The Heart of the Matter: The Music Education Landscape
The current music education landscape is hard to summarise. In the last few months alone, three different reports from three sets of partnered organisations have been published, talking about the different aspects of music making and music education that exist in the UK today.
Youth Music has written an encouraging report on the increase in the number of young people learning to play and make music by themselves at home, through accessible digital technology and social media platforms like YouTube. The State of the Nation report (written by the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Music Education, the ISM and the University of Sussex) shares a gloomier view that looks at the decline of music making within schools, including a reduction in the number of music teachers and fewer curriculum hours spent on music over the last few years. The Music Commission has concentrated their report on the future of music education and what should or could happen in the future.
With a new, proposed model for the music curriculum for 5 – 14 year olds due to be released this coming summer and a new plan for music education being developed for 2020, it feels like a lot of change is happening, and not all of it is positive.
So what is the heart of the matter this month?
Firstly, that we think it’s good for you to see all this information in one place: a ‘one hit wonder’ of an article. At YY&M, we’re committed to sharing what we find out with you, our lovely readers. And if music education is to remain relevant in a changing landscape, we think that music teachers and music leaders should be aware of current trends and thinking. This way, you can understand how you might be affected by change and how to find your place in new worlds.
Our latest Musician’s Corner, featuring our very own Director, Gail Dudson, is a good place to start. Here are her views on the reports: http://www.yym.org.uk/musicians-corner-our-director-gail-dudson/
Secondly, we all understand that change can be perceived as negative, but just because things are uncertain, doesn’t mean it’s all bad or that you can’t be ahead of the curve. Have a read of the reports and get to know what’s happening out there. There is loads (and loads) to wade through, with helpful summaries, and it isn’t all doom and gloom. Everyone wants to make the picture better, though their ideas may not align. At its heart are young people and the opportunities they need to discover the joy of music for themselves.
YY&M creates music education projects for children and young people in a range of severely challenging circumstances. In order to provide meaningful musical experiences for these young people, we make decisions that get to the heart of both their needs and what makes a good musical project. We want to share the hows and whys with YOU, our readers, in a feature on our website (and our bulletin) called ‘Heart of the Matter‘. Each month over the course of 2019, we will reveal how our work gets to the real heart of what music education means to us.