A project of ISME’s History Standing Committee
Guido d’Arezzo
Guidonian Hand
ISME Website History Standing Committee IHME Homepage National Profile - UNITED KINGDOM   Landmarks in the History of Music Education in the United Kingdom, 1870 to 2013   by Gordon Cox Introduction  In attempting to provide a succinct overview of the history of music education in United Kingdom my starting point has been the 1870 Education Act which made both free and compulsory education possible, and I conclude in 2013, with the decision by the government to continue to include Music as a subject within the National Curriculum. My focus is on compulsory schooling provided by the state, and does not consider independent schooling.   I have separated the period from 1870-2013 into six sections: 1870-1901 Battle of Rival Systems; 1901-1939 From ‘Singing’ to ‘Music’; 1939-1959 Reconstruction; 1960-1979 From the Turbulent Sixties to the Experimental Seventies; 1980-1999 From the Optimistic Eighties to the Nervous Nineties; 200-2013 Music Education in the New Millennium. My main focus is on the English scene, bearing in mind that England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland have shared in many aspects of a common educational history. However, their educational patterns have never been identical and differences are becoming sharper with the passage of time.      1870-1901 BATTLE OF RIVAL SYSTEMS  The Elementary Education Act of 1870 made both free and compulsory education possible The ensuing three decades  years witnessed the intense rivalry between two systems of teaching children to sing at sight: John Hullah’s adaptation of Wilhem’s fixed-doh method which proved to be impenetrable after the first stage; and John Curwen’s promotion of Tonic Sol-fa based upon the movable doh, which was a method characterised by its proponents as being ‘cheap, easy and true’. Tonic Sol-fa eventually won the day and indeed swept both the country and its Empire. An important feature of these years was the introduction of ‘payment by results’, in which the grant that schools received from the government depended upon the quality of teaching observed by inspectors.   1872 John Hullah (1812-1884), the advocate of the fixed-doh method of singing at sight, appointed as the first government Inspector of Music in Training Colleges. An Announcement that the grant to day schools would be reduced by 1/- per scholar, unless vocal music was taught.   1874 Schools would now receive 1/- per scholar if music was being taught satisfactorily. 1875 Publication of John Curwen’s The Teacher’s Manual of The Tonic Sol-fa Method, and John Hullah’s Time and Tune in the Elementary School.  1882 John Stainer (1840-1901) appointed as ‘Inspector of Music in the Training Colleges and Elementary Schools of the Kingdom’, with  W.G.McNaught (1849-1918) as Assistant Inspector. Both men were strong advocates of Tonic Sol-fa, based on ‘the movable doh’. The New Code required that schools which only taught singing by ear  would receive a lesser grant of 6d per pupil, whilst those who ‘learnt by note’ would receive the full grant.  1892 The monthly magazine for music teachers, The School Music Review, made its first appearance, published by Novello. 1901 The 1901 Code prepared by McNaught contained two parallel courses of study, one for tonic sol-fa, and the other for staff notation. It was envisaged that both would later be drawn together. The Code more generally phased out payment by results.  1901-1939 ‘FROM ‘SINGING’ to ‘MUSIC’  The nomenclature of the subject taught in elementary schools was changed in a government document in 1927, when ‘Music’ replaced ‘Singing’.  Two new areas of work were introduced- Melody Training (in which children were encouraged to make tunes of their own), and Appreciation. This change of name signalled an enlargement of scope and a recognition of the true value of the contribution the subject might make to the curriculum. The introduction of the gramophone and the wireless during these years also had profound implications for the teaching of music.  1901 Arthur Somervell  (1863-1937) appointed as Inspector in Music to the Board of Education. He placed a greater emphasis upon the imagination, and on the inter-relationships between ‘the rhythmic arts’.   1906 Publication of The National Song Book edited by C.V.Stanford. Its popularity was widespread. It was estimated that by 1917 there was hardly a school in the country which did not possess a copy. 1915 The Dalcroze Society formed to promote the unity of music and rhythmic movement.  1917 The School Certificate introduced in 1917 with music at first given only optional status. 1922 Walford Davies’s ‘Melody Lectures’, the first set of teaching gramophone records, issued by HMV. 1924  Walford Davies’s first BBC school broadcast on music   1927 The subject formerly called ‘Singing’ becomes ‘Music’ in the school curriculum. 1932 The Pipers’ Guild founded by Margaret James in order to encourage children to make, decorate and play their instruments.  1933 ‘Recent developments in school music’ was a government report which listed a wide range of activities  currently found in schools, including:  appreciation of music, community singing, country dancing, festivals, the gramophone, the school orchestra, the percussion band, pianoforte classes, pipe making and playing, rhythmic work and wireless lessons.  1937 The Bow-Craft Guild established to develop string teaching. Its work later focused upon the formation of junior orchestras.  1938 Schools Music Association founded 1939 The Percussion Band Association established, in order to encourage the growth of percussion bands in which children played their own parts on drums, tambourines and triangles often accompanied by the teacher at the piano.  1939-1959 RECONSTRUCTION  The Education Act of 1944 established a tripartite scheme for secondary schools, notably grammar, technical and modern schools. With post-war reconstruction came the formation of prestigious national youth orchestras and brass bands. Orchestral concerts for children became popular, and instrumental teaching in schools gained a higher profile. The founding of the National Association of Music Advisers helped in this regard. The ‘Music in Schools’ publication by the Board of Education recommended that nursery and infant children should be encouraged to experiment with sounds, and that creative work was possible. The appointment of the composer Peter Maxwell-Davies as a school music teacher marked the beginning of a relationship between music in schools and the musical revolution that was taking place through the work of Cage, Boulez and Stockhausen   1944  Novello relaunch the bi-monthly music teacher’s magazine Music in Schools, under its new title, Music in Education. 1945 The National Youth Orchestra of Wales founded. Ernest Read’s Orchestral Concerts for Schools begin. 1946 Instruments of the Orchestra, a production of the National Film Unit, is first shown. It was based upon Benjamin Britten’s ‘Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra’ which was to become a staple part of music appreciation classes.  1947 The National Youth Orchestra formed. National Association of Music Advisers established 1949 The Musical Education of the Under-Twelves (MEUT) launched as a forum for primary music specialists. 1951 The General Certificate of Education (GCE) introduced replacing the School Certificate, although music still remained a minority subject within it. 1952 The National Youth Brass Band formed 1954 Robert Mayer’s ‘Youth and Music’ concerts begin 1956 Music in Schools published by the Ministry of Education  1958 Orff-Schulwerk introduced into British schools 1959 Peter Maxwell-Davies appointed music teacher at Cirencester Grammar School.   1960-1979 FROM THE TURBULENT  SIXTIES TO THE EXPERIMENTAL SEVENTIES  A fundamental reorganisation of secondary education took place during these years, with Local Education Authorities instructed to make plans for comprehensive reorganisation i.e. all-ability secondary schools. Musically these two decades witnessed considerable changes to the music curriculum, reflecting the growing influence of popular music amongst the young, as well as encouraging musical creativity in the classroom.  1965 The National Jazz Youth Orchestra founded. The Certificate of Secondary Education (CSE) introduced, intended  initially for lower ability children, it effected a significantly liberalising influence on the school music curriculum.  1967 Publication of the Plowden Report, Children and their Primary Schools in which music teaching was castigated for its reliance on mass instruction, over-direction by the teacher and a lack of any notion of progression. 1968 In Popular Music and the Teacher, Ketih Swanwick developed an aesthetic basis for exploring the educational possibilities of popular musical genres.   1969 According to the Schools Council Report, Enquiry One, most young school leavers judged school music to be irrelevant to their needs.   1970  Schools Council research project ,‘ Music Education of Young Children’,   directed by Arnold Bentley (University of Reading). It focused upon equipping classroom teachers in primary schools to teach the basics of musical literacy. Sound and Silence: Classroom Projects in Creative Music by John Paynter and Peter Aston was published, and became one of the most influential books dealing with classroom music. 1972 Founding of the Society for Research in the Psychology of Music and Music Education (SRPMME) 1973 Schools Council research project,‘Music in the Secondary School Curriculum’ directed by John Paynter (University of York). It was child- centred, encouraging experiment, creativity and engagement with contemporary music. 1975 The United Kingdom Council for Music Education and Training (UCKMET) set up as the main umbrella organisation for music educators. It was superseded by the Music Education Council (MEC)   1976 Keith Swanwick appointed as the first professor of music education, at the Institute of Education, University of London 1979 In A Basis for Music Education Keith Swanwick proposed a systematic  schema for music education incorporating Composition, Literature Studies , Audition, Skill Acquisition and Performance.   1980-1999 FROM THE OPTIMISTIC EIGHTIES TO THE NERVOUS NINETIES  The Great Education Reform Bill of 1987proposed a new national curriculum for pupils in state schools aged 5-16. In 1992 the Office for Standards in Education (Ofsted) was formed to carry out detailed inspections of schools. On the one hand music in schools seemed to have a secure place in the new National Curriculum, but on the other hand instrumental teaching suffered considerable setbacks.     1980. The General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE) was announced to replace the two 16+ examinations- the GCE and the CSE.  Musically the new examination promised an emphasis in music on active, participatory and pupil-centred learning. In Scotland there was a parallel development in the so-called Standard Grade.  1981 A High Court ruling stated that the local education authority could not charge for individual instrumental tuition which formed part of the school curriculum.  1982 Publication of Vulliamy and Lee’s book, Pop, Rock and Ethnic Music In Schools, a fairly late recognition of Britain as a multi-cultural nation. 1984 The first issue of the British Journal of Music Education appeared under the joint editorship of John Paynter and Keith Swanwick. 1990 A national conference with the plea to ‘Save Instrumental Teaching’ 1992 Music established as a foundation subject in the National Curriculum, compulsory for children between the ages of 5-14.   1996  The Federation of Music Services launched partly in reaction to the disbanding of several music services, and also the National Association of Music Educators (NAME) representing school music teachers. 1998 ‘Music for the Millennium’, a campaign mounted by the influential weekly Times Educational Supplement  to save music in schools.  1999 The Youth Music Trust set up to provide high-quality and diverse music-making opportunities for young people from  0-18 , living in areas of social and economic need.  Music Education Research launched as an academic journal, edited by Sarah Hennessy (University of Exeter)   2000-2013 MUSIC EDUCATION IN THE NEW MILLENNIUM  Since the new Millennium, the school system has been deregulated, with the advent of Academies in 2000, and so-called Free schools in 2011. Both became free of local authority control, and also could move away from the prescriptions of the National Curriculum, and could employ teachers without a training qualification. The government’s National Plan for Music Education (2011) includes: the development of ‘hubs’ to facilitate partnerships between music services, schools and the music profession; an ambition for every child to learn a musical instrument; and improving the qualifications of those concerned with music education. Finally, it will be evident that the Venezuelan El Sistema is the inspiration behind several projects set up in England and Scotland.  2003 Launch of Musical Futures aiming to devise new and imaginative ways of engaging young people in music making. 2004 The Music Manifesto promised a new ‘joined up’ policy for music education, bringing with it a greater level of collaboration between various interest groups. The  Wider Opportunities Scheme rolled out to fulfill the government pledge that all pupils in primary schools would have the opportunity to learn a musical instrument. 2007 The National Singing Programme ‘Sing Up’ launched, with the aim to have every child in primary education singing. 2008 Sistema Sotland established 2009  In Harmony projects funded in England based upon the principles of El Sistema 2011 Government publishes ‘The Importance of Music: A National Plan for Music’, based upon the Henley Review of Music Education.  2012 Introduction of new Music Education ‘Hubs’ to co-ordinate local provision. 2013 Music retained in the new National Curriculum.  Formation of The UK Association for Music Education: Music Mark,  bringing together the National Association of Music Educators and the Federation of Music Services, to act as the country’s principal music subject association. 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