Jarring note on instruments

24th November 2000 at 00:00
SHAME on you for such negative headlines on music provision.

I'm sorry too that the commentary on instrumental teaching and curriculum music - whether it is delivered by class teachers, co-ordinators or specialist teachers - continues to be confused.

It is further confusing to suggest that Redbridge council gives music a high priority in the curriculum. True, Redbridge has always invested well in its instrumental tuition and music services but it has not funded a music inspectoradviser with curriculum responsibilities for many years. Please let's be clear which aspect of music education we are talking about.

There are currently some very positive signs - the night I went to the School Proms ore than 1,200 young musicians took part and the highlight was the performance of an inspirational pupil composition by 12-year-olds. The new Qualifications and Curriculum Authority schemes of work set out a comprehensive framework and requests for in-service support are very encouraging.

The percentage of children learning an instrument in my borough remains promising (with a third of pupils on income support receiving free tuition) and through funding from the National Foundation for Youth Music we are supporting additional choral and vocal activities. The DFEE needs to be encouraged not castigated.

Leonora Davies

Inspector for music and music services London borough of Haringey

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