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Advocacy: two sides, one coin

Music always seems to be in need of some advocacy.  The Henley Review, the National Curriculum Review, the introduction of the EBacc, every round of cuts and even the National Plan for Music Education  all prompted us to champion the benefits of music education.  Our arguments usually have two sides:

  • music benefits learning in other subject areas
  • music has unique and intrinsic benefits, which should be preserved
I was, therefore, interested to read two documents this morning about advocacy in music education.  The first article looked at the those intrinsic benefits and was posted on the OUP blog by Martin Ashley.  The ever-insightful John Finney, saw this and sent me a tweet with a link to this article written by Wayne Bowman and posted on John’s blog.  This second piece proposed scrapping the split between the two extremes of advocacy and, instead, suggested a rather dramatic rethink.  Anyone who’s heard of Plato’s theory of forms, may be familiar with some of Wayne’s approach to the discussion.  I certainly recommend reading both pieces.  
Both articles ring true with me but in very different ways.  The most important thing that stands out, however, is the need to remember the genuine worth of our subject and to be proud when we advocate its place in our education system.  Wayne’s suggestion for a rethink should serve as a reminder to us all that the two sides of this issue still represent one coin – music education is beneficial.  Full stop.

UPDATE: David Cameron talks about music education

It would appear that my thinking about advocacy has come at a time when we really need it!  David Cameron has spoken to Classic FM’s Nick Ferrari where he says that the basics of education have to be “nailed down, then look at music”.  The comment that concerns me the most is his description of Music Education Hubs as “these hubs”, which just sounds so dismissive to me.  Have a listen for yourself here:

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