On 10th September 2009, leading musicians including Jamie Cullum and Killa Kela led an interactive nationwide music lesson to kick-start 'Music Year'. This is a new government initiative to get over two million schoolchildren playing a musical instrument by 2011. There is to be an investment of £330 million between 2008 and 2011 to encourage schools to push music on their curriculum, but the actual content of this drive is to be very much led by the schools themselves.
How would this money be best spent? Are subsidised lessons the answer, making expensive instruments more accessible to all, or is a more widespread approach the way forward, encouraging an appreciation of music that inspires young people to participate of their own free will?
Although private tuition is not covered by the government's plans, it opens up a variety of opportunities for tutors. If the investment targets are reached then interest in private tuition could grow as students seek to extend their skills outside the classroom. There will also be increased opportunities for specialist tutors to work within the school system through the scheme, as it is intended the number of instrumental lessons offered will grow.
What are your thoughts on the scheme? Its support by both young, hugely popular artists, such as Lily Allen and rock legends including Slash suggests it has the possibility of being both wide-ranging and engaging, but does it offer the best opportunity to place music back at the heart of our culture?