Your views are important

There is a lot of debate about music education and arts funding at the moment. But these debates do not take note often enough of issues that affect adult musical activity.

Making Music responds to consultations on behalf of members and the leisure-time music sector. But it really helps if some of you also respond yourselves – bringing home the message with specific examples and stories.

Currently there are two debates you can contribute to, either as an individual or as a music group.

Arts Council England (ACE) new 10 year strategy

Great art and culture for everyone was the title of the last strategy, spanning 2010-2020. What do you think the public funder’s priorities should be for 2020-2030?

Anyone can join the conversation on the ACE conversation website (you need to create a profile to do so). These are the topics under discussion:

  1. Looking to the future
  2. Role of the sector
  3. The role of public funding in arts, museums and libraries
  4. Funding strategy - 'great' arts, museums and libraries
  5. Arts Council England's role beyond funding

I would also encourage you to read some of the ‘provocations’ – blogs commissioned by ACE from a range of experts to initiate debate. Deborah Bull’s picks up on the findings of last year’s excellent report Towards Cultural Democracy (which is well worth reading in itself), arguing for opportunities for everyone to be creative – exactly what Making Music members provide, week in, week out).

Making Music has also been invited to attend a focus group on the new strategy at ACE. We will argue that there should be a greater emphasis in public funding on enabling community music activity by supporting the infrastructure necessary (spaces, music education, professional musicians and so on); and that ‘participation’ should be about active music making, active promoting, not only about being an audience for programmes presented by others.

The Music Commission

The Music Commission is: 

‘a national enquiry launched by ABRSM to … focus on how to better support learners, practitioners and organisations within the world of music education.’

‘The aim of this survey is to explore and understand current perceptions of the opportunities and barriers…. The findings will contribute to a report produced by The Music Commission at the end of 2018, which will include recommendations for policy makers on the priorities for improving opportunities for learners to progress.’

The quote is from the introduction to ABRSM’s survey which is open until 1 June. There are also other ways in which evidence will be collected - read more about the research design on the music commission website.

Tell us your views

Making Music will be filling in the survey but I would welcome your views so that we can include them when we do so.  Please email barbara@makingmusic.org.uk by Thursday 12 April.

My concern about this research is that while the introduction to the survey does not suggest an age limit, Sir Nicholas Kenyon’s video introduction only mentions young people. I am therefore keen for adults to contribute to the survey, so that ABRSM and others become aware of quite how significant a number of over-18s are engaged in learning music – or not learning music because of barriers or difficulties that may be quite different to those faced by under-18s.

So do engage – and make your musical activity be counted. With your help, we can make that happen.