Learning an instrument can be an extremely rewarding experience; whether you play professionally or just for fun, mastering an instrument is a skill that can open many doors. Learn to Play Day (Saturday 16th March) is a great way of extending the benefits of playing a musical instrument to everyone, across the country. High numbers of music shops will be offering free music lessons for the day and tuition on a range of instruments from guitar to ukulele, drums and piano. While it is a great campaign to get members of the public engaged with music for the day, the real objective is more long term.
The National Plan for Music Education (NPME) highlighted that there was a huge disparity in the quality of music education between schools. One key goal outlined in the Department for Educations plan was the need to increase the opportunities that young people have to learn a musical instrument and perform as part of an ensemble or choir.
The establishment of 122 music education hubs has helped enhance performance opportunities, strengthen links with suppliers and professionals and increase the music Continuing Professional Development (CPD) and training offering. While the support is readily available, the objectives in the NPME will only be fully realised if schools engage with their local hubs and take advantage of what is on offer.
We at Charanga work closely with our hub partners to deliver regular CPD and training sessions for primary teachers so that they feel more confident in using resources such as Charanga Musical School and Charanga Music World and ensure that they have all the advice they need to easily implement and incorporate the programmes into their schools music curriculum.
In the run up to Learn to Play Day, musicians on behalf of the organiser, Music for All, have been visiting schools across the UK and offering keyboard, flute and violin taster lessons, in a bid to encourage children to take up musical instruments. This is just one example of the fantastic work being done by charities, suppliers, schools and of course the music education hubs in delivering quality music education. I hope Learn to Play Day helps promote the benefits of learning an instrument to thousands of people and highlights the importance of engaging children with music early on. Not only is learning an instrument fun and rewarding for young people but it is also critical to our cultural and creative economy.
To find a participating music shop on Learn to Play Day, visit http://www.learntoplayday.com/