New Music Commission launched

A new Music Commission has been created to carry out a fundamental review of how to support progression in music learning.

The Music Commission was launched on 10 July 2017 by ABRSM, the UK-based charity providing graded music exams and support to teachers and learners around the world, with backing from Arts Council England.  Chaired by Sir Nicholas Kenyon, Managing Director of the Barbican Centre, the Commission will bring together a panel of experts including performers, academics, educators and sector experts.

Research commissioned by ABRSM in 2014 showed that:

  • 77% of 8-10 year olds currently play an instrument
  • by the time a young person is 16, 61% of them have stopped taking music lessons
  • 45% of teachers who saw a decrease in numbers of music students think cost is a key factor
  • 66% of children first learn to play an instrument at school.

Sir Nicholas Kenyon said:

‘We have incredibly talented young people for whom music is a key part of their lives. We want to encourage them to build on their creativity and continue to engage with music. There are tremendous music initiatives out there, many thousands of committed teachers and superb resources available. So why, as young people move into adulthood, does this become more difficult for them?

‘We know the clear benefits music provides to learners’ confidence and educational attainment, as well as to society and the economy. This Commission will not be about proving that case again – it will be about exploring the best ways to encourage talented young people to move forward.

‘Our job will be to make sense of what’s going on and look for the best ideas – not just in the UK but around the world – and make proposals that can give everyone, whatever their ability or background, the best possible support to take forward their musical interests.’

The Music Commission has four main aims:

  • to provide evidence for the diversity of music education provision and achievement
  • to understand progression in music learning in and out of schools
  • to articulate the need for all young people to have the best opportunities and conditions to learn a musical instrument
  • to identify solutions to tackle the problems and barriers learners face in their musical development.

The new body will commission research, seek submissions from organisations working in music education, host evidence sessions and events as well as conducting surveys open to anyone with an interest in learning or teaching music. The Music Commission panel, members of which will be confirmed by September 2017, will meet throughout 2017 and 2018 and publish a final report in September 2018.

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