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Help us build a bank of examples of the power of music education

Music Education CouncilWorking in partnership with the Music Education Council, we wish to collect and share views and real-life examples of the power of music education.

The Music Education Council (MEC) acts as a medium for bringing together in a working relationship those organisations and institutions in the United Kingdom involved in music education and music education training, thereby creating a common meeting ground and opportunities for the exchange of information and the promotion of joint or connected activities.

As the umbrella body for organisations connected with music education in the United Kingdom and the UK’s representative body for ISME and other international organisations, MEC is uniquely placed to represent the music education sector. MEC’s strength is its capacity to unite all those who wish to make a difference to the lives of children and adults through the power of music.

Your stories

“I am employed by my local education authority as a violin teacher. Without having free violin tuition while in school, I would never had followed a career in music. It enabled me to participate in music courses of a very high standard, all paid for by my education authority, which further encouraged me to continue studying music. I have enjoyed passing on this passion. Some years ago, I taught a pupil who lived in a caravan with his widowed mum. After passing his Viola Grade 8 with distinction, he gained a place with the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain and went on to study at a conservatoire. I meet him regularly and it is true to say that his music education opened doors for him that he could never have pushed open otherwise. All his opportunities at school were paid for by the same education authority who are now drastically reducing the amount it is putting into instrumental teaching. Mostly, this situation is caused by the current economic climate. The authority has received a huge reduction in their budget from central government and many unpalatable cuts have had to be made. The Music Service is staggering along – supported by parents – and we just hope we can continue until the economic climate improves. ” Helen Williams
“As Chair of the Governing Body of a primary school for eight years, I am very conscious of the incredibly positive role that music plays in all our activities. Participation in musical activity engages children in a totally different way to other forms of education, giving them an opportunity to express themselves in a risk-free and sociable environment; to receive applause from adults for their efforts, and to use parts of their brain and imagination that differ from those used in more academic subjects. We have all seen struggling children come to life through musical experiences, and we have all seen the beneficial effects, improvement in self-esteem and motivation that music can bring about. Education is NOT just about cramming facts. It is about preparing children for adult life, and the life skills provided by musical education (in its widest sense) are a key part of the overall, holistic education of our citizens. We need literacy and numeracy, of course we do; we also need fun, working together, the ability to express ourselves, and the opportunity to receive praise. We would lose artistic activity, especially music, at our peril; or more to the point at the peril of our children.” Robin Osterley
Chair of Governors, Hunsdon JMI
“We have recently formed the "Far North Youth Orchestra" for young musicians aged 8-13 in the North and West Highlands of Scotland. Most of our young musicians had never had the opportunity to play in an orchestra before and they LOVED this new experience! Their achievement exceeded all expectations. We believe in communities helping themselves to make music, not waiting for the council, the government, or funding bodies to provide opportunities. We are happy to share our expertise and resources freely with others who want to make their own youth orchestra.” Katrina Gordon
“Access to music should be a birth right for ALL children. How many surveys do you need to prove conclusively that learning a musical instrument and being involved with music has a massive knock-on effect on their school work and on all areas of a child’s life? Music reaches and develops parts of the brain like nothing else - and this has been conclusively proved, it is not just idle dreaming. Working with In Harmony, I have seen huge changes in the children’s self-confidence, their relationships with other children, their ability to work with teachers: music can change the whole relationship within a family. I have seen so many parents who never would have believed that their children could be so good on an instrument coming to concerts and being visibly moved. It is time for the government to get its act together and to deliver the pledges that they promise on paper. There has been too much talk and too little action. Children should be able to experience music regardless of their parents' ability to pay for lessons.” Julian Lloyd Webber
“Music has been an integral part of the improvement journey at our school. We were placed into Special Measures by Ofsted in September 2011, 13 days into my headship. I was determined that we would make rapid progress out of category and equally determined that we wouldn't do it by narrowing the experience that our children had. We came out of Special Measures as a 'good' school in just 16 months. As with any school improvement programme there was a complex set of factors that contributed to the success and it would be misleading to attribute the outcome to any single one. However it is evident to me that the focus on music that we developed through our involvement with whole class ensemble teaching in Key Stage 2 was a very significant element. Firstly, it provides children with an excellent musical experience, incorporating performance, improvisation, notation, ensemble playing and an exposure to a wide range of musical genres in a very accessible form. It also provided the gateway to further musical experience within school and beyond as audience and performer that had a massive impact on cultural development in school. At the start of this journey my belief was that it was possible to support children in making accelerated progress in English and mathematics and also provide them with a broad, balanced curriculum including musical performance. That has been borne out, but I now believe that the high quality musical experience that we give our children has actually contributed to the improvements in outcomes that our children have achieved.” Mitch Moore
Executive Headteacher, St Laurence's CE Primary School (Coventry) & Queens CE Academy (Nuneaton)
“Music has helped me express feelings that can't be expressed in words, I believe this has saved my sanity at several points throughout my life. It is one of the few activities humans can engage in which requires physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual input all at the same time.” Tasmin Murphy

Use your voice

Have you experienced the power of music education? Share your stories with us.

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