Current levels of funding are threatening children’s ‘basic right’ to school music lessons, says the star trumpeter.
Alison Balsom said she would not have become a professional musician if she had been born a few years later. After picking up a trumpet at primary school, Balsom has forged a highly successful career, winning the coveted Gramophone Artist of the Year award in 2013 and three Classic Brit awards – despite not taking up specialist tuition until she was 14.
“These cutbacks make me so furious,” she said, speaking to the Radio Times. “How short-sighted is it not to see how useful music is? We know the countless benefits of what music can do to your brain – you learn to listen, to take in information, to work with other people.”
She added: “I know that if, as a child, I’d been dependent on the Government funding that’s around now, I simply wouldn’t exist as a professional player.”
Balsom’s remarks come just weeks after Education Secretary Michael Gove announced changes to the curriculum for selected arts subjects, including religious studies, design & technology, drama, dance, music and PE. The changes are set to remove qualifications which are not endorsed by businesses and employers, and create ‘high-quality, rigorous, demanding qualifications across the academic and vocational curriculum’.
What do you think about Alison Balsom’s comments? Did school music-making have an impact on your life? Post your thoughts below.