A proposal to reduce the number of music tutors working in Norfolk has been put on hold, and this is good news for the academic achievement for local children.
Multiple studies have shown that there is a strong correlation between learning music and academic achievement in seemingly unrelated subjects such as Maths, Science and English. A study published in Frontiers in Neuroscience (2018) showed that structured music lessons can significantly improve cognitive abilities such as language-based reasoning and short-term memory. This then has follow-on implications for children’s schoolwork, as demonstrated in another study carried out by the University of British Columbia (2019), that saw improved grades for high school children who also take music courses.
In February this year, it was announced that Norfolk County Council was to hold a consultation over whether to cut the number of music tutors in our schools, a move which was due to come in last month. But thanks in part to a petition set up by Notre Dame student Emily Crook, as well as the focus required by the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic, this consultation was put on hold “until further notice”.
Arts education in our schools is constantly under threat from a drive to focus on more academic subjects. The message, though, is that tutoring children in the arts is more than just a nice thing, it can also help in the very subjects it is under pressure to make way for. We therefore should hope that the Norfolk County Council can be convinced that the way to improve academic results is by continuing to provide music tuition for pupils.
By James Kinsley
Grimmer, DG, 2020, Consultation over music service cuts put on hold due to Coronavirus
University of British Columbia, 2019, Music student do better in school than non-musical peers
Wilson, FW, 2018, Music lessons improve children's cognitive skills and academic performance