WHAT MUSIC EXAMS CAN TEACH US…INTRO (First published on Thursday, 6 August 2009)

Between tomorrow (August 7) and August 18, I shall be writing a daily blog on that perennial August media concern – the examination system. To do this I shall look at the system as it applies to Music, which I think can lead us to important insights.


At the outset potential readers should note various points:

(1) These are not academic articles, complete with qualifications of arguments and footnotes indicating extensive academic research. But they do set out reflections which I have made over decades of involvement with the education system, both in Music, and more widely. They are not mere un-thought out soundings off.

(2) The aim is not, and cannot be to present a detailed blueprint, which will solve all our educational woes. But I do aim to challenge a lot of received wisdom, clichés and ideas arising from motives which are less altruistic than they at first seem. I do this in the hope that my writing may help to clarify and focus on one of the most important questions – how the broad mass of young people are to be educated.

(3) The style is intentionally loose, colloquial and informal. This is because I am not interested in aping the right mannerisms to gain the approval of the respectable world. I hope that the ideas expressed are clear and direct enough to mean that ordinary folk can grasp them and pass them on to their friends and neighbours.

(4) As previously noted, for me the articles are not an invitation to debate with me. People must accept or reject what I say, as is their right. I meanwhile must get on with creating more music.