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The MU Calls For Music Education Overhaul as DCMS Select Committee Opens Inquiry

The MU made the call in written evidence to the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee inquiry into the social impact of participation in culture and sport.

Published: 20 June 2018 | 12:00 AM Updated: 25 March 2022 | 4:02 PM

The Musicians’ Union (MU) is calling on Government for an overhaul of music education provision. The MU made the call in written evidence to the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee inquiry into the social impact of participation in culture and sport.

Research by UK Music, of which the MU is a member, shows that 50 percent of children attending independent schools receive sustained music tuition, compared to just 15 percent in state schools.

“This lack of diversity in the provision of education has an effect all the way up the pipeline. Orchestras, for example, are being told that they must improve the diversity in their ranks. This becomes virtually impossible if there is a lack of diversity further down the chain,” says the MU.

The MU is calling on Government to strengthen opportunities to develop new artistic and creative talent.

“In the field of music, one of the major ways to achieve this would be through an overhaul of music education provision. Not only should all children participate in classroom music teaching, but they should also all have the opportunity to learn an instrument at the hands of a qualified instrumental teacher,” states the MU.

In its submission, the MU also highlights the value of grassroots music venues.

In its inquiry, the Select Committee is asking whether sport has been better for social mobility than the arts. The MU comments:

“If it is true that sport has been better for social mobility than the arts, then the MU would argue that this can be put down to the cost of access. This is particularly the case when it comes to music. Whilst learning to play sport is free for every child at school, the same is not true of learning to play a musical instrument.”

The inquiry starts receiving evidence in person on Tuesday 19 June.

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