Music Mark is very proud of all its member music education organisations and individuals across the UK who have continued to provide quality music education provision during the past 18 months, regularly adapting provision to meet the changing guidance from the government in the country in which they are based.
Music is such a valuable vehicle for supporting health and wellbeing, for assisting in learning, bringing communities together and of course as an important curriculum subject in its own right. Access to music has ensured many children and young people have found an outlet for their creativity and to manage their emotions during what has been a really stressful period in their young lives.
Music is also, however, a job for many, many people across the country. Music teachers in and out of the classroom have worked tirelessly to ensure pupils can reap the benefits of musical learning as well as develop and progress their skills in the subject academically and practically. But many of the music tutors who are employed to provide instrumental teaching services are also gigging musicians. Therefore the impact of the ongoing pandemic and a delay to fully reopening cultural activities – which is being reported by a number of key organisations such as LIVE (the voice of the live music entertainment business), the ISM (Incorporated Society of Musicians) and the MU (Musicians Union) – is also having an effect on the music education sector. Musicians need to earn a living and without the gigs which form part of that living for those who have successfully created a portfolio career, we are seeing many in our teaching workforce having to leave the profession.
Music Mark therefore supports the ongoing pressure these and other organisations are putting on the government to think carefully about the music industry and how they will ensure our world class musicians – performers AND teachers – can do their jobs! We fully understand the need for caution as new variants take hold, but like many in the cultural sector we do not understand why full capacity sporting events can and are taking place, but there are ongoing restrictions for our sector.
The impact of these restrictions is significant and increasing. The research is clear; the risks of singing and performing are not as serious as was initially thought, but the benefits of music and the wider arts are considerable. To rebuild communities, save jobs, and ensure the world class status of our music industry is perpetuated, the government must identify ways to accelerate the full reopening of performance venues and festivals.