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James Rhodes Interview with MIPro on how retailers can help the education sector

3rd December 2014

Classical pianist and host of Channel 4’s TV hit ‘Don’t Stop the Music’, James Rhodes, sits down with Daniel Gumble to discuss his ongoing battle with government over declining standards of music education and how retailers can get more heavily involved with the cause…

Earlier this year, classical pianist, James Rhodes, launched a nationwide campaign to force the government’s arm in the ongoing debate over music education. In some quarters of parliament, music has come to represent little more than an afterthought in a child’s education, with Maths and English considered the only essential components – the proven benefits of music on all aspects of a child’s education were seemingly lost on former education secretary, Michael Gove, who referred to music as a pseudo subject.

To raise awareness of the issue, Rhodes set about a nationwide crusade to encourage the music industry as a whole to do more; calling on artists, retailers, suppliers and manufacturers to donate musical instruments and get more heavily involved with their local schools and education bodies to circumvent parliamentary ignorance and get things moving on the ground.

As part of his initiative, Rhodes recently brought the topic to the wider public via his two-part Channel 4 series Don’t Stop the Music, in which he implored Basildon primary school, St. Teresa’s, to devote more time to music education with instruments donated by local retailers and the public at large. The results, unsurprisingly, were overwhelmingly positive, with many children not only developing a fresh passion for music, but also excelling in other non-music related fields.

However, Rhodes is keen to point out that the school featured in the show marks the first step in a long journey toward a nationwide transformation of attitudes towards music education.

“The response to the show has been beyond anything I could have expected. The plan was always that the show would be a springboard for lasting change to happen, and that it would highlight the problem. There was no sense that we would just do a show bringing in a bunch instruments and a camera crew to one school and then just going home. That would have been a total waste of time.”

Read more on the Music Instrument Professional website