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MPs Back Musicians’ Union Call for Access to Free Music Lessons in Schools

Children from low-income families are half as likely to learn an instrument, according to recent research by the Musicians’ Union (MU).

The research, released in October, shows that over 40% of those from low-income families say music lessons are beyond their household budgets.

It also reveals that families with a total household income of less than £28,000 are half as likely to have a child learning an instrument than more affluent peers with a family income of £48,000 or more.

We believe every child should have access to free instrumental music lessons in schools.

MPs have backed the call for Government and decision-makers to review its offering of music education in schools.

Kevin Brennan MP (Cardiff West)

“Talent is everywhere so opportunity should be everywhere. Learning to play a musical instrument is good for health and happiness and might even earn you some money!

“This report highlights why all children should get this opportunity regardless of family income.

“The Government needs to invest in creative teaching in schools particularly in poorer areas. You can’t have a harmonious society if music is just for the privileged few rather than the many.”

Alison McGovern MP (Wirral South)

“These figures demonstrate what is going on in our country: those with less money are also less likely to be able to learn to play music. That isn’t fair.

“Some of Britain’s most talented writers and performers have been from poorer backgrounds. We are robbing ourselves of our future musicians if we don’t fix this.

“What’s more, we know that music is great for better mental health and wellbeing, so it should be something that every single child is able to learn about, not just a lucky few.”

Jo Stevens MP (Cardiff Central)

“In Wales, where average incomes are thousands of pounds below the UK average, we have historically punched above our weight, producing talented musicians with global reputations.

“But that track record is under threat unless we value and promote the importance of music education, with UK Government funding to enable every child in Wales to learn about music and have the opportunity to play an instrument.

“During my recent visit to the Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama, my concerns about music education provision were shared by the senior management team. The College is taking their musicians out into communities across Wales to help them access music education and opportunities to participate.

“A lethal cocktail of Tory government austerity at UK level, along with a devaluing of arts and creative subjects right across the UK education system, means today’s young people are already missing out on learning music.

“There’s a vast amount of evidence showing that participation in music improves health, wellbeing and social outcomes so I believe we have a responsibility to make sure music education is accessible to all.”

Get involved

Share our research on Twitter and Facebook. Here are some example posts:

Try our new “Let every child learn music” Facebook Frame to show your support for music lessons in schools.

If you care, join us. If you aren’t a musician, but you still want to support the work we do, sign up as a Supporter for free to join a network of people campaigning to protect music.

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Published: 21/11/2018
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