A recent house move unearthed a box of forgotten memorabilia, newly coveted in this digital age. Hidden beneath the magazine cuttings and birthday cards lay a handwritten note: ‘Thank you for my flute lessons and for teaching me to be a musician’. The warm and fuzzy feeling that arose from reading the childish scrawl was as acute as it had been upon the initial receipt. Sharing a love for music is one of the most important things we can do, and I am in awe of those who devote their lives to this noble – yet challenging – profession. It’s one of the many reasons I am delighted to be acting editor of Music Teacher and I look forward to keeping the editorial armchair warm for the
As we were going to press, news broke of several major reductions in funding that could have an alarming impact on music provision. The worst announcement came from Bromley Council, which has proposed a devastating cut to the annual grant to Bromley Youth Music Trust (BYMT), from an existing level of £305,650 to £76,000 in 2015/16, and to zero from 2016/17.
Confusingly, we are presented with increasing reports that prove the positive long-term effects of studying music. Susan Hallam recently produced a paper for the Music Education Council that brings together compelling evidence to suggest that every child and young person should have access to quality music-making opportunities. Last month, culture minister Ed Vaizey expressed anger that local authorities were ‘stepping away from their responsibility for the arts’. Everyone seems to agree that music is not merely an educational ‘add-on’ – but no one wants to cough up.
At the time of going to press, nearly 9,500 people had signed an online petition, #SaveBYMT. We can only hope that Bromley follows the example of Redbridge Council, which dropped plans to save £166,650 of its contribution to Redbridge Music Service, thanks to pressure from local campaigners.
We’ll be debating funding implications – plus much more – at the upcoming Music Education Expo. I look forward to meeting many of you there later this month.