Almost everything in education nowadays is judged by results, explained league tables and qualified by Ofsted reports. Amongst this music is, to an extent, becoming the weakest link. Not seen as a ‘proper’ academic subject it becomes marginalised and left to one side as an ‘optional activity’.
Music in Schools
When I was at school, Music GCSE was put in as a Wednesday afternoon activity rather than a timetabled lesson. Luckily for me it clashed with spending an afternoon running around an assault course whilst dressed in a silly green uniform pretending to be soldiers.
Over the years there have been many interesting, new and ingenious government policies designed to raise the profile of music in schools. A lot of these policies have either never been properly implemented or usually never quite understood by the schools trying to action them. As such, music tends to suffer.
Of course, I don’t doubt that we need lots of mathematicians and scientists in the world of tomorrow and that linguists, doctors and lawyers are all necessary to keep the world turning. I am also not advocating that music should be deemed as a more important subject or perhaps even an equally important subject as medical science. But nevertheless it doesn’t make it unimportant.
Music is a key part of everyone’s lives. It is everywhere and at an educational level, can provide the link between a diversity of academic subjects whilst offering kids something that is emotional, imaginative, creative and fun.
What is needed?
One of the important things, in my opinion, is for every school to be given the funding to have a specialist music teacher and have access to professional musicians. Also, more than 3 hours needs to be spent on music in the Primary PGCE. For this to happen, music needs to be taken seriously at a governmental level and there needs to be a shift in policy.
However, government policy is only half the battle. Ultimately to really drive music in schools forward then professional musicians need to play a key part in this and explore new ways of teaching music and influencing pupils.
What can be done?
Let’s face it, almost everyone comes into contact with music on a daily basis. Whether it’s singing in the shower, listening to the radio on the commute to work or just walking around a shopping centre. Music is everywhere. Not all music might be to everyone’s taste but nevertheless a diversity of music can be found almost without looking for it.
There will always be those for whom music is important. Kids will always form bands whilst others will want to take to the stage as a professional singer or Opera star. But there are many who perhaps possess undiscovered talent. In the same way that schools need to find and nurture our future doctors and lawyers they also need help finding the next generation of choir leaders.
Record a CD?
This is one reason why Recordings 4 Schools promote the idea of recording a CD in your school. A recording is one way to inspire your pupils to develop and showcase their talent. It gives everyone in the school a chance to take part in something different and will hopefully be an experience they remember for the rest of their lives.