The quiet decline of music in British schools: Total eclipse of the arts…

While snowed in the other week (and by ‘snowed in’ I mean just staying inside because it looked cold outside) I came across this article, and these are my, albeit brief, thoughts:

A decline in music in schools means a decline in the quantity and quality of audiences and musical outputs, irrespective of the context.

Although increasing funding won’t solve the issues regarding how—or indeed what—music is taught it will enable more children to access effective music education. Also, I think the definition of ‘poorer’ children in this context can meaningfully be extended to ‘many’ children; how many parents have an extra £80–£150+ to spend a month on private music tuition? Very few I would think.

Musical training of this nature—and by that, I mean one-to-one tuition or small group tuition—is an opportunity and service that should be, where possible, funded (or at least heavily subsidised) by the state. Predominantly because I don’t believe its value is easily understood or translatable into a free market domain.

2 Replies to “The quiet decline of music in British schools: Total eclipse of the arts…”

  1. I don’t think funding is the only element to blame here. Pressure for students to attain good grades in core subjects (English, Maths, and Science) mean the focus is here and not on the Arts and Humanities subjects. If a school recognises the importance of music they’ll make it a priority, whether the funding is there or not. For example, I know a school with a very tight budget but they find the extra ££ to employ a music teacher for small group sessions. They also incorporate song where possible and all their public assemblies have a group of children providing a small accompanying orchestra. Granted probably not as expensive as one to one tuition but, what a difference a school’s ethos makes. I wish all schools recognised the importance of music to a child’s wellbeing!

    1. Agreed! I suppose my view, although somewhat idealistic and bias for obvious reasons, is that I want every child to have meaningful access to one-to-one (or maybe small group) lessons. But, you’re certainly correct, a good ethos from leadership makes a difference. I do feel that part of the issues is that the ‘value’ of learning music is not understood, or moreover, doesn’t resonate (as you alluded to) with metrics for gauging a schools ‘success’.

      Also, thanks for testing the comments! Nice that they work : )

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