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Faber Music launches free Teachers’ Community following music research findings

23rd May 2024

Yellow background, text reads 'Fabe Music Teachers' Community' with a speech bubble in the top right corner

In 2023, Faber Music embarked on an important research project with Sound Connections. The purpose was to increase their understanding of the state of music education and the needs of instrumental music teachers and students in the UK.

Setting out the project, Lesley Rutherford, Publishing Director at Faber Music explained:

“In a post-COVID era, with budgets under increasing pressure and a landscape where AI and technology are changing the way we approach teaching and learning, it’s imperative that we listen to music teachers and do what we can to support them.”

Running from June to October, the consultation focused on how the music education market has changed in recent years and the way in which instrumental music teachers and students engage with printed and digital music publications. It took the form of an online questionnaire plus in-depth telephone interviews and focus groups. The survey reached the teachers of nearly 24,000 students from across the UK. Respondents included vocal and instrumental tutors, who were contacted via music industry and education associations and networks, Multiple Academy Trusts (MATs), Music Hubs and music conservatoires.

Here are a few highlights from the findings!


The importance of inclusivity and diversity

There is an appetite for modern approaches both in terms of repertoire and formats. This included an interest in and curiosity about contemporary music, digital scores, and apps. The research also revealed a need for more resources that draw from wider genres and traditions, including music from women and global majority composers. There is a demand for modern education resources, with a feeling that traditional offerings don’t excite students as they might.

There is a desire for greater equity and accessibility in terms of materials for students with specific needs. This includes specific training and professional development about how to teach more inclusively. Linked to this, tutors want to understand how to respond to the needs of their students better and have a genuine interest in the application of youth voice.

“We all need to be more aware and more inclusive and explore repertoire. In terms of using different genres of music, as a good teacher, obviously you want to make your students aware of everything.”


The Pandemic Effect

There were differing views on the lingering impact of the pandemic, with some pessimism, some optimism, but most feeling that the changes are relatively temporary. This disparity reflects both the disposition of the teachers and the settings in which they work. Concerns about younger children and ensemble playing were prevalent amongst those who felt the pandemic’s negative impact most keenly.

However, many felt that their teaching practices have returned to normal, with only minor changes relating to digital exams and occasional online lessons, and with few noting a decline in student numbers. A distaste for digital lessons and a desire for live music making was a common theme. Some noticed an increase in adult students learning an instrument, following people trying new hobbies during the pandemic.

To some, the pandemic has created lasting changes, affecting the disposition of their pupils and the way they engage with their teaching practice. Accounts of a ‘missing generation of students’, decreased student resilience, and anxiety about missing core subjects were notable. Conversely, some teachers noted increased independence in their students following the demands of lockdown.

“The pandemic has accelerated the change that I could see was coming.”

Encouragingly, when asked directly about changes in student numbers since the pandemic, more teachers said their numbers had increased than decreased. When asked more generally about the changes they have observed since the pandemic, only a small minority of teachers raised concerns about a lack of students.

There are also some differences in teachers’ experiences according to the instruments they teach. Broadly speaking, the more popular an instrument, the more likely it is that its teachers have seen an increase in students. Woodwind instruments seem to be decreasing in popularity, whilst pop instruments, strings (excluding double bass and harp), and piano are increasing.

“It was very detrimental to ensemble playing and ensemble skills, in terms of listening, interacting, intonation, sound projection.”


“Music making exploded. Students were finding composing software, GarageBand, Sibelius, composing their own pieces and putting them on SoundCloud or their chosen media.”


The Resounding Message

Throughout the consultative process, it was clear that vocal and instrumental tutors felt validated by being asked for their views. Many commented that this was the first time anyone had asked them what they thought about printed music and related resources.

“It’s exciting when you have publishers wanting to engage with the people that are using their products and actually asking them about what they need, and how can they help, because this should be about everybody working together to produce what is required to help… our children.”


What’s next from Faber Music…

The research is already helping inform Faber Music’s future educational publishing plans and will undoubtedly enrich it for years to come. What also shone through was the unquestionable importance of continuing to listen and learn from the teaching community. Faber Music’s Head of Marketing, Rachel Topham, explains:

“Most of us at Faber Music have had our own journeys through music education and are eternally grateful to the music teachers who guided us and enriched our lives. We have always been invested in the future of music education and doing what we can to cater to the needs of music teachers and students, and this research project has shone a light on the value of the relationship between publisher and the teaching community…


We’ve learnt that the benefits of peer learning and being part of a community of practice has become so important since COVID and teachers want their voices to be heard. After searching for a way to ensure everyone is consulted, listened to, and supported, we are delighted to announce the launch of an exciting new online community. The purpose of The Faber Music Teachers’ Community will be to ensure music teachers have a voice: to continue the conversation and nurture it, to ask questions and engage more. It will also be a place where we can give something back, whether that be free downloads, CPD webinars, access to music education experts or an exclusive first-look at new publications.


Launching on Thursday 23rd May 2024, The Faber Music Teachers’ Community will be completely free and will initially focus on areas of Piano Pedagogy and Resources, Music Theory, and CPD. I warmly invite all music teachers to join our dedicated Facebook Group and sign up via