Music education needs social harmony

The opening of the £57m state of the art flagship Birmingham Conservatoire (principal: Julian Lloyd Webber) prompted a thought provoking editorial in The Guardian.

Steven Greenall, chief executive of Warwick Music Group, believes that music education needs to focus on the base of the pyramid. 

Music need not and should not become the ‘preserve of the privileged’ and neither should it be ‘skewed to the rich’.

The solution is to start at the bottom – not the middle or the top. By instilling a passion for music in the 4.5m primary children in the UK, then we will all have a good problem to solve. If we grow the base of the pyramid, there will be more children who catch the bug at an early age. That means more demand for music at secondary school, more children in state schools who can proceed into our national flagship ensembles and more wanting to go onto music college.

Cost will always be an issue but that can be resolved through innovation in both the manufacture of instruments, such as plastics in place of brass as we have pioneered, and the methods of teaching – sharing resources and skills across multiple schools.

Music is every bit as important as maths and languages. It helps shape minds that are more conducive to solving mathematical issues and it is in itself a universal language.

Britain has a musical heritage. We owe it to our children and ourselves to ensure we have a musical future too.