Joint letter calls for action on music education
Julian Lloyd Webber, Sting and other leading figures from the worlds of music and education have joined James Rhodes to call on the government to end inequalities in music education.
More 25 highly respected names in music and education have signed an open letter published in today's Sunday Telegraph, calling on the Government to fulfil the promise made in the 2011 National Plan for Music Education that all children, whatever their background, should have access to a good music education and the chance to learn an instrument.
Signatories include internationally renowned conservatoires, the Music Education Council (the umbrella body for music education organisations in the UK), as well as teachers’ and head teachers’ unions, leading orchestras, charities, parliamentarians and musicians.
Concert pianist James Rhodes, who is spearheading the Don't Stop The Music campaign said: “The lottery in schools music is utterly unacceptable. Whilst there is excellent work going on in some schools, for many children learning to play an instrument and the opportunity to progress are simply out of reach.
“Whilst funding is imperative, it’s not just about money. Head teachers are under enormous pressure to meet targets on English and Maths, and unsurprisingly subjects like music can slip right down the agenda. But this is nonsensical when you consider that, along with proven benefits for children in self-confidence, discipline and team working, music can also improve results in literacy, numeracy, and IQ."
Supporting the campaign, Sting said: “I’ve said it before, but it is true: picking up a guitar saved my life and to this day gives me joy every time I pick it up. The opportunity to learn and play music is something every child should experience as a right.”
Jeremy Newton, CEO of the Prince’s Foundation for Children and the Arts, said: “We absolutely share the view that the National Music Plan is vital to the future of music in schools and that the momentum of its implementation should be maintained and, if possible, increased.”
Professor Joe Wilson, Director of Curriculum at Leeds College Of Music conservatoire, said: "The benefits of learning a musical instrument cannot be underestimated. Music itself is only one recognisable output of learning an instrument ... A young person who has had access to a musical instrument, demonstrably becomes a more useful, productive, creative, happier and self-aware member of society.”
Take action, sign James Rhodes' petition to government now.