An image of a hand holding a violin, a watch is visible on their wrist and sheet music is visible in the background
Credit: Ben Wright

"Schoolchildren sing out for more music lessons, survey reveals."

The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra poll, in support of the Daily Express Strike a Chord crusade, found 79 percent of British pupils aged six to 18 think more must be done to engage their generation with the joy of music played by an ensemble.

James Williams, Managing Director the RPO comments:

What comes across loud and clear from our research is children’s demands to have music as a core part of their learning at school.

Music is a subject they clearly value, that they see as an integral part of their lives – not just in school but on screens, through headphones and in concerts.

Yet in the past couple of years the number of pupils sitting A-level and GCSE music has fallen significantly. If this continues, there is a real threat to culture in Britain. The future of UK music depends on the next generation and this starts with education.

Last week saw the unveiling of the Government’s national plan for music education and a commitment to allocate £25million for new instruments, at least one hour of music curriculum a week and £79million every year until 2025 for the Music Hubs programme.

The plan is a step in the right direction. But this mustn’t be “job done”. We need to build on this strategy and take it much further. The challenge to deliver universal access to music in schools is huge.

Talent is everywhere, opportunity isn’t. We want all those involved with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and the wider music sector to reflect all aspects of society. It’s imperative to focus on the grassroots, with an infrastructure that ensures young people don’t slip through the net.

This requires a joined-up approach that links classrooms, music hubs, Government and the cultural sector to ensure every child, from every background, has a decent musical education.

At the RPO we believe access should be a right, not a privilege.

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