“New music ‘at risk’ through music education ‘neglect’ in England”


Here’s an article published by the BBC, where Michael Dugher, the new head of UK Music, discusses how the success of British music is at risk because the subject is being neglected in schools.

It is great to see that there’s a breadth of music organisations actively opposing the cuts and the substantial drop in the number of schools in England offering music.

The MIA have been supporting this cause and the Bacc for the Future campaign for many years…

Michael Dugher is warning that future talent could be going to waste because of a drop in the number of GCSE places being offered in England.

The UK music industry contributed £4.4bn to the economy in 2016.

But Mr Dugher, CEO of the group that advises the government on the music industry, has told Newsbeat there are “issues on the horizon”.

“We’ve got this fantastic industry but there are potential problems, and cuts to music in schools is one of them.”

Figures from the University of Sussex suggest the number of schools in England offering music GCSE has dropped from 85% to 79% between 2012 and 2016.

The survey, which spoke to 657 state and 48 private schools across England, claimed the amount of 13 and 14-year-olds given compulsory music lessons fell by nearly 25%.

There are no figures for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Michael Dugher added: “The government is right to focus on academic excellence in core subjects like maths and English but they shouldn’t neglect music in schools and I’m afraid that’s happening at the moment.”

UK Music’s comments come as BBC Music Introducing, which was set up to discover and support emerging talent, turns 10.

In the last decade BBC Introducing artists, which include the likes of Florence and The Machine, The 1975 and George Ezra, have achieved 14 UK number one singles and 29 UK number one albums between them.

The Department for Education’s told Newsbeat it wants “children from all backgrounds to benefit from arts education” to “equip them with knowledge and skills to fulfil their potential”.

They added this year, £75m is being put into what it calls “music hubs” around the country to give students access musical activities outside school.

Jake Bugg said for pupils to “fulfil their potential” they should be shown that music is something they can continue when they get older.

“I got put in a GCSE music class… my teacher knew my theory was very poor but she supported what I wanted to do.

“It [music education] needs to be encouraging more than anything, not about getting an answer right on a piece of paper.”

The Amazons, who recently had a top 10 UK album after backing from BBC Introducing, said they wouldn’t have been as successful without access to music facilities when they were younger.

“Me and Chris [guitarist Chris Alderton] went to school together,” singer Matt Thomson told Newsbeat.

“We played guitar in the practice rooms in lunchtimes.

If you don’t have encouragement and recourses, it’s easier to give up. Without them we wouldn’t be here.”

Chris agreed: “Matt used to teach me songs in those rooms – it was a great catalyst to get me going.”

“My old school changed from a drama school to one focussed on science and maths,” continued Matt.

“But I think it’s all about being well rounded. We can’t just have zombies who are just into maths and science.”