Daily Mozart is music to my ears;Music for the Millennium;Letter

8th May 1998 at 01:00
NEWS of your campaign to promote schools' music was music to my ears. If one in five primary schools wishes to concentrate more on the basics they should start by giving more time to music, not less. Music is basic to most forms of learning.

Music is basic to language. Children should be taught to read music before they are taught to read words. Music is simpler. There are only seven notes rather than 26 letters to master.

Once learned, the language of music is universal and filled with all the subtlety and nuance of the written word. Phrases and sentences, questions and answers, similes and metaphors appeared in music long before they appeared in words.

Music, too, with its classical symmetry and romantic asymmetry, teaches all there is to know about artistic, architectural and mathematical form. Give children music and you give them the key to almost every other discipline.

As well as forming the basis of learning, music enhances the ability to learn. On the day before your report, The Times highlighted new findings and, long before that, separate studies showed how children exposed to a daily dose of Mozart tackled the basics more ably than those who were musically deprived.

The TES is right. Nothing could offer more hope for the future than a lively campaign that aims to give every child the chance to learn a musical instrument. If the campaign succeeds, perhaps we shall learn what we should have known all along - recording can wait. Recorders come first.

Alan Millard Media Court, Marine Parade West Lee-on-the-Solent, Hampshire

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