Music education

New research shows music ‘could face extinction’ in England’s secondary schools

New research from the University of Sussex reveals that nearly 60% of teachers from state schools in England believe the controversial English Baccalaureate (EBacc) is having a negative impact on the numbers of students choosing to study music, while just 3% believe it has benefitted the subject.

Academics from the University’s School of Education and Social Work surveyed 705 schools (657 state and 48 independent schools) in England, over a five-year period. They discovered that 393 state schools claim the EBacc is having a negative impact on the provision and uptake of music within their own school and on the wider curriculum.

The current EBacc school performance measure, introduced by the Government in 2013, is awarded to schools when students gain a grade C or above at GCSE level across five subjects: English, mathematics, history or geography, the sciences and a language. Other subjects such as music, drama and art are not included in the measure.

Findings include:

  • A decrease in schools providing music as part of the curriculum to year 9
    Music is a mandatory part of the curriculum up to and including year 9 – although academies are exempt from this. The number of schools providing music as part of the compulsory curriculum in year 9 is down from 84 per cent in 2012, to 62 per cent in 2016.
  • A decrease in schools offering music at GCSE level
    Down from 85 per cent in 2012 to 79 per cent in 2016.
  • A decrease in schools offering offering Music BTEC level 2
    Down from 166 in 2012-13 to just 50 in 2016-17
  • A decrease in music staff, more one-person departments
    39% of the teachers surveyed reported cuts to music staff numbers, while 17% reported increases. In 30% of secondary schools the music department consisted of just one teacher, up from 22% five years ago, the survey found.

Duncan Mackrill, a Senior Lecturer in Education at the University of Sussex, said: “Our research clearly shows the EBacc is having a detrimental effect on the uptake of music in state secondary schools. We also have evidence that the EBacc policy has resulted in a negative impact on the wider musical life of schools as well as curriculum provision.

“The future of music as an academic subject is precariously balanced with curriculum time having reduced significantly at Key Stage 3 in many state schools over the last five years. This Government needs to take appropriate action to prevent the further erosion of music in secondary schools – before we lose the subject in some schools for good.”

The results of the survey are in stark contrast to a recent report by the New Schools Network, which claimed that the EBacc has had “no discernible impact” on the popularity of the arts at GCSE. The New Schools Network research has been challenged by head teachers unions.

Dr Ally Daubney, from the University of Sussex, who co-authored the new research, said: “Already the threat of the Government implementing their policy of ‘at least 90 percent of pupils in mainstream secondary school to be included within EBacc by 2020’ is having a significantly negative impact across secondary school provision and means that music as a subject could be facing extinction.”

Sources:
University of Sussex: http://www.sussex.ac.uk/broadcast/read/39525
BBC: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-39154242
TES: https://www.tes.com/news/school-news/breaking-news/music-schools-could-face-extinction-because-ebacc

Related:

Analysis of DfE statistics by Dr Martin Fautley:
Fewer music teachers; reduced time for music on the timetable https://drfautley.wordpress.com/2016/11/28/is-curriculum-music-safe/

 

Eddie Van Halen on the importance of music education

 

CNN interviewed rock star Eddie Van Halen recently, about his work with Mr. Holland’s Opus Foundation, a group that helps get instruments to economically-disadvantaged young people. In 2012, Eddie Van Halen donated 75 guitars from his personal collection to students in low-income schools.

“Could you imagine a world without music? It’s a must,” the Van Halen legend told CNN in a new interview. “It has to be taught.”

“Our goal is to give kids every tool they can possibly have to succeed. Music is the common denominator,” foundation president and CEO Felice Mancini said. “You put a kid in a music class and it builds community, communication and they find a place. It’s a safe haven.”

Sources:

Loudwire: http://loudwire.com/eddie-van-halen-music-education-massive-guitar-donation/

Rolling Stone: http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/eddie-van-halen-donates-75-of-his-guitars-to-public-schools-20120112

 

 

Music and early years speech and language programme reports on first year

creativefutures‘Music for Change’ 2015-18, is a multi-year programme which enhances children’s early development and improve rates of school readiness among pre-school children in northwest Westminster, an area of multiple deprivation.

It is delivered by Creative Futures, a multi-arts charity which transforms the lives of vulnerable children and young people through high-quality arts programmes.

Devised to meet specific needs identified by the local authority’s Early Years Advisory Team, the project focuses on supporting children with speech and language delay in collaboration with NHS speech and language therapists from Central London Community Healthcare.

This report, on the first year of the project, brings together findings from Creative Futures’ own observations of the project, feedback from Early Years Professionals, extracts from reports provided by the speech and language therapists and music leaders who co-delivered the work, and a process evaluation by Professor Graham Welch from the University College London’s Institute of Education and Alice Bowmer.

SOURCE:
iMerc.org: http://www.imerc.org/research/75-creative-futures

Stop treating music in schools as background noise

Image from Pixabay, reproduced under Creative Commons CC0.

Image from Pixabay, reproduced under Creative Commons CC0.

Too many schools and educators are still treating music as background noise, says the executive director of a US music charity. Many don’t realise that even in the smallest doses, the impact of music is vast.

In this Huffington Post blog, Lydia Kontos, the executive director of the non-profit organisation, Kaufman Music Center, argues that it is undeniable that growing up in a musically rich environment positively impacts learning.

That’s because practicing an instrument, understanding rhythm and notes or performing in an orchestra or band is more than simply making music – it’s helping to facilitate learning in other subjects and enhancing the skills all students use and need on a day-to-day basis.

She implores schools and educators across the USA to stop treating music as white noise, and suggests that they grasp the opportunity to change the tune for the next generation of thinkers, scientists, artists and leaders.

Source:
Huffington Post: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/lydia-kontos/dont-fall-flat-put-the-a-_b_11977624.html
Kaufman Music Center: http://www.kaufmanmusiccenter.org/

Levi’s launches an education programme to support young musicians

s3-news-tmp-85019-music-2x1-940

Levi’s recently announced a long-term initiative in the US and UK, to provide young people with access to music education, responding to the fact that music education is being cut in schools.

The brand has worked with four musicians so far to launch a series of music education programmes for young people in the UK and USA.

It has worked with London grime artist, Skepta, to launch a two-month music programme at a community centre in Tottenham, covering lighting design, sound production and building a social media presence as an artist. And it has worked with Alicia Keys to create a music technology course at a school in Brooklyn, New York, introducing students to sound engineering, audio-visual production, post-production, mastering and songwriting.

With hip-hop artist Vince Staples it has worked to create a music technology programme for teens at a YMCA in Long Beach, California, which kicked off with a songwriting class led by Staples. And musician SZA also teamed up with the brand back in April to put on a summer concert and community event promoting healthy eating in New Jersey.

Jennifer Sey, chief marketing officer at Levi’s, says the idea for the project came out of research which revealed that music education is being cut in schools.

“We thought that was quite sad really, so what we aim to do with these artists is to create customised programmes that they help us build,” she explains. “Not each one is the same but we work with them to essentially bring music education back to their communities. The idea is to give kids a chance to learn music and express themselves in a positive way. If they become musicians, great. If they don’t, that’s fine too. Really, the benefit is in the learning.”

Projects will be documented online and Levi’s is promoting the scheme on social media using the hashtag #supportmusic. The brand is also selling #supportmusic pins online and in stores and proceeds will go towards funding new programmes around the world.

Sources:
Creative Review: https://www.creativereview.co.uk/levis-launching-education-programme-support-young-musicians/
Levi’s Music Project: http://www.levi.com/US/en_US/features/liveinlevis/

Is Music Good For Your Child?

Education Through Music guitar class

Thanks to: Education Through Music for the photo by Anna Yatskevich

We all know, instinctively, that music is good for us, and for our children. Who can deny the affect that music has on us, its ability to express and understand complex feelings, and our drive as humans to make music, and to share it at the most important points in our lives?

And those responsible for our education systems across the world seem to agree, giving music a central place and in many cases prioritising it above other arts. References are often made to music’s ‘instrumental’ benefits – improving academic achievement, personal development, and life skills.

In this article on the Musicstage website, Anita Holford and Dyfan Wyn Owen, both parents of a young musician, look at whether learning music really can make a difference to childrens’ futures.

(Please note you can ask for the full article to be emailed to you from Musicstage, or you can sign-up to Musicstage, or become a subscriber).

Source:
http://musicstage.co/Musicstage-GB/82e08e38af2d40d98151449f2eff6da2-Is-music-good-for-your-child/WebViewer 

Study reveals most teachers and parents believe music should be taught in secondary school

A National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) Foundation study reveals a majority of teachers and parents believes music and arts education is important for children, and most believe it should be required in middle school.

A nationwide study, titled “Striking a Chord: The Public’s Hopes and Beliefs for K-12 Music Education in the United States 2015,” surveyed 1,000 teachers and 800 parents found strong support for music education at all grade levels.

According to the survey  77 per cent of teachers and 64 per cent of parents agree that music and arts education are “extremely important” or “very important.”

Sixty-three per cent of teachers and 57 per cent of parents believe music education should be a required subject in middle school (similar to UK secondary school).

Eighty-seven per cent of teachers and 81 per cent of parents believe children should have a chance to learn to play musical instruments as early as elementary school.

The survey also found that 83 per cent of teachers and 73 per cent of parents say cutting music education is detrimental for students. Minority parents are also strongly committed to music education; African-American (76 per cent) and Hispanic parents (75 per cent) are more likely than Caucasian parents (67 per cent) to enroll their children in school music classes, the study found.

SOURCES:

NAMM Foundation: http://www.nammfoundation.org/articles/striking-chord-hopes-and-beliefs-k-12-music-education

ischoolguide.com: http://www.ischoolguide.com/articles/12437/20150520/namm-foundation-study-teachers-parents-music-education-required-middle-school.htm

DETAILS:

BENEFIT: WELLBEING & DEVELOPMENT
TARGET GROUP: CHILDREN & YOUNG ADULTS
AGE: 5-16 YEARS
MUSIC TYPE: GENERAL
TYPE OF STUDY: ACADEMIC RESEARCH
NOs INVOLVED: 1,000 TEACHERS & 800 PARENTS
PERIOD OF STUDY: 2 MONTHS
DATE: 2015
PLACE: USA

Music education advocacy publication: how music helps students learn, achieve, and succeed

Music Education advocacy doc

Music education advocacy document

The Arts Education Partnership (AEP) in Washington DC published a useful advocacy document for music education in 2011, funded by the Quincy Jones Musiq Consortium. It was based on a review of an extensive body of high-quality, evidence-based studies that document student learning outcomes in and through music.

The results show conclusively that music education equips students with the foundational abilities to learn, to achieve in other core academic subjects, and to develop the capacities, skills and knowledge essential for lifelong success.

The document summarises the benefits around three main areas: (1) Music education prepares students to learn; (2) Music education facilitates student academic achievement; and (3) Music education develops the creative capacities for lifelong success.

SOURCES:

Arts Education Partnership: http://www.aep-arts.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/Music-Matters-Final.pdf

The Education Resources Information Center (ERIC): http://eric.ed.gov/?q=music+education&ft=on&ff1=dtySince_2011&ff2=subMusic+Education&id=ED541070

DETAILS:

BENEFIT: LEARNING ABILITY, ACADEMIC ACHIEVEMENT, CREATIVE SKILLS FOR LIFE
TARGET GROUP: EVERYONE
AGE: ALL AGE GROUPS
MUSIC TYPE: GENERAL
TYPE OF STUDY: REVIEW OF ACADEMIC RESEARCH
NOs INVOLVED: UNKNOWN
PERIOD OF STUDY: UNKNOWN
DATE: 2011
PLACE: USA

Extra music training improves students’ visual and auditory memory

European Journal of Developmental Psychology coverResearchers from the Justus-Liebig-University in Giessen, Germany studied the influence of two years’ of school music training  on visual and auditory memory – both important aspects of memory that aid learning.

The study tested 10-year-old children who had just started an extended music curriculum (EMC) and children without EMC in visual and auditory memory, and retested the same children two years later to observe the effects of school music training. Children with EMC improved significantly in visual as well as in auditory memory, but such an improvement was not found in children without EMC.

SOURCES:

Taylor & Francis Online:

DETAILS:

BENEFIT: VISUAL & AUDITORY MEMORY
TARGET GROUP: CHILDREN
AGE: 10-YEAR-OLDS
MUSIC TYPE: GENERAL
TYPE OF STUDY: ACADEMIC RESEARCH
NOs INVOLVED: UNKNOWN
PERIOD OF STUDY: 2 YEARS
DATE: 2011
PLACE: GERMANY

Learning an instrument improves motor and auditory skills

Playing pianoAnother study has shown that learning an instrument (in this case, for just 15 months) affects young people’s motor and auditory skills.

Researchers from institutions in Canada (Montreal and Toronto) and the USA (Boston) recruited students with no previous training and assigned them to one of two groups. The first group – instrumental music – received weekly half-hour private keyboard classes for about 15 months. The second group – the control group – did not receive instrumental music training, but participated in music classes in school for 40 minutes a week.

Investigators assessed students using a series of motor and auditory tests and brain imaging. The results demonstrated that after 15 months of instrumental music training, students showed brain changes in areas associated with motor and auditory skills.

The researchers were from the following institutions: McConnell Brain Imaging Center, Montreal Neurological Institute, McGill University, Montreal; Mouse Imaging Centre, Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto; Department of Psychology, Boston College, Massachusetts; Music and Neuroimaging Laboratory, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts.

SOURCES:

The Journal of Neuroscience: http://www.jneurosci.org/content/29/10/3019.full.pdf
ArtsEdSearch: http://www.artsedsearch.org/summaries/musical-training-shapes-structural-brain-development

DETAILS:

BENEFIT: BRAIN DEVELOPMENT
TARGET GROUP: CHILDREN
AGE: 6-YEARS-OLD
MUSIC TYPE: KEYBOARD & GENERAL
TYPE OF STUDY: ACADEMIC RESEARCH
NOs INVOLVED: 31
PERIOD OF STUDY: 15 MONTHS
DATE: 2009
PLACE: CANADA & USA