Response to the ISM’s report on music education in the Covid-19 crisis

Music education in UK schools has been devastated by Covid-19, with 68% of primary and 39% of secondary school teachers noting a reduction in music provision, and almost 10% of schools no longer teaching class music. The findings come as part of a ground-breaking new report from the Incorporated Society of Musicians, published Monday 7 December 2020.

We’re working to change this. We support young musicians from low-income families throughout the UK, helping them to overcome financial and social barriers in their musical journeys. We received a record number of applications for support this year, following the outbreak of Covid-19.

In response to the new ISM report, our Chief Executive Hester Cockcroft comments:

“This report underlines what we know from working with our partners across the UK. Musical talent is everywhere, but opportunity is not, and Covid-19 has only exacerbated the obstacles young people from low income families face. We’re continuing to adapt and increase our funding and other support for individuals to ensure they can continue to make music, which is vital at such a challenging time for music education:

  • Firstly we’re providing continuity by helping with broadband and data costs, borrowing laptops etc, so that young people can continue with instrumental lessons and musical learning at home if it’s not possible at school.
  • Secondly, community: young musicians often feel isolated at the best of times, particularly if they can’t make music in or out of school, so we’re bringing them and their teachers together online for an ongoing series of webinars, get togethers and workshops. 
  • Thirdly, inspiration is absolutely key to help young people maintain momentum and motivation and our inspiring Patrons have been busy helping in every way they can too!

The impact on music teachers has also been devastating. The ISM’s report is based on over 1,300 responses from music teachers, many of whom face great uncertainty. We recognise that this is extremely challenging, and have maintained our programmes and continued to support music leaders as much as we can e.g. via our regular Teachers’ Forums.”

Read ISM’s ground-breaking report, ‘The heart of the school is missing’:

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