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Instrumental Music Teaching During Lockdown

4 months ago


Instrumental Music Teaching During Lockdown is the result of an investigation involving 300 instrumental music teachers who told us about the impact that the current lockdown is having on their work. We have submitted our findings to the Education and DCMS Committees to show how government and sector stakeholders can address the significant music education challenges and opportunities that lockdown presents.

Executive Summary

Following a survey of 300 of our customers and examiners who work as instrumental music teachers, we have found that 87% have been able to effectively adapt to online teaching with 39% reporting that their learners have made better progress than normal. Many also reported an improved relationship with parents who have developed a better understanding of the value of music lessons and are now better able to support learners when they are practising their instrument.

However, both teachers and learners have encountered barriers which have limited the effectiveness of online music lessons. The biggest blocker appears to be intermittent internet access in some areas, and poor quality audio from video conferencing software. Some learners are also struggling because they may not have access to their instrument or a quiet place in which to have their lesson undisturbed. Those teachers who have been unable to continue teaching may need to rely on government financial support schemes until face to face lessons can resume.

The lockdown presents a unique opportunity for the music education sector and government to better understand how technology can be successfully used to provide access to music tuition and to support greater progress. It is also an opportunity to explore how parents’ attitudes have changed and how they can be better engaged in their child’s education.

We make the following recommendations:

  1. We believe the government should extend the Self Employment Income Support Scheme to October, in line with the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.
  2. We hope that the government will move quickly to improve the broadband infrastructure everywhere as promised in the 2020 budget, and we support calls for the government to expand access to devices and 4G internet to disadvantaged learners from all year groups who need it until schools can reopen.
  3. We support the decision to return learners to schools as soon as it is safe to do so in order to limit the potential disadvantage.
  4. We recommend the government investigates and provides guidance for music groups on how they can return to face to face rehearsals and performances as the lockdown eases.
  5. We believe the government should encourage schools to re-establish all creative arts classes, including extra-curricular activities such as instrumental lessons as soon as it is safe to do so, ensuring learners do not lose out.
  6. We recommend that more research is done to understand changes in parental attitude towards education during the lockdown and whether any lessons can be learned about how to engage with parents more effectively in the future.
  7. We recommend that further research is done to identify best practice in the use of technology in music education and to embed this into the next National Plan.

This paper was submitted to the DCMS and Education Committees for their consideration on 27 May 2020 in response to their inquiries into the impact of COVID-19.

Download the full report (PDF)

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