Nicola Benedetti says children need to play music not follow celebrities

Nicola Benedetti, one of the country’s leading violinists, has launched a scathing attack on the government’s decision to reduce spending on music tuition in schools.

In an interview with the Radio Times, Ms Benedetti said that the government and the school system must seek to wean children off celebrity-obsessed ‘culture’.

Instead, she said, young people should be encouraged to pursue more highbrow activities, such as learning to play an instrument or sing in a choir.

Ms Benedetti revealed to the news provider that she is “fiercely furious about the provision of music in schools”.

The violinist found fame at the age of 16, when she secured a £2 million, six-album record deal after she won the BBC Young Musician of the Year.

But in light of recent cuts to spending on music tuition, Ms Benedetti is concerned that children of future generations will not have the opportunity to hone their natural gifts.

“So many people up and down the country are trying to create a better foundation for musical education,” she said.

“But decisions have been made, especially in the light of funding cuts, that are, I think, catastrophic to our future as a nation.”

Ms Benedetti added: “If children don’t have very strong parenting and don’t have an activity to replace the aimlessness that can go on after school hours, they end up accepting what’s shoved in their face.

“Which is celebrity culture and this obsessive chasing to become famous. But famous for what?”

Recent research by EIS, the leading teaching union, has found that three-quarters of Scotland’s councils charge up to £340 a year for music tuition.

The government, meanwhile, has reaffirmed its commitment to music education, insisting that it remains a key element of the national curriculum.

Consequently, it has pledged to continue to invest time and money to ensure that young people have the opportunity to learn and enjoy music during school hours.

What do you make of Nicola Benedetti’s comments? Is she right about celebrity culture?

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  1. Mike says

    In the word of Monty Python, she’s “stating the bleedin’ obvious” if her remarks on “weaning children off celebrity-obsessed ‘culture’ are accurarely quoted. We all need to watch less and do more ourselves. Particularly when it comes to music.

  2. says

    Everyone (not just school kids) can benefit from learning music. Just like diet and exercise can help keep our bodies fit, music has been proven to be a powerful component to a healthy and active mind. We agree that it should be a fixture in schools, but we also think music educators have been neglect in promoting music making in the general population. I hope folks of all ages (including school children and teachers) will join for free access to quality music lessons and resources online and help promote our friends who are doing more than just asking to ‘save the music’.