Why should posh kids have all the fun? On making music a universal, not a luxury
‘I can’t see a world where we deprive such a large proportion of the population [of music]’
Dear members — who should be allowed to learn an instrument? Well, everyone, you say — as a Mill subscriber, you’re a passionate egalitarian. But in reality, it doesn’t really shake out like that. In a 2021 survey of music departments of UK schools by the Independent Society of Musicians, 61% of respondents said their budgets were “insufficient” and teachers said they would often top up budgets with fundraising concerts to keep music classes alive. The report also confirmed a widening gulf between private and state schools: the average annual budget for music in state schools was £1,865, compared to £9,917 for private schools.
What this means in practice? That we’re operating under a sort of Berlin Wall of culture — in essence, if your parents have disposable income, you’ll be fine. But most likely as not, if you’re from a lower-income family, your chances of accessing music become extremely skinny. So thank goodness for Olympias Music Foundation — a charity which tries to make access …