In a week where we celebrate the opening of Royal High’s new Steinway Music School, how serendipitous to read about the importance of music and diversity as well as the research that suggests that learning a musical instrument aids academic success.
In my previous school we had a hunch, subsequently borne out, that those students who committed to high-level sports were also those with public exam results beyond expectations. It is interesting, then, to read that Reigate Grammar School has made the same connection but this time between music and results.
They looked at the link between learning a musical instrument and academic success in order to highlight the importance of music education at a time when financial cuts and paucity of time have made music and the arts most vulnerable. Reigate found that students who learned a musical instrument achieved better results in public exams than their non-musician peers. Of course, there are many influencing factors but my years of working in schools confirm, albeit with limited empirical evidence, that pupils who are passionate about an extra-curricular activity often transfer that discipline, dedication and determination to their studies.
In the same week, Young Musician of the Year cellist Sheku Kanneh-Mason, has called for greater investment in early-stage music education to tackle a lack of diversity in classical music. He credits his parents and the fact that his school supported the time he needed to dedicate to music for his success. How fortunate are we, then, to have a trained musician, Claire Lilley, leading our Prep School?
So, as we enter the darkest months before the clocks and seasons turn once more, can I encourage more music in all our lives? With Valentine’s Day looming, music may not prove to be Orsino’s ‘food of love’ for all of us, but it certainly cheers the soul and lifts our spirits regardless of all the other bonuses now identified.
Mrs Kate Reynolds