Mu­sic lessons hit right note

A broad ed­u­ca­tion is still key

Yorkshire Post - - LETTERS TO THE EDITOR -

THIS WEEK’S call by Of­sted’s chief in­spec­tor for the school cur­ricu­lum to be broad­ened is even more per­ti­nent in the wake of to­day’s re­port that mu­sic ed­u­ca­tion is in dan­ger of dis­ap­pear­ing from some state schools.

This isn’t just oc­cur­ring in those schools where mu­sic – and other cre­ative lessons – are re­garded as an op­tional ex­tra. It’s hap­pen­ing in ar­eas, like Queens­bury, Brad­ford, which is home to the orig­i­nal Black Dyke Band and proud of its mu­si­cal her­itage.

Here Fox­hill Pri­mary School sus­tains its arts pro­gramme by ask­ing its brass band – and choir – to per­form out­side a lo­cal su­per­mar­ket in or­der to raise funds to pay for lessons for the next year.

In one re­gard, it’s for­tu­nate that the school has teach­ers who are pas­sion­ate about mu­sic. In an­other, it’s not one of those schools scrimp­ing to pay for the very ba­sics like pens and pa­per.

Yet, in many re­spects, it is symp­to­matic of the chal­lenges fac­ing schools. For, while it’s im­por­tant that schools meet at­tain­ment tar­gets, whether it be Key Stage tests for pri­mary schools or GCSE ex­ams for sec­on­daries, there’s a sense that a re­lent­less fo­cus on ex­ams has come at the ex­pense of en­sur­ing stu­dents com­plete their for­mal ed­u­ca­tion as well­rounded in­di­vid­u­als with a var­ied range of in­ter­ests.

Schools were never in­tended to be exam fac­to­ries, and lit­tle else. They are ex­pected to stim­u­late. Not only do lessons in mu­sic, art and sport pro­vide a change of pace from lessons in tra­di­tional sub­jects, but they will also help pupils to broaden their hori­zons.

Af­ter all, mu­sic is a dynamic in­dus­try in its own right, it could, in fact, be a ca­reer op­tion for the gifted, but the chance to play in an or­ches­tra or band, or sing in a choir, can help young­sters forge friend­ships, be­come part of their com­mu­nity and also de­velop into even bet­ter cit­i­zens. They shouldn’t be de­nied this op­por­tu­nity.

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