their concern that that instrumental music learning is being left to decay.

In their letter, the musicians say that this “could seriously damage the future of music here and jeopardise British music’s hard won worldwide reputation.”

They are launching a campaign for every primary school child to be taught to play an instrument, at no cost to them or their families.

In the letter, the musicians said, “It is crucial to restore music’s rightful place in children’s lives, not only with all the clear social and educational benefits, but showing them the joy of making and sharing music. This is an opportunity to show the world that we care about music’s future and its beneficial impact on our children.

They added, “Music is inclusive. Music works across culture, across class, across language. It seems to be hard wired into humans. Music is spontaneous, and with some teaching music can enrich children’s lives forever.”

They praised Newham Council’s Every Child A Musician scheme, which provides free lessons and gifts all primary school children a free instrument to keep, as an example to be followed.

“ We believe that every child deserves to enjoy the benefits of Ecam and other excellent schemes, and their widespread adoption would alleviate many of our current concerns about the future of music in this country. There are cost-effective, efficient and inspiring early-level interventions available, and we call upon the governments in Westminster, Edinburgh and Cardiff to join us in making this happen across the whole country. 

Signatories also include: Nicholas Daniel, Michael Hext, Anna Markland, Emma Johnson, Alan Brind, David Pyatt, Nicola Loud, Freddy Kempf, Natalie Clein, Rafal Zambrzycki-Payne, Adrian Spillett, Guy Johnston, Jennifer Pike, Mark Simpson, Peter Moore, Lara Ömeroglu, Laura Van der Heijden, Martin James Bartlett, Sheku Kanneh-Mason.

The move follows a similar letter from more than one hundred artists, urging ministers to reevaluate its new English baccalaureate (Ebacc) qualification, which sidelines the arts.


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