Will the PM be playing our tune?

20th February 2004 at 00:00
People ask me regularly, why are you so passionate about standards of music education? Sometimes I feel like shouting the obvious: because I genuinely care!

It's like asking a painter why they feel art galleries are good for the public eye? The answer is clear, because music is food for the soul.

Music has always been a universal language, full of rich dialects, and seen by the great civilisations of Greece and Rome as a channel of expression that enhances the human life. Many in history have referred to music as the crutch that keeps them sturdy, or makes the journey possible!

But, what of the modern day? Is musical teaching relevant in today's society? Is it worth all the effort of fighting to make it available to the next generation? Again the answer is clear to me. Who has the right to decide what a child should or should not excel in? The answer is - the child has that right to decide for him or herself. At the very least, shouldn't we be providing them with the opportunity to discover what drives them?

I remember the opportunities that I was given as a school child. Imagine a minister of state deciding that young Evelyn Glennie was to be denied the opportunity to learn an instrument, participate in team-building music-making, or learning the disciplines of creating their own melody through composition? No Miss Glennie, that is not important, you must spend all your time learning arithmetic and reciting numbers!

Is the UK Government listening? Well yes, I believe they are. The Prime Minister wrote to me to say his government would listen and we have met Charles Clarke and David Miliband on several occasions, and they listen.

The next question is will they deliver? A manifesto is a beginning, but let's wait with fingers crossed, to see if the results begin to flow, just like the music that should be flowing through every classroom in our country, and not only in schools that have remembered to switch the creative tap on!

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