Music has to be kept elite

29th October 2004 at 01:00
How interesting that benchmark figures for state school entrants to further education revealed the biggest shortfall to be at the two major music colleges, The Royal College and the Royal Academy.

Those of us parents with musically talented children who have experienced the woeful standards of tuition provided by the typical county music service will be not in the least surprised. Music may be marginalised as a classroom academic subject but when parents are actually paying for musical instrument tuition which is so obsessed with inclusion and maximum access that no quality or standards can survive it is no wonder that the private route is the only one to excellence.

It is to be expected that in musical instrument tuition a modicum of natural talent as well as commitment and effort is necessary on the part of the pupil. Fight this truth as they may, state education music services cannot bring the best out of individuals through half-hearted group lessons which tolerate complete lack of ability and lack of progress which is obvious to all but the most blinkered parent in abject denial.

Access has hegemony over excellence in a discipline where excellence is everything. Unfortunately, music and the other arts are now only seen as a tool for maximum participation and the development of a vague notion of creativity, which liberal educationists theorise, without concrete evidence, will be of broader educational benefit.

This dogma has now corrupted even the specialised and yes, let's be frank, elite area of musical instrument tuition. Can we really wonder why the Royal College and Academy choose people who might actually be able to play instruments!

GH Moses

34 Cranedown

Lewes

East Sussex

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