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Richard, 45, Music Educator, South Derbyshire 28.7.20

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Richard is the 13th person to contact us. This is a time for a new media that you own, please let us know how you feel - share your experiences via video to WhatsApp or WeTransfer to 07512 665059. You must be happy for this to be shared to all social media platforms. To be published you must state your name, location and occupation.

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We are standing up for Music Education in schools. It's time for action and change!

It is appalling that the school choir is being discouraged by our government. It's also a huge concern that schools may be 'slimming down' their curriculum, at the expense of subjects like music, so that children might 'catch up' after lockdown. ALL children are entitled to a broad curriculum and that includes music. Our education system has become a conveyor belt of data-producing pupils where more and more pressure is piled on to increase results. Your recent guidelines suggest that the curriculum should still be broad – but the advice is so vague that some schools will (and indeed, already are) interpreting it to mean ‘more English and maths’.

Singing is something that brings joy and increases well-being. It's also the best way of teaching musical concepts - and something that enhances EVERYTHING that happens in the school community. Some choirs also embrace the WHOLE community itself. It should be at the heart of all music education.

Music has a key role in the development of young people emotionally, intellectually and educationally. It is arguably THE most important subject a child could ever learn – and yet the pressure of testing, data, league tables, inspections and generally ‘being academic’ means that it’s slowly being squeezed out. It should not be an ‘add on’ or something where pupils simply ‘have fun’. It’s the only subject that uses both sides of the brain – connections which hugely improve children’s learning and develops essential skills.
These life skills include:

· Listening skills
· Debating and appraising
· Language development
· Learning different languages
· Speech
· Gross-motor skills
· Improving memory
· Appraising skills
· Historical knowledge
· Numeracy
· Problem solving
· Physics
· Attention to detail
· Teamwork
· Emotional connection
· Empathy

The list could continue. It also improves mental health and well-being – something that is more crucial now than it has even been. Imagine a world without The Arts. If we don’t teach high quality music education our music industry will suffer even more than it already has through this crisis. Music binds us in times of happiness, sadness, celebration, festivals, ceremonies, weddings, funerals – the human race connects and reacts to it from day one. It is part of us all – and we are not prepared to stand by and watch its demise. Music Education was patchy enough before lockdown - we will not stand by and let this happen further now.