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Archive for March, 2010

The Greater London Authority (GLA) Music Education Programme

Thursday, March 4th, 2010

Mayor’s music education fund

A £100,000 grant was announced this week to seed fund partnerships between local authority music services and orchestras and ensembles in London.  The programme will open in May 2010 and will cover projects in the academic year September 2010 to July 2011.  The aim is to give young people the experience of working with professional musicians, encouraging them to make music in ensembles whilst helping to raise their musical aspirations.  It will also strengthen and deepen the partnership working between London’s music services and the orchestral sector.  The fund will be administered by the GLA in partnership with the Federation of Music Services’ London region, and working closely in the first instance with the Association of British Orchestras (ABO). 

The GLA Music Education Programme steering board will be chaired by Karen Brock, Head of Tower Hamlets Arts and Music Education Service (THAMES).

You can download a copy of the GLA Music Education Strategy here:

Making Music Matter - Music Education Strategy for London 2010-2012

Lessons in music and education from Finland

Wednesday, March 3rd, 2010

by Graeme Smith, Head of Croydon Music and Arts, Treasurer of Federation of Music Services

Member of Music Manifesto Partnership and Advocacy Group


Investment in music and cultural education in Finland and its place as the top performing country for educational attainment of 15 year olds in reading, maths and science is no coincidence.  That was my conclusion after spending two days in Finland visiting schools and music schools, talking to key music educators and studying information about the Finnish education system.


In Finland the key to the link between music and cultural education and educational attainment is that across all Finnish education there is a focus on Finnish culture.  From history to home economics the national curriculum in Finland stresses the importance of studying Finnish culture, other cultures which have influenced Finland, and other cultures from around the world.  The sense of identity this gives to people living in Finland is a major factor in promoting confidence and achievement in a nation which has historically been overshadowed by its much larger neighbours.


In the UK we tend to use the arts to teach about different cultures.  It is time we developed a more positive approach to giving young people a cultural identity.  This will also improve community cohesion in multi cultural Britain.  To enjoy and value other cultures we must first value the culture of our own heritage.  That is true whether a young person’s cultural heritage is from a region in England or from another part of the world or a mixture.


We already know how music and the arts can contribute to young people’s development.  They can learn vital personal, social and educational skills to enable them to achieve.  Through the arts young people can explore challenges and adversities in life, understand them better and take strength from coping with them.  Young artists can make a positive contribution to their communities.  Investing in arts education will build resilience in vulnerable young people, reduce youth crime and disorder and reduce the number of NEET young people (Not in Education, Employment and Training).  Investing in arts education will save money.


This is well understood in Finland.  An international study of arts education in more than sixty countries found that Finland has far more arts education than any other country.  Finnish music schools have more than five times the funding from central government compared to music services in England, and more than eight times the funding from Finnish municipalities than music services receive from local authorities in England.  Yet the overall spending on education in Finland is very similar to here.


Let us use music and cultural education to give our young people their own cultural identity and the confidence, self esteem and aspiration which goes with it.  Let us use music and cultural education to enable our young people to achieve as highly as the highest performing nations in the world.


The full-length article can be downloaded here:  Lessons in music and education from Finland