Why music education deserves to be protected from public spending cuts

15 July 2010

The remarkable range of music education opportunities currently available to young people and adults in the UK is a vital national resource that must not only be preserved but developed, even at a time of severe public spending cutbacks, says a new book published this week by the Institute of Education, University of London.

Music-making should be part of any long-term strategy relating to quality of life for all, argue Professor Susan Hallam and Dr Andrea Creech, editors of Music Education in the 21st Century in the United Kingdom: Achievements, analysis and aspirations.

The book itemises the positive impacts that music-making can have on the intellectual, social and personal skills of children and young people. For instance, in the early years it enhances the ability to differentiate between sounds, which contributes to the development of language skills and literacy.
Research has shown that it also helps to build self-reliance, friendships, and sensitivity to other people's emotions.

The book, which includes contributions from 17 authors who are either IOE staff or have close connections with the Institute, examines the formal and informal music education opportunities that are available from the early years, through primary, secondary, further and higher education, and into later life. It also has chapters on listening, singing, instrumental music, the role of technology, creativity, performance and assessment, special educational needs and the training of music teachers.

Professor Hallam and Dr Creech conclude that the UK has arguably the best music education in the world. The key to its success, they say, are the general music classes and weekly extra-curricular instrumental tuition in primary and secondary schools, delivered by well-qualified and enthusiastic teachers. Historical analysis shows that when these fundamentals are not in place musical activity disappears, along with all the benefits it brings.

The book's contributors include:

Pauline Adams (Institute of Education, London), John Conlon (Institute of Education, London), Dr Andrea Creech (Institute of Education, London),  Dr Colin Durrant (Institute of Education, London), Jessica Ellison (Institute of Education, London), Dr Helena Gaunt (Guildhall School of Music & Drama, London), Professor Susan Hallam (Institute of Education, London), Dr Evangelos Himonides (Institute of Education, London),  Kate Laurence (Institute of Education, London), Dr Hilary McQueen (Institute of Education, London), Professor Adam Ockelford (University of Roehampton), Dr Ioulia Papageorgi (Institute of Education, London), Ross Purves (Luton Sixth Form College), Dr Lynne Rogers, (Institute of Education, London),  Dr Jo Saunders (Institute of Education, London), Dr Maria Varvarigou (Institute of Education, London), and Professor Graham Welch (Institute of Education, London).

Music Education in the 21st Century in the United Kingdom: Achievements, analysis and aspirations will be launched at an event in the Institute of Education on Thursday, July 15. Further information on the book from:

David Budge
020 7911 5349
07881 415362
Notes for editors
1. Music Education in the 21st Century in the United Kingdom: Achievements, analysis and aspirations, ISBN 978-0-85473-899-1, £23.99, paperback, 370 pages, can be ordered from all online book retailers or directly from John Smith's Education Bookshop. Tel: +44 (0)20 7612 6050. Fax: +44 (0)20 7612 6407. Email: ioe@johnsmith.co.uk. www.ioe.ac.uk/publications
2. The book has been produced partly to mark the Government's Tune In – Year of Music initiative, which ends this summer. The IOE also undertook a major literature review last year to support the launch of the Year. Entitled The power of music: its impact on the intellectual, social and personal development of children and young people, the literature review can be downloaded from http://www.ioe.ac.uk/Year_of_Music.pdf
3. The Institute of Education is a college of the University of London specialising in teaching, research and consultancy in education and related areas of social science and professional practice. The 2008 Research Assessment Exercise judged almost two-thirds of the work submitted by the IOE as internationally significant, and 35 per cent as 'world leading'.