Comedian Victoria Wood has stressed the importance of having musical education at school.
Reminiscing about her school years, she told the Daily Mail: “From the age of four I’d sing at school every day, right the way through secondary school. We sang hymns at assembly, which I absolutely loved, and we also had a lesson devoted to singing. We did dancing, too, and there was always a teacher who could play the piano.”
However, while working on her latest venture – a play about a school choir in Manchester – she realised that singing is no longer part of the school curriculum.
“That’s little short of scandalous, in my opinion,” she exclaimed.
“Music is an element that should be part and parcel of every child’s life via the education system. I don’t believe anyone’s tone deaf.
“I also believe that anyone can learn how to hear and appreciate good music. It’s not about being a good singer. It’s about participating. Music enriches people’s lives in the same way paintings and literature do. Everybody deserves that.”
The actress berated the notion that music is for the privileged and those who can afford to buy instruments and music lessons.
“That’s just wrong. Music should be available to everyone,” Wood added, remembering that she played trumpet in the “terrible” school orchestra and sang in the “ropy old choir”.
Her discoveries of the national school curriculum were made when researching a new play for the Manchester International Festival. That Day We Sang, which runs until July 16th, tells of the iconic recording of Henry Purcell’s Nymphs and Shepherds by a children’s choir in Manchester and the Halle Orchestra in 1929 and the remaining members 40 years later who are recording a segment on the event for a local TV news channel.
Rather than label the show a musical, Wood insists that it is a ‘play with songs’.
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