Writing in the Guardian, Michele Hanson says that while the US is making music a core subject in schools, in Britain the system is in tatters.
It isn’t always clever to follow the example of Americans. They love guns, their steaks are too big, they fought against free healthcare, they’re more or less obliged to say their prayers, and a frightening number of them admire Donald Trump. But when it comes to music in schools, they are streets ahead of us. Because their Senate has just approved the Every Student Succeeds Act, which will reduce over-testing, return power to local districts, and make music a core subject. Yes, music!
No such luck here, with endless testing, teachers leaving in droves and the National Plan for Music Education in tatters. It promised that every child would learn a musical instrument. Fat chance. Try taking a child out of class for 15 minutes nowadays for an individual music lesson, as we used to in the 70s. They would miss some swotting for a test or wreck a target – and, anyway, what would the child play and how would they learn? What school could pay for instruments and one-to-one tuition? How could they ever build up an orchestra, for poor as well as rich?
Every child, from any background, should have a chance to play music if they so wish. And they all can. It’s a myth that music is difficult; a useful myth, for our tightwad, snobby government. Copy music, not war.
Do you agree with Michele Hanson that the state of music policy for our schools is in tatters?
How do you see the National Plan for Music Education, to which she refers, working out in practice?
And are things really that much better in the United States?
Please share your insights and experiences in the comments or via Twitter…
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