Dr Alison Daubney, Research Fellow and Music Teacher Trainer, University of Sussex
What the National Plan for Music Education has done is thrown down the gauntlet to the music education community to reconsider the ways in which music education can be made more meaningful and connect with young people's lives in and out of school.
It is crystal clear that this government recognises the value which an excellent music education can contribute young people’s development. The plan gives a sense of understanding of the breadth of music education and, notably, credence to the principle laid down by Paynter and colleagues that music in school is the central cog from which other opportunities develop. The plan recognises routes for excellence and highlights the needs of the marginalised and vulnerable.
However, the challenge facing music education is to provide an inspiring and worthwhile experience for all in order to deliver the excellent aspirations of this document. This is the opportunity for us to work together, using our reflections of the past to shape our offer for the future. We need to take risks, promote pedagogic understanding and workforce development and ensure sustainability. A tall order in times of economic hardship but also, as Gavin Stride pointed out at the 2011 FMS conference, 'an opportunity for real change'.