What is the place of classical music in the classroom?

15th September 2015

Recently violinist Nicola Benedetti and composer Sir Peter Maxwell Davies have been forthcoming in their opinions about music in our schools.

Read Peter Maxwell Davies branding music education “a disgrace” because children don’t study the works of Mozart and Beethoven HERE and Nicola Benedetti talking about how “every young person should be “made” to study classical works to help them understand humanity” HERE

So what do we in the music education sector make of these eminent and well respected musicians and their opinions about what we are doing on a daily basis in classrooms?

Musical Futures is often described as “just a rock and pop project”. Indeed, because the start point is music that students like, understand and engage with, rock, pop and urban music is most often where they start. However, there’s much more to Musical Futures than that. If you lift the approaches of informal learning, non formal teaching and Find Your Voice, you can use them with music from any genre or part of the world.

For the record, we do have issues with any approach where students are “made” to do anything, moreover having seen some fantastic work happening in Musical Futures schools where some teachers regularly receive “outstanding” judgements on their lessons, we don’t agree that music education is “a disgrace”.  However we also know that there are schools where students are chucked some worksheets and left to get on with it in the name of Musical Futures and we work hard to make the pedagogy that underpins Musical Futures clear. It’s not content driven, it’s an approach. Classical, jazz, folk, some weird thing you found on You Tube-anything goes!

Our live chat about the place of classical music in the classroom will take place on Wednesday 16th Sept at 8.30pm, but please leave your thoughts at any time using the hashtag #mufuchat or on the pre chat thread HERE

In the meantime, you might not have found them, but our website is full of examples and downloadable audio and teacher notes about how Musical Futures can be used with ‘other musics’, all free, all ready to take, use, innovate with and share.

Every week Musical Futures will share a resource of the week from our shiny new website, so make sure you have followed us on social media and watch for posts on Sunday. Meanwhile here are our top three resources that dispel the myth that Musical Futures is ‘just a rock and pop project’!

Modelling Aural Learning resources for Little Grascals ‘Nine Pound Hammer’ (bluegrass)https://www.musicalfutures.org/resource/417/title/littlegrascalsninepoundhammer

Modelling Aural Learning resources for Golden Sounds Band ‘Maisha’ (Kenya)https://www.musicalfutures.org/resource/416/title/goldensoundsbandmaishakenya

Aural Learning resources for Mozart ‘Eine Kleine Nachtmusik’https://www.musicalfutures.org/resource/414/title/mozarteinekleinenachtmusik

Excellent workshops ‑ extremely accessible for all abilities and levels."

Claire Armour, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra