Debate of the week: If music be the food of education

February 1st, 2010 by Emily

The provision of music tuition in schools has decreased in recent years. Whether that's individual instrument lessons or group singing lessons, it seems that music just isn't on the menu when it comes to many pupils' educational diets.

It seems as though this is a trend that we need to reverse. According to a recent study by the University of the Arts, London, learning a musical instrument at primary school can boost a child's confidence and learning in other areas. Children across 6,500 schools in England, Wales and Northern Ireland currently take part in a government-funded scheme to teach pupils how to play instruments in a group. Their teachers, when questioned as part of the study, reported that participation in this group led to more positive attitudes to learning and improved motivation in other subjects.

Teachers also commented on the "empowering" effect these free music lessons had, and saw an increase in teamwork and good behaviour in their charges as well.

Scientists reported a link between prowess in music and mathematics a long time ago; now it seems that a good music lesson can improve a pupil's ability to concentrate and excel in many areas.

Clearly, this free music lesson scheme sounds wonderful. Giving children the chance to learn an instrument for free is of course a great thing in itself, but the wider benefits that children experience as a result of these lessons are very impressive indeed. Who doesn't want their child to have more confidence, better concentration and improved team-working skills?

We need to do everything we can to improve levels of attainment and indeed excellence in all of our pupils. Let's give all pupils the chance to learn music.

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