The importance of music education after Brexit – FE News

For many people, thinking about music education brings up memories of being forced to play the recorder in a school assembly hall, a painful experience for both performer and audience.

This form of delivery is often uninviting and very few people will walk away from it feeling inspired to develop their musical abilities.

Fortunately, music education has become much more open-minded and diverse, encouraging young learners to discover a range of opportunities and career paths, both on stage and behind the scenes.

It’s beneficial for mental well-being, it’s expressive, creative, enjoyable and it helps to reinforce the importance of working collaboratively and collectively.

The music industry is worth £5.8bn to the UK economy

The music industry contributes £5.8 billion (2019) to the UK economy, employs over 200,000 people and is something most of us are exposed to in our daily lives, either through choice or cognitively. Without music, TV, movies and games for example, there wouldn’t be as much emotion, intensity or suspense.

In films such as “James Bond”, originally composed by John Barry, and more recently by David Arnold, musical motifs are used to remind the audience of places and characters. Without John Williams’ score for the 1975 film based on Peter Benchley’s novel “Jaws,” Steven Spielberg’s career might have been over before it even started (if you haven’t seen that movie, you should watch it and if you have seen it, or when you do, watch the opening scene without sound to experience and realize the importance of the score).

With the increasing development of games, more money has been allocated to the production of audio and supporting music, with the score and audio supporting the action and financially attracting composers and accomplished artists. Music synchronization, used mainly for TV identities, advertising and radio jingles, etc., are mini-compositions that grab the attention of the public and link melodically and/or harmonically with a product or message in a very short time. time. These mini compositions come with their challenges but are equally important and lucrative although they rarely last more than a minute. These are all examples of the less thoughtful musical performance and production possibilities open to students and graduates.

And of course there’s the performance – the “star” of the show, and why so many people are starting to think about a career in music to begin with. Musical performance is something people often associate with popular music (or pop music) and contemporary artists in the many genres they listen to, watch and use in an ever-changing multimedia world.

Musicians and singers can often be considered the “stars” of the show, but there are many other opportunities available in music performance productions, such as dancers, backup singers, and session musicians. Not to mention the team of people who run the show, including sound monitoring, lighting engineers, technicians, costume designers and makeup artists.

All of these people are part of the production in one way or another, and each area helps to communicate and engage more effectively with the audience. Business Support also contains various career opportunities including Managers, A&R, Agents, Songwriters, Merchandise, and Marketing. Basically, when a new artist, band, or DJ is signed, a business is created.

What does Brexit have to do with music?

The recent events of Brexit and the pandemic have had a significant impact on all aspects of the music industry, as on all sectors and industries around the world. The Brexit negotiations did not include live music as promised. This means that the suggested approach to allowing UK musicians and affiliates to perform, tour and work freely in Europe was not discussed or represented.

UK Music and many others in the music industry are calling and pushing for Westminster to reopen negotiations on this. It’s not just for UK-based musicians – the UK was commonly used by international artists as a gateway to Europe. The crew and tour organizers would hire transport and equipment for European tours in the UK.

Prior to Brexit all insurance and equipment was regulated by the EU, unfortunately this is no longer the case, so international artists may reconsider whether they continue to use the UK in this way. These restrictions will have a negative impact on the music industry and the creative arts in general, resulting in less revenue for the economy and less career opportunities for artists and those who support them.

While the current pandemic roadmap for live music is very positive (thanks in large part to the Let Music Play: Save Our Summer 2021 campaign), there are still some questions and issues to be raised. More than three-quarters of people working in the UK music industry are self-employed and have had to reconsider their career choices and future due to the pandemic and Brexit.

Additionally, post-Brexit we will lose some technical support, skills and people due to UK work and travel restrictions. To ensure a successful reopening of live music events, we need people with these skills. Having an open concert hall without sound engineers, lighting engineers, or tech support is basically an empty hall.

How can music education make a difference?

Adapt and overcome; the music industry, and the careers within it, are diverse and offer a multitude of opportunities and experiences. While some people have natural talent, most are not born with these skills, and with an ever-changing landscape and technology, we need to nurture and develop young people (and everyone) through solid education and experiences. We need a permanent pool of talent and skills, as well as realistic, engaging and flexible qualifications that focus on developing practical skills to meet industry needs. First and foremost, we must always place students at the center of development and delivery.

To achieve this, all students must have access to musical instruments and music education must be accessible to all, regardless of age, social and cultural demographics. Campaigns such as Better Provision for Music Education, for example, help to highlight the importance of supply.

The music industry and the educational experience, formal or informal, must be protected and not forgotten. After-school clubs (before and after school) and weekend clubs with a professional approach to delivery and development assessment and feedback are a good place to start. Reference to music terminology and theory built into these programs, but not prescribed, and realistic and engaging projects and performances are what will help them thrive. Education must be enjoyable and contextual for successful skill development. Knowledge, understanding and application with ongoing self-assessment and reflection will inform individual progression and development.

Future skills development

As we move forward, students’ knowledge and understanding of the industry will need to include and adapt to the issues and problems caused by Brexit. For some time, the music business has been a key factor in music education. As technology has changed the way people create, publish and promote themselves and their work, entrepreneurial and creative approaches to reaching global audiences using digital marketing and social media, for example , have become essential. To enable this, qualifications must be flexible in delivery and assessment, work in collaboration with industry and put the student experience at the center of every decision.

The UAL Awarding Body (UAL) Music Performance and Production qualifications have been developed to be adaptive and flexible to meet the needs of students, both academically and practically. The development process behind UAL qualifications includes the involvement of industry representatives and the encouragement of creative projects that are realistic and provide the skills needed to succeed, adapt and succeed.

UAL Awarding Body continues to develop industry relationships and recently became the first awarding body to be accepted as a member of the Music Academic Partnership (MAP). This new partnership with UK Music will provide UAL Awarding Body with access to research and resources to inform future qualifications development.

Another key area that needs to be integrated into education and projects is the new requirements for working in Europe after Brexit. Engaging with PRS for Music and the Musicians Union (MU) for information and support material is where students (and existing professionals in the music industry) should be directed.

The Flowchart Guide to Working in Europe published by MU is a visual guide to when and what is needed and contains important information about touring and performing in Europe.

This knowledge and understanding is what people working in the UK music industry today need to ensure they are prepared for change and have the confidence to step into the ‘new’ world.

Andy Sankey, Chief Examiner for Music Performance and Production, University of the Arts London Awarding Body

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