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Retuning Our Ambitions for Music Learning: Every Child Taking Music Further

The Music Commission has been an 18-month expert inquiry into music education, established by ABRSM and Arts Council England. The Commission has focused on how to create the conditions for every young person to get the support they need to achieve their full musical potential. It has taken evidence from a wide range of music and arts organisations, practitioners and leaders in the field, and has conducted a comprehensive research programme involving surveys and consultation events.

The Commission was steered by an Independent Panel of musicians, academics, economists, music educators and leaders, each with influential roles in the music and arts world. Their review of the evidence has identified six complex and interrelated challenges we must overcome if every young person, regardless of background or circumstances, is to be supported to realise their full musical potential.

  1. The wide inconsistency of music provision in schools
  2. The cost barriers to families
  3. An inadequate response to how young people use technology in their experience of music
  4. Insufficient support beyond first access programmes for learners
  5. Schools needing greater support to deliver a rich music curriculum that focuses on key musical skills
  6. Resources and organisations not working together effectively enough to support every learner to progress

In response to these challenges the Commission identifies the following eight key ambitions with associated recommendations for the coming ten years:

  1. Leaders in schools and education are confident and enabled to put music at the heart of their students’ learning.
  2. Every school is supported to provide an effective music curriculum and the provision of a quality music offer is a key performance measure.
  3. The development of a diverse and skilled music education workforce is extended through enhanced training of specialist and generalist teachers, and support to enter the profession.
  4. Financial support is universally available to support all music learners to progress beyond first access.
  5. More collaborative models of music education are established, involving support for and between schools and relevant partners to help students to progress in music.
  6. Parental engagement is supported as a priority from the earliest years onwards.
  7. Young people are informed and engaged in shaping their own learning pathways and involved in the development of music education programmes.
  8. New, integrated approaches to the teaching and assessment of learning of music in a digital age are developed.

As Sir Nicholas Kenyon, Chair of the Commission, states in his introduction: “The Music Commission report is offered as a positive contribution to an already long and rich debate. Its one question is: how can we fundamentally retune our ambition for music learning by focusing on the need for progress and progression routes?”

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The Music Commission

The Music Commission was an 18-month expert inquiry into music education, established by ABRSM and Arts Council England. It published its report on 4 March 2019.

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