It’s rather worrying to hear, that children from lower income families, are half as likely to pursue musical studies, as they cannot afford the lessons and instruments. This is compounded by the removal of the art subjects from the EBacc and strong focus on STEM, science and engineering subjects, it feels like:
“Music education has been thrown to the wolves in the UK”
Those are some of the thoughts of musician John Thirkell, trumpet player with Tina Turner and Bruno Mars, who has called on the government to support music lessons for children.
Coinciding with this call to action, is research published by the Muscians’ Union. It suggest that only 19% of children from homes that earn less than £28,000 learned a musical instrument, compared to 40% of children in higher earning families.
The report goes on to state that whilst interest in music is equal between the groups, children from the lower income families were again half as likely to receive private lessons compared to those from higher income families, who are also more like to support and encourage their child to take lessons.
The Department of Education responded to the report by saying:
“The Department has invested £300m in music hubs between 2016-2020 to give every child the chance to learn an instrument at no cost to them or their families”
“Just last month, analysis showed that through music hubs, over 700,00 children learned to play instruments together in class last year”
I believe all children should have access to music lessons and instruments. Having worked in schools that did and did not have music on the curriculum for students, I have seen the difference that it makes to the way the children, think, feel and behave.
Not only that, but repeated studies show that studying music and learning to play an instrument teaches the skill of memorisation, which will serve students well in education and beyond. It develops language and reasoning skills, students who practice an instrument can develop better hand eye coordination, they feel a tremendous sense of achievement as they progress.
Let’s also remember that music is a very lucrative export for our country, with the music industry said to have contributed £4.5bn to the UK economy last year.