Magazine article Times Educational Supplement

Smog of Competition Smothers Creativity: Letters

Magazine article Times Educational Supplement

Smog of Competition Smothers Creativity: Letters

Article excerpt

For the first time in about 20 years of teaching piano, more of my students are leaving for reasons other than finance, lack of interest or changing circumstances such as moving house. They are leaving because they do not have time to practise.

Over the past few years, I and colleagues have worked around the growing number of after-school activities that have put a strain on practice time. But the exodus from music lessons now has a different timbre; children have increasing amounts of homework so that their study time takes up most of their evenings. Several of my students also study before breakfast.

What disheartens me most is the fear that is so evident in the children and parents who are leaving. And that seems the greatest irony and tragedy for us all. Education has become a very serious business. Something terrible will happen if little Mary doesn't get her grades. It feels like an invisible smog that is smothering the best aspects of learning - curiosity, creativity, adventure, dreaming, inspiration, imagination. …

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