Ivan Hewett explains why Latvia’s music education system receives international acclaim and what the UK can learn from it.
In the United Kingdom, music has always been the Cinderella of education, constantly praised by ministers in high-flown speeches but never really high on their agenda. What truly fires them up is training workers for the knowledge economy and focusing on STEM subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics).
Not that they ignore music; on the contrary, one of this Government’s boasts is that every child will have access to instrumental lessons at some point during their school career, for free. But the truth is that this access is fleeting, lasting only a term at most, and the pupils have precious little say in the choice of instrument, so the child who might have made an enthusiastic trombonist ends up reluctantly strumming a guitar.
After that, if the child wants to continue, the parents will have to cough up. As for the prominence of music in the general life of the school, and in the curriculum, it’s entirely at the whim of the head teacher... Keep reading on The Telegraph.