Traditionally, music education has been seen as a middle class luxury. Consequently, much excitement has been generated by the government’s ‘Music Manifesto’, which promises to involve many more children in music by getting them singing. But is this initiative so keen to include that it refuses to demand enough of pupils? The emphasis is on participation rather than musical appreciation or understanding – anyone can sing at least to a very rough standard, and TV shows like The X Factor and Britain’s Got Talent have encouraged the idea that we all have hidden gifts. But is encouraging ‘creativity’ without providing a grounding in musical discipline (learning your scales!) ultimately doomed? Or might active participation in something like singing actually give children a better understanding than a more academic approach?
It is often said that music is the poor relation in schools, given less time and attention than literature or art, for example. But what does it mean to teach music as a subject? Should education for children with a musical vocation be radically different from that which is seen as essential for all? Should all children be taught to make critical judgements about music, or is it enough that they have fun with it?
professor of politics, University of East Anglia; author, Rebel Rock: The Politics of Popular Music; ESRC researcher on the role of music and musicians in public action
sociology and politics teacher; writer on culture; former music journalist
composer; director of The Shout choir
|Dr Tiffany Jenkins|
writer and broadcaster; author, Keeping Their Marbles: how treasures of the past ended up in museums and why they should stay there
|Dolan Cummings associate fellow, Academy of Ideas; author, That Existential Leap: a crime story (forthcoming from Zero Books)|
|Cara Bleiman teacher, Arnhem Wharf Primary School|
|Sarah Boyes freelance writer and editor; assistant editor, Culture Wars; editor, Battles in Print 2010|
|recommended by spiked|