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James Rhodes tackles music education in new Channel 4 series

6 April 2014

Channel 4 has commissioned Fresh One to make a three-part series in which pianist James Rhodes aims to get Britain playing again by launching this country’s biggest ever ‘instrument amnesty’. 

The programmes see Rhodes launch his ambitious experiment in Basildon, working in partnership with the people of one town to prove that his approach can work nationwide. It will be accompanied by a major campaign to build on this case study, spreading the amnesty across the country and getting instruments currently languishing in cupboards and attics to the musicians and potential musicians who need them. 

Rhodes said: ‘Within the space of a generation, music education in this country has been decimated. Where once it was inclusive, widespread and available, it is now, sadly, seen as a luxury rather than a basic right. I am so thrilled to be working with Channel 4 to address this. Music has an undeniable, proven positive impact on self-esteem, discipline, teamwork, numeracy, behavioural problems and confidence. The fact that it has all but disappeared from the majority of our state schools is as shocking as it is appalling. This is potentially the most exciting and rewarding project I could ever hope to work on and, with the right support, it's something that I hope will create lasting change.’ 

John Hay, Commissioning Editor for Arts, said: ‘James is a genuinely inspirational figure and with this series, he has found his cause. The instrument amnesty is one of those ideas that – once described – seems so obvious and so right that you wonder why it isn’t already happening, so we’re delighted to be able to throw the channel’s weight behind it to try and bring about real and permanent change.’ 

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