British Orchestras and music education

Posted on: February 12, 2009

In Wednesday’s (2/11) Guardian (London), Mark Pemberton, the director of the Association of British Orchestras, responds to a February 4 article about the low quality of music education in British schools, which, he writes, “failed to acknowledge the work of professional orchestras with schools across Britain. … Nurturing talent and broadening access to classical music is a key focus for our association, which represents the interests of more than 65 professional orchestras and ensembles. … Our professional orchestras are already doing excellent work in partnership with schools—from musicians working directly in the classroom to the provision of concerts for schoolchildren.” About the February 4 article, Pemberton writes “that ‘the report is based on inspectors’ visits to 84 primary and 95 secondary schools’. It seems highly unlikely that none of these schools are benefiting from collaboration with professional music groups. Our orchestras currently reach more than 300,000 children a year. … Engaging with professional orchestras and other arts organisations is a key part of effective music education—one that should be recognised and celebrated.”