My parents want me to study science but I can’t imagine my life without studying music


My response to the Musical Futures #mufuchat topic this week is going to be short because I’m busy. In fact I’m not just busy, every second of every day is spent working, thinking about work or trying to work out when on earth I will be able to get the work done. So when this week I was approached by a couple of students concerned that taking their studies of music further would be a ‘soft’ option it really got me thinking about various aspects of this debate. Firstly what is ‘rigour’ anyway? And secondly, how easy is it to identify the rigour in informal music learning compared to more formal approaches? Finally, should we be fighting harder to raise the perception of music with students and more importantly their parents?

What career can you get by studying music miss? In the options assembly, music was the only subject that didn’t make this clear

When I was at university I remember meeting up with friends, invariably they would be having “an essay crisis”. In contrast to the one essay they had to write per week, I would be frantically completing harmony exercises, composing, analysing music and researching one or two essays and all of this on top of the practice that all musicians do on their instrument(s) all the time because that’s what musicians do. I have friends who studied music now following all kinds of careers. Some teach, but others went into the corporate worlds, one is an accountant, one a doctor, another a barrister. Many are performing professionally. My answer to the student quoted above-music can take you everywhere. This article backs this up.

Now when I plan my lessons for the week I’m teaching students all of these different things at different levels in different ways, creating new resources (because there are no textbooks in music) and responding to students’ creative needs as well as finding ways to jump through all the hoops that are thrown against us at every turn in the teaching profession. Then there’s the planning of repertoire, arranging and copying parts, sorting rehearsal schedules for all the extra curricular music that enriches school life and of course supporting my colleague with the instrumental tuition system (currently 70 hours per week in our school) happening alongside the classroom provision.

Well, it all feels pretty ‘rigorous’ to me. More soon.