‘Music education is now only for the white and the wealthy’

Following on from recent research by the University of Sussex which suggests that music as a subject could be facing extinction in England’s secondary schools, Charlotte C Gill’s opinion piece in The Guardian says schools in England need to embrace diversity and stop teaching music in such an academic way.

She says that while music education is deteriorating around the UK, in England there’s too much focus on the English baccalaureate which was introduced to boost the number of students studying science and languages.

Since 2010, when the baccalaureate was introduced, education has become harder and harder to access in England, and the number of students taking music at GCSE and A-level has dropped by about 9% as teachers homed in on “academic” subjects. Increasingly, the onus has been on parents – and children – to take up private tuition, putting those who cannot afford such lessons at a disadvantage.

According to Ms Gill, music has always been taught in a far too academic way, “meaning that theoretical knowledge is the main route to advancement. While there are routes into musical careers for the untrained, and many pop, rap and grime artists have never studied music formally, there are also dozens of choirs and amateur collectives that put a huge focus on musical notation”.

“Not every student will benefit from notation,” she continues, “some can learn aurally; others through letters or shapes. Sure, we may not be able to tell the difference between the bass and treble clef, but we can play our favourite songs. That is all I ever wanted from music”.

The Guardian: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/mar/27/music-lessons-children-white-wealthy Login to read the comments.

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