ABRSM is running an important teacher survey between 24 February and 24 April, as part of the latest edition of its established Making Music research series. This is an opportunity for music teachers to contribute to a valuable piece of research, with the results providing a unique resource available to the whole music education sector and government. One of the key aims of Making Music is to show the diversity of music teaching and learning in the UK. So all music teachers, irrespective of specialism and experience, are encouraged to take part and add their voice!
The ABRSM Making Music 2020 Teacher Survey has been updated to reflect the diversity of teaching and learning in the UK. For the first time, we are asking teachers to describe their experience of working with learners with special educational needs and disabilities. This is a fundamental part of ensuring all learners can access music education, and more data is needed on how teachers are adapting their teaching practice to a wide range of learners. There are also more questions about the use of digital technology, including whether teachers are now creating content that they share online via platforms like YouTube.
ABRSM began producing its series of Making Music reports in 1993 and has published four reports so far, in 1994, 1997, 2000 and 2014. As shown in the table below, the research is longitudinal, tracking engagement in music over time. The 2014 report provided a helpful measure of the effectiveness of the National Plan for Music Education after it had been in place for 3 years. ABRSM found that 69% of children were playing an instrument, with a further 16% having played previously. This sounds like a promising start for the National Plan. However, they also found that only 55% of learners from the most disadvantaged backgrounds had received instrumental lessons, compared to 75% of learners from the most advantaged backgrounds.
In 2014, the majority of teachers stated that they do a combination of private and school teaching, with 40% of their students taught in primary schools. Teachers reported that over 80% of learners who they work with in whole class ensemble teaching do not go on to have lessons in an instrument or singing, and this remains a concern. As highlighted by the Music Commission, learners gain access to music through whole class ensemble teaching, but are then unable to progress. Given that the National Plan has now been in place for nearly a decade, and in light of the current DfE consultation on refreshing it, it is an important time to take another look at how teachers and learners are engaging in music education.
The ABRSM Making Music 2020 report will be published in November, providing valuable insight into music teaching and learning in the UK. For more information and to complete the teacher survey, visit www.abrsm.org/abrsm-making-music-2020.