Tens of thousands of children will be given the chance to learn a new instrument as part of a new national plan for music education in the UK.


The plan, which was postponed by two years due to the coronavirus pandemic, sets out the government's ambition to give 'every child the opportunity to develop a love of music,' in the words of Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi.
Made in consultation with experts including music teachers and young people in the music industry, it involves a raft of new investments and measures to support music education.

£25 million will be made available for schools to purchase musical instruments and equipment, including adapted instruments for children with special educations needs and disabilities. A further £79 million will be put towards the Music Hubs programme every year for three years.

According to the updated guidance, set out in a new 88-page 'The Power of Music to Change Lives', schools will be asked to offer at least one hour of music curriculum a week. Every school will be expected to have a designated music lead or head of department. Additional initiatives include a pilot to improve music progression in disadvantaged areas and the roll-out of an inclusion strategy in every music hub area so that all young people can access a music education.

The refreshed plan builds on the Model Music Curriculum, that was published by the Department for Education last year. As part of that updated curriculum, teachers will be able to draw from a free online resource called Classroom 200, featuring 200 recordings of music in a range of styles, each with its own accompanying lesson plan. As a result, pupils will be encouraged to listen to classical music by composers such as Beethoven and Tchaikovsky, as well as Rock 'n Roll songs from Little Richard and Elvis Presley, jazz from Nina Simone and modern classics by bands such as Queen.

Many organisations and individuals have shared their views on the new plans, since they were announced last Saturday 25 June. ISM Chief Executive Deborah Annetts commented that ‘The refreshed National Plan has been years in the works and we’re glad that it has been released today.
The ISM will take time to review the document forensically and listen to the views of teachers. However, on first reading there looks to be much we can welcome and that our members will be pleased to see included within it. The plan states that music should be a key part of the school curriculum, which is something that we are very pleased with.'

The cellist Julian Lloyd-Webber said: 'The new Model Music Curriculum will provide children with a wealth of knowledge about music – and it’s fun too.'

Chief Executive of UK Music, Jamie Njoku-Goodwin said: 'The new National Plan for Music Education, and commitment of capital investment is very welcome. Music can transform lives – so it is vital that music education does not become the preserve of a privileged few and is available to everyone, regardless of their background. Continued investment in music education is vital if we want to unlock the huge creative potential of young people and level up opportunities across the country.'


Meanwhile the saxophonist, broadcaster and philanthropist YolanDa Brown, who sat on the advisory panel for the New Plan for Music Education, tweeted: 'My dream is that EVERY child has access to music making & benefits from the joy music emits. The NPME in many ways supports this; from the child having their first music experience, to next gen of musicians inspired to pursue career opportunities in the industry.'

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Hannah Nepilova is a regular contributor to BBC Music Magazine. She has also written for The Financial Times, The Times, The Strad, Gramophone, Opera Now, Opera, the BBC Proms and the Philharmonia, and runs The Cusp, an online magazine exploring the boundaries between art forms. Born to Czech parents, she has a strong interest in Czech music and culture.