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Is Music Education In Crisis?

Published: 14 Oct 13, 03:56pm  |  Author: DG Music

How important is music in a child’s education? With the government forever tightening the country’s purse strings, music education funding has already been slashed. Is this to the detriment of a future generation’s musical development or will genius and talent prevail even without a thorough musical education?

New 'Hubs'

Not only have budgets for teaching music in schools been cut but also there have been changes to the overall structure of music education. The 2011 Henley review of music suggested that ‘hubs’ be created in the place of music facilities run by local authorities. ‘Hubs’ would be partnerships, including charities, schools, education providers and arts organisations. Change can be a brilliant catalyst for progression but the proposed developments caused alarm among music services employees because with open bidding, there was uncertainty about the feasibility and success of the ‘hubs’ working at all.

Unstable Job Enviroment

Last year the changes were put into place and staff places were squeezed, resulting in many music teachers taking voluntary redundancy or becoming self-employed, which is a far smaller and unstable job market. In terms of the difference children experience in their musical education, classes have had to become larger with a mixture of abilities. Teaching someone how to play an instrument, read music and improve requires intense one-on-one input and this just cannot be delivered in the same way in large groups.

Musicians' Union

Diane Widdison from the Musicians’ Union is the national organiser for teaching and expressed her fears that the changes local authorities were considering would have a negative effect on recruiting new music teachers: “It’s going to be even more part-time, even more self- employed, with even fewer training opportunities.” 

Inclusion or Exclusion?

Perhaps the ‘hubs’ scheme is not as bad as people initially expected. After all, times are hard and so systems have to adapt and education is included in this. Arts Council England have stated that is it their goal "to ensure that every child aged five to 18 has the opportunity to sing and learn a musical instrument, to progress to the next level, and play with other children as part of an ensemble or choir". Pooling the resources and knowledge of charities, schools and other bodies could reduce spending by sharing costs.

The Future Is Bright...?

It seems to be a historical fact that the media often find the most negative angle to view things from. Changes in education always cause unsettlement and worry but as long as children are still inclined to pick up instruments and teachers still exist to encourage them then music education will survive. In the YouTube dominated world we live in, many children auto-didactically learn what they are passionate about anyway. Of course having access to musical instruments may be harder than getting on to YouTube and teaching is an invaluable experience, both for the pupil and teacher.

Fostering a new generation of talent is culturally important and also learning to play music has many benefits like language development as music heavily engages the left-side of the brain responsible for speech.

About DG Music

DG Music is a professional Music Agency providing bands and musicians for private events and public performances.

The business has been operating since 2004 and is proud of the professional and friendly service it provides.

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