Our goal has always been simple - to make the quest for music as accessible as possible. Whilst the past year certainly has thrown a few spanners in the works, that is still our goal, to support teachers, communities and students however possible.
Today we wanted to outline just some of the ways that yourself or your children can get involved in music education, whether it be through schooling, private tuition or by connecting with teachers across the country.
In our Lockdown Stories series we spoke to a number of teachers and professionals to give their views on the important issues surrounding music education and their opinions on why music education is vital to child development. We’re taking things one step further today and are speaking to woodwind teacher and music education advocate Hannah Williams on the benefits of music education and the easiest ways to get children involved in music.
“Music education is all about being able to pass on a love and enthusiasm for music. To me, music education is also about introducing others to the great benefits of learning a musical instrument. My job as a teacher is to make playing as easy as possible for my students, which leaves them to focus on the music itself, and enjoyment of playing!”
Read More: Buyers Guide To Your First Upright Piano or Digital Vs Acoustic Pianos
Throughout the pandemic, the impact of learning an instrument on mental health has been widely recorded and more and more people are realising the benefits that learning an instrument and experimenting with music can have. We also covered this topic in a lot of detail with Cbeebies presenter and MOBO award winner Yolanda Brown - Watch the full interview here
Hannah continues: “Music can relieve stress for players of all ages, and is a wonderful tool for developing time management skills and a sense of discipline. It is also a wonderful bridge between other subjects that children and young people study – music allows you to work on your maths skills, reading and writing skills, as well as the science and history behind the instruments themselves! The benefits of music for children and young people are endless!”
Despite these discoveries however, music education, particularly in schools has been largely reduced or dropped completely. A recent report from ISM (Incoporated Society Of Musicans) has been published titled: ‘The heart of the school is missing’, that reveals the devastating impact on music education across the country and that almost 10% of primary and secondary schools are not teaching class music at all, even though it is still a mandatory requirement of the curriculum and remains a huge emotional and creative outlet for students up and down the country.
Despite school funding being minimised, Hannah remains optimistic and has noticed a large increase in demand for tuition:
“Sadly the future of music education is not looking fantastic at this current moment in time. With significant cuts to funding in schools, and the pandemic preventing many lessons from taking place, I’m concerned that number of people learning musical instruments is going to continue to decline.
Having said that, many adult learners have taken up new instruments, or picked up instruments they used to play as children, throughout the various lockdowns here in the UK. I’ve taken on several adult students who have found themselves with free time to take up a new hobby, which is really exciting! I think that in order to save the future of music education, the value of the arts in schools needs to be recognised at all levels.”
How can you get your children or other young people interested in music?
A great question! You certainly don't have to be musical yourself to get your children excited and interested in music! Hannah outlines just how easy it is to get involved in music education is actually - it all starts with the first step!
“I would recommend speaking to your local music store, covid regulations depending, of course. Not only will they be able to get you set-up with all the gear you need, such as your instrument, a music book and necessary accessories, but they should also be showing you how to put the instrument together, and how to make your first sound. Many music stores keep a database of local teachers, and will be able to recommend a teacher (or several) who will suit you and your musical goals. I would recommend getting in touch with a music teacher as soon as possible.
They will be able to make sure you start off on the right foot, without developing any bad habits! Regular lessons will also help keep you motivated, if you’ve found the right teacher. Consider booking trial lessons with a few different teachers to see who suits your learning style and playing aspirations best!”
Interested in learning more or taking up the call to learn an instrument for yourself? Or perhaps you have used lockdown to inspire your own musical journey? We would love to see your progress! Simply get in touch with us @millersmusic or use #MillersMusic for your chance to feature!
For more on the benefits of music and joys it can bring children, check out our interview with YolanDa brown below!