Oboist Nicholas Daniel launches the campaign #everychildamusician with the support of the Rt Hon Harriet Harman QC MP and calls for governments in Westminster, Edinburgh and Cardiff to offer every primary school child in the UK the opportunity to play an instrument at no cost to them or their families.
Today in a letter to the Observer newspaper, musician colleagues rallied by Nicholas Daniel who have previously won BBC Young Musician, have backed the campaign. This includes: Michael Hext, Anna Markland, Emma Johnson, Alan Brind, David Pyatt, Nicola Loud, Freddy Kempf, Natalie Clein, Rafal Zambrzycki-Payne, Adrian Spillett, Guy Johnston, Jennifer Pike, Nicola Benedetti, Mark Simpson, Peter Moore, Lara Ömeroglu, Laura Van der Heijden, Martin James Bartlett and Sheku Kanneh-Mason.
Despite some brilliant schemes around the country, there is deep concern that instrumental music learning is being left to decay in many British Schools to the point that it could seriously damage the very future of music here and jeopardise British music’s hard won world-wide reputation.
It is crucial to restore music’s rightful place in children’s lives, not only because of all the clear social and educational benefits that are well documented, but also to demonstrate the joy of making music and of sharing it with others. This joy should be a universal right, all across the UK and this is an opportunity to show the world that we care about music’s future and its beneficial impact on the lives of our children. Musical life in the London Borough of Newham is one example, with their excellent Every Child A Musician (ECAM) scheme, which gives all of their primary school children an instrument. The scheme teaches them how to read music with lessons in small groups from year 3 onwards at no cost to the children or their families. Every child in the UK deserves to enjoy the benefits of ECAM and other excellent schemes, and their widespread adoption would alleviate many concerns about the future of music in this country. There are cost-effective, efficient and inspiring early-level interventions available, and we call upon the governments in Westminster, Edinburgh and Cardiff to make this possible across the whole of the UK.
Rt Hon Harriet Harman QC MP commented, “When we see people in repressive countries abroad denied artistic expression we readily recognise it as a human rights abuse. But in this country thousands of young people are denied their right to discover their musical potential by a class and postcode lottery. We cannot keep accepting that. We can change it. We should have A universal entitlement for every child to learn a musical instrument.”
Nicholas Daniel commented, “Music in all its magnificent forms is simply essential to us humans. The ability to read, write and perform instrumentally is a right we should be giving all our children, not just a lucky few, and the emotional and educational benefits to them are now proven and irrefutable. If there was a medicine that had these same benefits we would have it in the drinking water. We need to give ALL our children free access to this world and that can only happen with enlightened and inspiring leadership from our elected representatives, which is what we are calling for.”
The writer Jeanette Winterson has said: “Life has an inside as well as an outside. Playing music is more than recreation; through music children find confidence and happiness unrelated to money or social status. In a world where success is measured by what you can buy, many children feel left out or shut out. Music is inclusive. Music works across culture, across class, across language. It seems to be hard wired into humans. Music is spontaneous, and with some teaching music can enrich children’s lives forever.”