“A school without music is unimaginable” Bridget Whyte

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As pupils return to school it is vital that they are able to continue their musical learning.  Yes, they must have access to the subject as it is an essential part of a broad and balanced curriculum, but also because music’s wider social and emotional benefits will be invaluable in supporting students’ wellbeing – something many school leaders are saying will be at the core of their ‘recovery curriculum’.

The challenge however, is that there has been negative press around music, highlighting additional potential risks as an activity – in particular the playing of some instruments and singing.  Early studies of Coronavirus do indicate that the playing of woodwind and brass instruments, such as the flute and trumpet, or singing might propel the virus further than simply talking, but with additional measures in place these activities can still happen.  Music Mark has prepared some guidance on this, research is being published which can help understand and mitigate the risks, and we know that further guidance from Government – in addition to the current guidance for schools (in England) which doesn’t ban but simply restricts numbers – is due imminently. The #CanDoMusic website will house the latest guidance alongside practical resources and documents to help teachers advocate for music in their schools.

Music Mark is a membership organisation for individuals and organisations working in Music Education across the UK.  We believe that there should be excellent musical learning in and out of school for all children and young people in the UK, which inspires and enriches their lives.  We work with our membership, supporting them in their work to achieve a high quality, diverse and inclusive music education, and over the past four months, we have been inspired by the great work that they have done to continue to connect with pupils in various ways.  We’ve seen Music Services such as Nottingham Music Hub produce ensemble performances in collaboration with international orchestras. Thousands of young musicians have continued learning their instruments at home with online lessons and we know how important the joy of music learning has been to help young people get through uncertain times. For many children and young people studying at home or in small ‘bubbles’ at school, music has played a significant role in supporting their wellbeing.  Their creativity is evident in the many videos being shared on social media.

Music is the soundtrack to every child’s life.  We need to help them celebrate that, learn more about the subject and reap the wider benefits.  A school without music is unimaginable, and so we are keen to help everyone understand that together we #CanDoMusic!  

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