A music education reality check

In my previous blog (scroll down), a keynote address at Newcastle University, I noted the recent expansion of sponsorship and philanthropic support of music education in our schools. Of course, I have little idea of the extent of this, only some knowledge of high-profile examples. I suggested that while such cases provide shining lights of what music in the school is capable of, this trend simply underlines and exacerbates inequalities of provision. The shining examples are ready to hand for government to point to as the way forward. Is this the way forward?

Well, it would be perverse to prohibit any form of sponsorship or philanthropic support. However, such support should stimulate some kind of reflection within the music education sector, shouldn’t it?

Understanding this trend involves understanding the fragmentation and quasi-marketisation of the education system and which is ultimately hostile to a national system of music education where there would be some semblance of ‘one equal music’.

Here I am thinking of equality of provision as an entitlement for all children and young people having access to a regular encounter with music making and thinking until the age of 14 as part of a general education. This would require attention to the education and training of new music teachers where there is currently a deficit. It would require serious attention to what the idea of a broad and balanced curriculum implies and calls for. It would require some release from a performance-based, instrumentalised education policy.

Any ideas!





One thought on “A music education reality check

  1. Thanks, John, as ever, for keeping asking the questions. MEC’s seminar on March 20th is about moving the debate on. There was lots of discussion and airing of opinions with last year. We now need to move to clear outcomes and messages. The event is open to all (reduced rate for colleagues who are members or members of MEC member organisations). See below for further details or contact admin@mec.org.uk

    Whose Curriculum? Seizing the Initiative

    MEC Spring Seminar

    Are you involved in music education in England – from early childhood to Higher Education and beyond?

    Ensure your voice – and that of your organisation – is heard.

    Last year MEC heard the range of views on the curriculum from across our diverse sector. Now it is time for strong, clear messages to inform and influence music education policy in England in our discussions with the DfE and ACE.

    Running in collaboration with The Music Commission, MEC invites you to join this conversation and help develop the answers. Book now to secure your place at this important seminar – spaces are limited.

    The detailed programme will be released in the next couple of weeks.

    Go to Eventbrite to book – places are limited https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/whose-curriculum-seizing-the-initiative-tickets-43027660892

    Best wishes


    Richard J Hallam MBE

    Chair Music Education Council 2013/2019

    Chair ISME National Affiliate Council 2016/2018

    Executive Board Member ISME 2016/2018

    Mobile 07850 634239




Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s