In an interivew with Classic FM on Tuesday, Sir Keir Starmer suggested that an incoming Labour government would push for musical education to be available to all children in all schools. In his own words,
I feel passionately about music - not just for the enjoyment of music, which is profound. But also because of the skills that learning music gives to children, young people...Music should, in my view, be in every school, not just some
There has also been wide-spread discussion about the role of music within the school curriculum with industry figures like Andrew Lloyd Webber also sharing concerns about the disappearance of music from state schools.
The benefits of having a strong, well-structured music curriculum are well-documented but a lack of funds and resources, successive government policies and the pandemic have put musical education in a precarious position with a real risk of it disappearing from state schools altogether.
Sir Keir played four instruments at school; the flute, the recorder, the piano and the violin, which led to a place on the Guildhall School’s junior programme as a teenager. He even learned violin alongside none other than DJ and record producer, Fatboy Slim.
I very quickly learned that I’d got [into Guildhall] because I’d practised very hard. I met people who were totally gifted, incredibly gifted... they were just in a different league to me. But it was incredible to see their creativity, natural creativity. [Musical] talent is across all of us, and it comes from all different backgrounds.
The curriculum at the moment is designed in a way which actually downgrades deprioritises arts and music, and I want to turn that around.
With most people expecting a change of government at the next general election (next year), the education community is paying particular attention to what Keir Starmer, Bridget Phillipson (Shadow Secretary of State for Education) and the Labour Party are saying with regards to educational reforms.
Could this be the life-line for music in schools that many are calling out for?