One student at the National Youth Choir, 16-year-old Kate Mason, told the Guardian: “There’s a major lack of money for music at my school. We’ve only got one music teacher and you can’t even do music GCSE. It’s just not taken seriously.
“If I didn’t come on these courses, I’d never interact with other musicians.”
The news provider has cast a light on the work that youth groups are doing to make music education flourish and highlighted the worrying trend that music in schools is in danger of being axed completely, particularly on a state level.
Creative Partnerships is just one of the schemes that have been cut. It saw musicians, actors and artists visit 2,500 schools a year.
Fears have also been raised that if schools take up the English baccalaureate, even fewer people will take music GCSE even if it is offered at their school.
Another worry is the stigma that is attached to music in state schools. Seventeen-year-old percussionist Louise Goodwin told the Guardian that the best thing about joining the National Youth Orchestra is meeting other musicians.
“At my state school, music is seen as a bit of a cop-out subject. It’s not taken seriously,” she said, while horn player Mark Harding said that before he won a scholarship to a private school, pupils at his state school would tease those taking an interest in music.
However, the increase in applications to these two youth groups is not always down to the threat of music dying out in state schools.
According to conductor Greg Beardsell from the National Youth Choir, “the government are making encouraging noises about the importance of choral provision in schools”.
Music teachers and youth groups will be eagerly awaiting a national plan for music education, which will be published by the government later this year.
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