ALMOST two-thirds of children do not play any musical instruments, compared with just 34 per cent of their parents when they were the same age, a survey has found.
Fewer than half of parents (44 per cent) believe it is important that their child is involved in music, with parents in the South- East more likely to think this (55 per cent) than their counterparts in Wales and the South-West (39 per cent), the BBC poll revealed.
Yet in a recent announcement Education Secretary Michael Gove has said the chance to learn an instrument, read music and receive top quality music education is an opportunity that should be extended to all -- and that it is "simply unfair" the joy of musical discovery should be the preserve of those whose parents can afford it.
Launching an independent review of music education, which will be led by Darren Henley, managing director of Classic FM, Gove said broadening the access and opportunities young people have to experience and understand music is central to raising standards.
Research has shown that quality music education improves behaviour, attention and concentration, and has a hugely positive effect on numeracy and language skills.
Giving all young people the best possible music education will help the Government achieve its twin aims of driving up standards and reducing the attainment gap.
Henley's review -- which is expected to make its recommendations before the end of the year -- will look at how to make sure music funding benefits more young people, improving the music opportunities young people receive both in and out of school, improving the teacher training and professional development offered to music teachers, how to attract more music professionals into schools and how best to offer quality live music experiences to all young people.
"Having worked closely with leading music educators and thinkers over the past few years, I know how much of a positive difference high quality music education makes to children's lives," he says. "I am looking forward to delivering to ministers a report which outlines how we can ensure that every child in England benefits from a worldbeating music education system." According to Minister for the Creative Industries, Ed Vaizey, young people are "the lifeblood of creativity".
"We produce some of the greatest musical talent in the world but there is so much more that can be done to harness the passion and enthusiasm that children have for music," he says. "Young people need to be given greater and more equal opportunities to benefit from formal music education. We need to encourage them to see the link between learning an instrument, the artists they hear on the radio and the songs they download."
He adds: "As well as it being very important to learn skills in music for its own sake, the benefits don't stop there. Immersion in music can lead to improved social skills and educational success, with behaviour, wellbeing, confidence, concentration skills and teamwork all proven to improve, with good music provision."
Children at two Lambeth schools are already benefiting from an innovative scheme which will see 100 of them perform in a showcase at the Royal Festival Hall at 6pm on October 13.
Charity London Music Masters (LMM) established the Bridge Project two years ago to address the lack of cultural diversity both among audiences and performers.
The project creates opportunities for children, regardless of their ethnic and socio-economic background, to discover and get involved in musicmaking.
The scheme has already provided sustained weekly tuition to more than 250 children at Jessop and Ashmole Primary Schools. …