11.09.2023: UK Music’s Chair Tom Watson writes for HuffPost about the music “gold mine sitting in our classrooms” that could drive British exports and give our economy a boost.
Highlighting Ezra Collective’s Mercury Prize win where they credited the support they received as young people, the Labour Peer said support in state schools could help develop the next Adele, Ed Sheeran or Stormzy.
However, he highlighted the issues facing many schoolchildren in getting access to a music education.
He said: “The precipitous decline in music education is fast reaching the point where learning a music instrument or how to sing professionally could soon become the preserve of the rich and the privileged.”
He cites the fall in the number of music teachers as a key barrier, as well as funding cuts that are preventing schools from affording basic instruments. He also says that there are now parts of the country where it is almost impossible for a budding musician to study music A-level.
He mentions the impact that this decline will have on young people’s cultural lives, as well as the effect it could have on the music industry’s talent pipeline.
“So many young people dream of singing or playing music for a career. They have the ambition, drive and talent. They just lack the opportunity,” he said.
He calls on the Government to train hundreds more music teachers and points to the upcoming Manifesto for Music, that UK Music will be publishing on Tuesday 12 September, as a guide for what could be done.
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