The beginning of the end of Music education?

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by Alisop, Sep 18, 2012.

  1. Alisop

    Alisop Member

    If Howard Goodall thinks it's bad it must be! I had the same thoughts yesterday but he has articulated them better than I could.

    [TABLE="width: 445"]
    [TD="class: post, bgcolor: initial"]

    What do you think?[/TD]
  2. Andrew Norman

    Andrew Norman Active Member

    Mr Goodall, as always, is very eloquent and (sadly) likely to be proven correct.
  3. mikelyons

    mikelyons Supporting Member

    As someone who has experienced the effect of the e-bacc already, and the decline of academic music at both GCSE and A level, I am afraid he is all too correct in his prediction. I've been saying it for years and head teachers who are blinkered by their devotion to a place on a league table will diminish the role of music in the curriculum even further, starving it of funds, resources and specialist teachers. Despite all the evidence on the beneficial effects of the creative and expressive subjects and their benefits for the pupils and the school, they will once again be put into third or fourth place or even bottom of the list. God preserve us all!
  4. MoominDave

    MoominDave Well-Known Member

    Seem that the moral is that now is a very useful time to start up a youth band...
  5. P_S_Price

    P_S_Price Member

    What disturbs me is that a young friend is currently studying to be a perip. Teacher.

    What hope for employment in the future?
  6. ophicliede

    ophicliede Member

    Pete, can I recommend your young friend takes up an alternative career. The way that music is being marginalised in eduction it would be a sound thing to look at alternatives. I doubt that there will be music teachers at secondary school level in ten years time. It's time for the brass band movement to get it's house in order and invest more time and energy in training youngsters.
  7. P_S_Price

    P_S_Price Member

    I think he knows, but its what he really wants to do. Trouble is its really hard to find music Employment outside of education. A musical Career is what he wants. I guess that his best option, once getting his degree would be teacher training, then he can in theory be a regular teacher. But its a shame - as with all current peri students I guess - Saddled with a mortgage (in the form of a SL) and little propect of employment! Yet our govt can find lots of money to kill people all over the world!
  8. MoominDave

    MoominDave Well-Known Member

    He might find that a parallel course in Norwegian would serve him very well
  9. ophicliede

    ophicliede Member

    The government are good with their rhetoric but can't and won't match it by actually doing anything. Times are going to get tough I'm afraid, I am grateful to atleast have my brass banding to keep me feeling good.
  10. KernowSop

    KernowSop Member

    Strangely I had an email from my son school about this subject earlier. He is due to choose his options in March and Music is a subject that 'has to be applied for, subject to availability'. This is due to not many people applying to study it, so they have to look at outsourcing the tutoring, or him doing it at another school. According to the email, only 6 students chose music as one of the options last year, so you can't necessarily blame the school. Unfortunately, computer studies and business studies are in the group and most people choose them over music. He will be upset aboout it, but I know that he will choose computer studies, as it's something 'more practical'. In this day and age, putting something so ultimately needed as computer studies against music, will contribute to the decline of lessons in schools.
  11. MoominDave

    MoominDave Well-Known Member

    What is the syllabus for computer studies GCSE? If it is simply learning how to operate MS Word, then he is wasting his time doing it if he has any aptitude for computery things.

    Honestly, as someone who spends his working life in front of a computer (scientific programming is most of my job) and plays in a lot of unpaid music-making, I would choose music out of those two options if it was my choice.
  12. Morghoven

    Morghoven Member

    The proposed (and ongoing) changes in the exam system may prove to be an excuse for more schools to marginalise performing arts and the like - but I rather think that in some cases an excuse is all it will be. The school I attended had already successfully sidelined music (and drama) fifteen years ago, mainly because the head at the time didn't like them and couldn't see any value in them, so let's not pretend this is a new thing.

    I know there are lots of great school music teachers out there, but frankly I've also come across lots who are rubbish and in some cases are doing far more harm than good. I hope - I think - I'm in a small minority, but my own personal experiences of school music mean that in those circumstances "the end of music in schools as we know it" can't come soon enough.
  13. Backrowdiva

    Backrowdiva Member

    I did GCSE music 20 something years ago, and found it a waste of time, whether it was the exam board which my secondary school picked for it could be questioned, but it seem to be aimed a children, interested in music, but with no theory knowledge, composition by "graphic score" no ablity to read music, etc. Entry to the A Level course at the local tech was by audition, rather that GCSE grades and many of the students there hadn't taken music at the school, apart from the (then) free lessons from peri teachers.
  14. mikelyons

    mikelyons Supporting Member

    In my experience, it is only quite recently (maybe last 5 years) that lack of theory and notation skills has not been a bar to taking music at GCSE. It has gone from being an academic study to being classed in the same list as the vocational subjects. Music theory is hard and they (the pupils) don't want to put the effort in. Nobody (school or parents) wants to push them so the exam boards dumb down the exams so they require very little theory.

    Then, with an A or A* the child thinks they are a musical genius and take it at A level, only to find that it is (still, but not for much longer) an academic subject that requires things to be learned and remembered) so they drop out or go into music technology which requires buqqer all theory and so Music tech becomes ever more popular, academic music is squeezed out of the curriculum (numbers game) and so it goes on.

    Then you get them looking at music teaching careers without a theory base and having gained a music tech or similar 'practical' degree - still no theory and so the dumbing down becomes in-built. I've seen it happen - and as a music ITT mentor I have discouraged people from continuing - and I'm only one. It must be going on all over the country. What did the continentals describe the English as ... The people with no music? QED
  15. GJG

    GJG Well-Known Member

    I was astonished recently to discover (in conversation with one of my former Professors (now retired) from my music undergraduate days ( - a few(!) years ago now, admittedly)) that the Music Department of Royal Holloway College (University of London) are now apparently accepting undergraduate students who can't read music.

    In light of your comments, perhaps I shouldn't be so surprised ...
  16. I know where you're coming from but............ are you suggesting that Paul McCartney is not a musician?
    We've had this conversation before and I still insist that we are too hung up on notation.
  17. GJG

    GJG Well-Known Member

    That's a pretty weird statement on a forum populated almost entirely by people whose principal leisure activity is dependant on a basic grasp of notation ... ???
  18. MoominDave

    MoominDave Well-Known Member

    Paul McCartney is not an academic musician. Going to university to study music was not part of his agenda and would not have benefited his career or what he wanted to do [arguably, anyway]. I don't think he's a particularly relevant example to Gareth's anecdote.

    There's a fine line to tread between straitjacketing talented mavericks with our fusty old rules and allowing talented but lazy pupils to not learn something that will later prove extremely useful to them.
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2012
  19. DRW

    DRW New Member

    Maybe in some ways this is commendable; musical notation is arguably one of the least important elements of music. It is after all only a means to an end.
  20. MoominDave

    MoominDave Well-Known Member

    I suppose the question to ask is: What kinds of musician does Royal Holloway teach that can get away without being able to read music? And what does their course of study aim to equip a student to do?

    Also - Gareth only says that it is no longer an entry requirement - I presume that it gets taught remedially in some haste if a student arrives without that knowledge?