The DfE press release about the additional 18 million that the government has put into music education for 14/15 has confused me. I actually got a little angry so apologies in advance if this comes across as slightly petulant.
I don't object to an increase in funding and quotes such as "No education can be complete without the arts and music playing a central role" from Nick Gibb are very encouraging. However, it really grinds my gears when I read things like "in the 2012 to 2013 academic year, the first year of music hubs, nearly 80,000 disadvantaged pupils and more than 30,000 pupils with special educational needs took part in instrumental ensembles and choirs, demonstrating the impact of the hubs."
Are we living in the dark ages? Since when was quantity voted in over quality? How on earth does that demonstrate impact?
And the thing that got a physical reaction from me (blood pressure rising, fists clenching, teeth grinding, etc) was this: "We’ve also seen more entries at GCSE in 2014 than the previous year, reflecting our ambition to give every child the opportunity to play and enjoy music."
I have to apologise to the government of the UK for completely misunderstanding the purpose of music education. I thought it was to help children and young people develop a love of music and become happy, confident, creative and self-actualised human beings. But, apparently, all we want is more kids doing something - anything - musical.
The rational part of me (and it is quite a small part, as I type) whispers that more GCSE music takeup cannot be a bad thing and I know that's true. But people read this stuff and take it as gospel. As Ken Robinson, paraphrased by Siggy Patchitt, put it: They are making what's measurable important and broadcasting it to the nation, while we are sweating over trying to make what's important measurable. But what's the point? If all that gets churned out the other end is how many people did stuff.
Never before have I felt less gratefull for 18 million quid!
(The authors would like to apologise if any of the above comments are offensive, innacurate, or just plain ignorant.)