Music to the ears
More young people will have the opportunity to listen to and learn about music through the ages, from Mozart and Bach to The Beatles and Whitney Houston, as part of a new plan for high-quality music lessons in every school. To support the government’s ambitious plan for all children to have access to an excellent music education, the Department for Education has published a new music curriculum for Key Stages 1, 2 and 3. As part of the curriculum, pupils will learn about the great composers of the world and develop their knowledge and skills in reading and writing music. They will be taught about a range of genres and styles covering historically-important composers such as Vivaldi and Scott Joplin, world renowned pieces like Puccini’s Nessun Dorma, and be introduced to instruments and singing from Year 1. The Model Music Curriculum has been developed by a panel of 15 music education specialists – teachers, education leaders and musicians from across the UK – and led by Baroness Fleet, Veronica Wadley. The department has also committed £79 million in the 2021/22 financial year for Music Education Hubs which provide pupils with instruments to play in class, and £1 million for charities which teach pupils about different styles of music. School Standards Minister Nick Gibb said: “Music is a hugely important part of most people’s lives. This is especially true during the lockdown period, in which music has been used to inspire, soothe and energise us. “A rich variety of music should be part of the daily life of every school. We want all schools to have a rigorous and broad music curriculum that inspires their pupils to love music, and stands alongside high levels of academic attainment. “I know music lessons will have been challenging during remote education, and while there is rightly a focus on academic catch-up, it is also important for children and young people experience music, sport and arts for their wider development.” The plan aims to support all pupils in their musical progression from Year 1 – where they’ll be introduced to beat, rhythm and pitch - through to secondary school, where pupils will be introduced to more technical aspects of music . At Key Stage 1 and 2, listening to a variety of music styles and sounds is designed to broaden pupils’ musical horizons and encourage them be open minded about the music they listen to. At Key Stage 3, pupils will have the opportunity to discuss and interpret the musical meaning behind songs, and develop their creativity through improvisation and composition. Chris Cobb, CEO, ABRSM, the UK’s largest education music body, said: “At its simplest, the Model Music Curriculum aims to support teachers in the delivery of music in schools, presenting a progressive route through the first nine years of school and encouraging skill sharing and collaboration. “It is designed to give primary pupils a minimum of one hour of music a week and help teachers understand what is required of them. “We want music to do what it does for more young people and hope the broader repertoire will inspire young people from all backgrounds with a love of music and, with the right supporting conditions, challenge the sense of privilege which, for too long, has accompanied music learning. “The real impact of the new Model Music Curriculum will reach far beyond the lives of the young people it inspires and the communities of partners involved in its delivery. “By promoting progression routes for young musicians and opening up new talent pipelines for the conservatoires and universities, it has the potential to fill the concert hall stages of the future with a whole new generation of talent from all backgrounds.” Julian Lloyd Webber, cellist and conductor, said: “Music has immeasurably enriched my life and I cannot imagine existing without it. It provides motivation, stimulation and, most of all joy. “We should never underestimate the power of music, it knows no boundaries of language, race or background. It is the universal language – everyone has a soundtrack to their lives. “The new Model Music Curriculum will provide children with a wealth of knowledge about music – and it’s fun too.” The curriculum’s expectation of a minimum of one hour’s classroom music per week from Year 1 to Year 9 - with first access instrumental tuition, and musical ensembles in addition to that one hour – could make a substantial difference to the musical lives of our children and young people, and to the country at large. Thousands of schools are already working with Music Education Hubs, which were set up in 2012 to support the teaching of music both in and out of school and to deliver the curriculum in the most effective way.