Within the schools there is something that I call the ‘grammar school effect’ because it is more prevalent there, that children who are being educated seem to lose the ability to dream, having their heads crammed with facts and figures. The one thing that you need to do as an artist is to be able to dream and imagine the impossible. The grammar school system does not lend itself to that.
I was talking to a drummer friend of mine who teaches at a grammar school in Kent and he was saying that when you ask a pupil what their dream is they don’t seem to have one they just lost the capacity to have a fantasy or dream that drives them to doing something musical. He cited the pressure that they are under academically for the problem and I agree that the children in the grammar school education are so pressurised academically that learning a musical instrument is so far down the ladder of needs.
What is so incredible is that we know the value of music, singing and the arts and yet even with all the scientific psychological research it is being ignored in education and the arts are being pushed outside the curriculum.
It seems to be almost the kiss of death for children to pass the 11+ when it comes to something like music or art even politicians comment that people need to spend more time on their science and maths we will look back on this and realise that it is a disaster to think like that.
What needs to happen for us as teachers is to promote the beneficial effects of music to the well-being of people I would add to this that the ability of people to think is broadened with the aspect of music and art and this is something we need in the economy in the years to come.
It is not even that we do not have great success with arts in this country because we do. British artistic establishments and the music industry are a very bankable asset and they add to the country’s soft power however for music and arts to be undervalued in the society is a scandal but again it is another example of the pathetic nature of politics and its involvement in education.
As always the politicians will never be held responsible for this like many other things that they have done over the last few years. It is your job to do something about it in whatever way you can.
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