Sunday, January 01, 2012


When I was a child I was made to learn recorder at school - everyone was. We started in p3 (around six and a half) and had to sit exams in it up to the end of s2 (around 13 and a half). I hated it with a passion and had no aptitude for it at all but it meant I was obliged to learn to read music properly and I imagine, if I had had some talent, a teacher would have picked up on it.

Long before the recession hit, music had been more or less removed from the school curriculum. They still have 'music lessons' but Charlotte describes these as - a class of 25 kids sharing ten glockenspiels, they are taught the basic notes and asked to play a few on the glockenspiel before passing it on to the next child in line. There are no exams, and no one is getting enough tuition to develop an interest in music, if they are not sent by their parents to private music lessons.

Private music lessons are out of the reach of more and more parents as inflation rises, jobs become insecure and house prices fall. They are out of my reach. If one of my children has a special musical talent I will not find out about it and nothing will be done about it...

My grandmother was a pianist, my grandfather and both my parents learnt piano to exam level. Thomas's sister and brother-in-law are both professional musicians. Thomas has a well-known opera singer, violinist and composer in his family.

It's sad to think that many of this generation's talents will simply never be discovered and will spend their lives working in an office or similar, while singing in their kitchen while doing their dishes. We are making this world into a much less interesting place than it needs to be.

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