Learning an instrument: a ‘universal right’ for children

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As the BBC crowns the Young Musician 2018, previous winners say no primary-aged child should miss out on playing music.

The MIA strongly believes in the importance of children retaining curriculum-based music as part of the school day. We were delighted to read this great article published by The Guardian, where a group of leading musicians announce that they are launching a campaign for every primary schoolchild to be taught to play an instrument, at no cost to them or their families.

All past winners of the Young Musician prize warn that they are now deeply concerned that instrumental music learning is being “left to decay in many British schools”. They are calling for a universal right to learn an instrument that protects parents from any costs

In a letter to the Observer:

Today, we are launching a campaign for every primary schoolchild to be taught to play an instrument, at no cost to them or their families,” writes the group, which includes oboist and conductor Nicholas Daniel, violinist Nicola Benedetti, and cellist and reigning champion Sheku Kanneh-Mason.

“It is crucial to restore music’s rightful place in children’s lives, not only with all the clear social and educational benefits, but showing them the joy of making and sharing music. We are especially concerned that this should be a universal right. This is an opportunity to show the world that we care about music’s future and its beneficial impact on our children.”

They point to the Every Child A Musician (ECAM) scheme in the London borough of Newham, under which all primary schoolchildren are offered a free musical instrument and taught how to read and play music in weekly lessons. The scheme costs £2m a year to run.

We believe that every child deserves to enjoy the benefits of ECAM and other excellent schemes,” the past winners write. “There are cost-effective, efficient and inspiring early-level interventions available, and we call upon the governments in Westminster, Edinburgh and Cardiff to join us in making this happen across the whole country.”

Read the full article here: www.theguardian.com/education/free-music-provision-every-child-primary-schools-bbc-young-musician-2018