ENYAN Music education is now only for the white and wealthy, argues the Guardian’s Charlotte C Gill

Music lessons have become increasingly hard to access in schools. To enable more children to learn, we must stop teaching in such an academic way, says Charlotte C. Gill.

“Music education has become harder and harder to access since 2010 when the baccalaureate was introduced, and since when the number of students taking music at GCSE and A-level has dropped by about 9% as teachers homed in on “academic” subjects.”

Increasingly, the onus has been on parents – and children – to take up private tuition, putting those who cannot afford such lessons at a disadvantage. Indeed, in 2014, the National Children’s Orchestra of Great Britain found that out of its members aged seven to 13, nearly 70% of those at state school received private education. In 2012-13, only 10% of music students at universities came from black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds.

But that’s not the only problem. For a creative subject, music has always been taught in a far too academic way, meaning that theoretical knowledge is the main route to advancement. While there are routes into musical careers for the untrained, and many pop, rap, and grime artists have never studied music formally, there are also dozens of choirs and amateur collectives that put a huge focus on musical notation.

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