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On the beat

News and events from around the world this month

Read all the breaking news in the string world online

Laying the foundations

As music education in England comes under increased scrutiny, can a series of recommendations based on a recent report really make a difference?

By Peter Somerford

Young cello students practising at a London Music Masters session in 2018

A new UK report calls for music education to prioritise progression opportunities for every child. The report, Retuning Our Ambition for Music Learning, was published in March by the Music Commission, an expert panel established by Arts Council England and the ABRSM. Issuing a ten-year vision for how music education can be reinvigorated, the Commission made a series of recommendations, including that financial help is universally available to support all music learners to progress beyond first access; that schools judged as outstanding or high performing by inspectors should have a rich creative arts provision including music; that every secondary school should have at least one specialist music teacher; and that opportunities presented by technology should be maximised to bring music education into the 21st century.

The report follows a number of recent consultations and calls to action from the Incorporated Society of Musicians, the membership organisation and subject association Music Mark, the British Phonographic Industry, and others.

Research by Sussex University has highlighted a significant decline of music in the secondary school curriculum, with the proportion of schools in England making music compulsory in Year 9 (ages 13–14) having almost halved between 2012 and 2018. And researchers at Birmingham City University (BCU) have identified a ‘worrying drop’ between 2015–16 and 2016–17 in the take-up of area-based ensembles among older pupils.

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About The Strad

The Shanghai Quartet celebrates its 35th anniversary and we hand on some yoga tips for string players. There’s an in-depth look at Stradivari’s working methods and Shostakovich’s violin works. Plus Maxim Rysanov’s Life Lessons and Rivka golani’s Sentimental Work