Re-engaging youth with classical music in Britain

Posted on: April 2, 2009

“I am a 33-year-old classical music critic,” writes Tom Service in Thursday’s (4/2) Guardian (London). “In my 25 years of going to concerts (and since my 20s, writing about them), I am almost always the youngest person in the audience.” Service notes that between 1950 and 1975, many people in England were introduced to classical music through government-mandated Music Services, which provided resources for classical music instruction to public schools. “Audiences for classical music today are older because they are made up of people who played it as children; younger generations have never had that chance.” Service sees a reinstitution of this type of government involvement as key to a revitalization of classical music. “Here is a ready-made answer to the problems of renewing classical music’s role in society. Make [Music Services] statutory requirements for every local authority, and give them the responsibility for rebuilding the network of classical musical possibility that used to resound throughout the country. Classical music will always be perceived as an elitist art form so long as we continue to deny children the chance to make it their own.”

Posted April 2, 2009