Music Manifesto

– in the House of Lords at 7:25 pm on 16 November 2005.

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Photo of Lord Harrison Lord Harrison Labour 7:25, 16 November 2005

rose to ask Her Majesty's Government what further action they will take to implement the 2004 music manifesto, aimed at delivering musical opportunities for young people.

My Lords, I was lucky. I was taught at school to sing, to dance, to play the cello, and so developed a deep and abiding love of music. I profited from inspiring music teachers, including Mr—later Professor—J F Paynter, whose school production of "Dido and Aeneas" included me, warbling in the alto register and improbably dressed as one of Dido's huntresses. Even today—at bus stops, bowling greens and in the bath—I intone, now with basso profundo, to those in astonished earshot tunes from Purcell's baroque masterpiece. Later, as a student, with a guitar, I hitch-hiked on the Continent and developed an enduring respect for Europe's history, culture, politics and music. Indeed, language and music were my ever-handy passports.

I was one of the lucky few, but what of young people today? Do they enjoy the same flying start that I had? Publication of the music manifesto and its recent follow up—report No. 1—provide an opportunity to assess whether its five stated aims and three proposed core work programmes will catch the ear of today's young.

At the outset, may I thank all those who will be speaking today, so many of whom have been intimately involved with the manifesto, and the Minister, who has announced even this morning the £2 million to be made available to the Pathfinder's programme of the music manifesto? I congratulate the Government's bold initiative in bringing together such disparate stakeholders, which has been a stunning success. The 60 original signatories have already risen to an impressive army of 360. That my remarks today will concentrate on the unfinished agenda of the manifesto in no way detracts from its auspicious start and my admiration for it.

To most of us, music is indeed a second mother tongue. As such, it is best learnt early. Indeed, we are told that the first organ to develop fully in the womb is the ear. But, in today's general art scene, it is in the pre-school years that the growing child is least well served, including in respect of music appreciation. Only one in five of our established arts organisations makes any kind of provision for under-fives. This cannot be right.

As for primary and secondary school music provision, too many music lessons take place in classes unfit for purpose. Music is deemed a peripheral subject and is consigned, inappropriately, to the schools' peripheral areas. The Government's active PFI building programme has made great strides, but more needs to be done to locate music in its proper teaching environment and to overcome the practical problems with which music staff deal on a daily basis?

On a more optimistic note, can the Minister elaborate on the opportunities for children's formal and informal music education if the proposed eight-to-six school day is indeed introduced? Will my noble friend also tackle head on the fears that any proposal to diminish the role of LEAs in school music provision will have, necessarily co-ordinated on an authority-wide basis.

On a brighter note, will the Minister report on the successful gold pilot schemes in 13 authorities in the Wider Opportunities initiative promoting first access to music? Will this scheme be made available to other LEAs, and if so, when? With regard to the central issue of financing the music manifesto, will my noble friend spell out transparently what resources the Government believe are needed to fulfil the aims of the manifesto, and how much new money has been set aside for these purposes?

How do the Government rebut the rebuke of authorities such as Rochdale, which underscore the fact that the recent welcome extra provision of £10,000 for LEAs scarcely allows for the appointment of half a music teacher? Nor does this respond to the QCA's complaint that some authorities set aside fewer than 10 minutes of their timetable for music education. Is the lack of finance the root cause of our failure to implement David Blunkett's 2001 pledge later in the White Paper to provide every primary school child with access to instrumental tuition? Will my noble friend report on Scotland, where I understand the Scottish Executive have pledged £17.5 million to fulfil that very same purpose by 2006?

The mention of teaching leads me to music teachers, the sine qua non of music education. Interestingly, music teachers are often those who most embody the ideal of the dedicated and devoted schoolteacher, despite the besetting challenges of teaching music in many of our schools. Indeed, like a headteacher, the enthusiastic music teacher has the power to transform music into the most vibrant and most loved subject in the whole school—so much so that I characterise music as the beneficial Trojan horse of school education, in its capacity to inspire learning in the sometimes reluctant child. Heads should cherish and deploy those music teachers, because of their power to persuade and cajole the growing pupil in a way that eludes teachers in other disciplines.

What more can the Government do to enhance the role, career path, pay and conditions of music teachers, and to aid and abet non-specialists assigned to music-teaching tasks? If a core task of the music manifesto is indeed to recruit a vibrant workforce, can we afford to let formal teaching qualifications stand in the way of recruiting such music leaders? Will my noble friend comment on the exclusion from schools of those holding only music college teaching diplomas? What more could be done to entice into our schools those outside who possess considerable musical skills? Often retired or underemployed, they would willingly contribute to teaching if encouraged to pass on the baton of their musical knowledge. This silent army should be brought in to sing.

Will the Minister also look at the postcode lottery of music tuition fees? Worcestershire, for example, charges £36 an hour, compared to neighbouring Herefordshire's £22. Are these not themselves a function of even greater disparities in the general funding of music in schools? Sheffield's budget of £1.15 per pupil looks very pale next to Manchester's munificent £13.75.

As the music manifesto readily recognises, formal music education must be enhanced and complemented by initiatives for informal learning. I worry here too, though. I note, for instance, the closure of Reading University's music department; the £30 million shortfall accrued by several London orchestras; the decline of church music; and, dear to my heart, the loss of music and collections of music scores from our public libraries.

This leads me on to the primacy of classical music as the bedrock of musical tradition. It holds a special, perhaps unique, place in our affections, but, as one who also celebrates many other forms of music, I suggest the dispute is sometimes rather sterile. Most forms of music have their own disciplines, and any one form may act as a window of perception through which the growing child enters the many mansions of music.

In conclusion, I ask my noble friend to ensure that the music manifesto applies throughout Britain, in rural towns and areas as much as in metropolitan areas. I also ask him whether he is satisfied that policy-making for the future is grounded in enough facts and figures. Too often we rely on anecdote, and I hope he will feel it within his brief to be able to ask for research to be done in this area. In this way we can build upon what has been presented to us with the manifesto, whose bold and promising chords we celebrate in your Lordships' House tonight.

Photo of Lord Moser Lord Moser Crossbench 7:36, 16 November 2005

My Lords, I thank the noble Lord, Lord Harrison, for giving us this all-too-rare opportunity to talk about the arts, let alone music. The tone of my remarks will be set by the German philosopher Nietzsche, who famously said—and I translate—"Life without music is a mistake". This is one mistake I have not made in my own life.

In our own musical scene there is now much to be proud of, but not time to talk about. For a long time the worry has been music education, so I warmly welcome the music manifesto. At the beginning there was some concern about whether it was just words, but it has turned out to be much more than that, and to be part of what the Government have achieved to improve the situation—which the noble Baroness, Lady Morris, has had so much responsibility for. The new report from the Manifesto Champion, Marc Jaffrey, is extremely impressive; full of passion, vision and facts. It does not skip facing the main issues.

I want to remark on a particular project, in which I must declare an interest as its chairman, that points in exactly the same direction as the manifesto: the Paul Hamlyn Foundation project called Musical Futures. This is based on three pathfinder action research projects in Leeds, Nottingham and Hertfordshire, all aimed at finding innovative ways of widening opportunities for children ages between 11 and 19, within and outside schools. We are creating models, we hope, that can be followed throughout the country. I have great hope that this project, which is in conjunction with Youth Music, will make a major contribution.

In welcoming the music manifesto, especially the way it will change public interest in, and attitudes towards, music and music education, I shall, however, in this short speech, pick out the three priority areas on which I hope the manifesto will lead to government decisions. The noble Lord has already touched on these.

Without doubt, the top priority is to improve the teaching of music in primary and secondary schools. It is not acceptable that some teachers who teach music cannot read music; nor that we are losing recruitment, even in the primary sector. Music teaching has to be improved, both in numbers and quality.

Secondly, I refer to the situation in secondary schools. Primary schools have improved considerably in recent years in this regard, thanks partly to the Government. However, in secondary schools the situation remains fairly dire. Progress has been made in a number of schools and there are always good examples but it is not acceptable that only 8 per cent of children continue to study music after the age of 14 when compulsory music tuition ends. That is a sad reflection on the scene.

I hope above all that the music manifesto, which is such a brave innovation on the Government's part, and is now well run by Marc Jaffrey, will not only be backed as a manifesto but that the Government will respond to the challenges that they have stressed. To my mind the top priorities to be tackled are teaching, secondary schools and the worry regarding local music services, on which much depends. I worry about the future of those services in view of what is going to happen to local authorities following the publication of the White Paper.

In conclusion, the manifesto constitutes a campaign and is to be welcomed as such. All credit is due to the Government for launching and backing it. However, its real success will depend not only on whether it persuades the music world, comprising schools, conservatoires, orchestras and so on, to do even better but also on whether it persuades itself to do better. The manifesto is no substitute for taking brave and generous decisions on education, to which it points, and on the arts. There is much to worry about in the arts. There is still much underfunding, cuts in the Arts Council's grant and the latest, potentially crippling threat to orchestras if the Treasury's national insurance measure is imposed. In welcoming the Government's initiative in the form of the manifesto, we must remind all departments, including the Treasury, that a campaign is a means to an end and that the end is a strong and, I hope, generous government decision regarding the arts, including music.

Photo of Baroness McIntosh of Hudnall Baroness McIntosh of Hudnall Labour 7:42, 16 November 2005

My Lords, first, I thank my noble friend Lord Harrison for introducing this debate on a very important subject. He puts some of us to shame with the assiduous way in which he pursues such issues. I should also declare an interest as a trustee of several organisations with music at their heart, in particular the Roundhouse, to which I think my noble friend the Minister may refer later, as it is one of the partners in the new Music Manifesto Pathfinders Programme which I believe he launched earlier today. We look forward to hearing more about that.

I made my maiden speech in your Lordships' House almost exactly six years ago and I spoke on that occasion about my own early education, and how fortunate I had been in attending a school—a state-funded village school—where all the arts, and especially music, were a natural part of our daily lives. As a result, although I am a less than wholly competent musician, I have a lifelong—so far anyway—enthusiasm for music which was germinated in me at a very early stage, and I thank God, and whoever was responsible for providing it, every day.

By the time my own children were growing up, the picture had changed. Music had slipped to the status of an "extra". Tuition in instrumental playing was either unavailable or provided only at very considerable expense and many children of my children's generation went through their whole school lives never making more than the most rudimentary acquaintance with an art form that was around them every day in shops, their homes, clubs and on radio and television. It is there, around us. However, they did not know anything about it other than whether they liked it or not, which is not a bad thing to know but it is not the whole story. That seems to me to have been a betrayal of a whole generation. Therefore, it is particularly gratifying to me to see that, finally, a combination of political commitment to the value of music education and the investment of serious money has begun to make a real difference. I absolutely take the point made by both previous speakers that resources are a serious issue, but none the less money has been made available. The introduction of the music manifesto was a really significant statement of intent from the Government, but delivery is always the tough bit. The report we are discussing shows that some progress has been made in the first year, and points the way forward to specific developments in the next phase of activity. I want to concentrate on one initiative that is particularly close to my heart.

Your Lordships have already heard the noble Lord, Lord Moser, mention the organisation Youth Music, which is a delegate distributor of an annual £10 million of lottery funds. It aims to benefit children and young people with least access to musical opportunity—more than 1 million have so far been involved—mainly up to the age of 18, but sometimes beyond. Most of its activities take place outside school hours—which, as the report points out, is often crucial in getting young people to engage with musical activities. Youth Music is one of the most important of the many organisations through which the pledges in the Music Manifesto are being made good. Youth Music had already declared singing as one of its own priorities over the next five years because, as it points out, singing is the most easily accessible medium for music making. It can involve large numbers, it is a support for instrumental learning, it is a powerful means of expression and it is cheap. Youth Music has undertaken to lead work on the development of singing as one of the three new priority strands of work arising from the manifesto.

Everyone can sing and pretty much everyone does. Even those who swear they are tone deaf—a dubious diagnosis in my view—will still venture a few notes in the bath or will sing along with the radio. Singing is something children do naturally from an early age, but they must have encouragement and support if they are to get real benefit and long-lasting enjoyment from it. They need confident, inspiring leaders; they need a stimulating and varied repertoire; and they need the opportunity to sing in a variety of styles, as my noble friend Lord Harrison pointed out. Boys, especially, need to be encouraged to keep on singing beyond the point when their voices break and not to see it as something "wussy" that they should not be doing. I look at the noble Baroness, Lady Walmsley, who chairs the parliament choir when I say that boys especially need to carry on singing if they are tenors.

Grass roots participation by children and young people in communities as part of our upcoming Olympic celebrations is one of the ways in which we hope that more children and young people will become involved in music in the future. When my noble friend replies to the debate I hope he will assure us that Youth Music's resources, along with all the other organisations that need resources to deliver the manifesto commitments, will be maintained at least at their current value—I stress value rather than cash—so that the splendid work it is doing can be sustained.

Will my noble friend also say something about what more the Government can do to encourage those responsible for training young musicians to extend the opportunities for students to contribute as broadly as possible to music education, and to see it as a vital extension to their range of skills rather than an admission of defeat? Much good work is already going on in colleges and conservatoires but more is necessary. I am sure that other noble Lords will touch on that point.

I finish by commending to your Lordships the excellent piece in the report by the distinguished composer, Howard Goodall. I intended to quote from it at length but I do not have time. I will just say that he talks about the things which are important to have to get people to engage with music. One of them is enthusiasm. One of the things that is no good at all in terms of getting people to engage with music is indifference. For too long music was regarded with indifference by politicians. At last we have a Government who have put music firmly on the agenda. I salute that commitment. Long may it continue. I apologise for going over my time.

Photo of The Bishop of Worcester The Bishop of Worcester Bishop 7:49, 16 November 2005

My Lords, I do not know whether I correctly interpret the look on the face of the noble Baroness on the Government Front Bench but I believe that she is concerned about the length of our speeches. It was very kind of her not to make that point strongly before a cleric rose to speak. I am grateful for that.

I thank the noble Lord, Lord Harrison, not only for initiating the debate but for delivering a speech of which my only criticism was that he did not sing it, which would have been much more to the point.

At the risk of saying something that will be recognised by one of the noble Baronesses on the Benches opposite as having been said by me before in a different setting, the sight of young people attentive to their music, to their conductor and to the common activity of playing is inspiring in a way that almost nothing else is. We must be honest: we have been extremely short-sighted during a mechanistic period of education, in which the national curriculum, a concern with vocational education, making people more marketable and so on led to a downgrading of an area of learning, of education and of natural activity that, with hindsight, should have been given much greater importance.

It is not even sensible, if economics and employability are our main concerns, because music is a very substantial part of our economic life. It is not even clever if we had been concerned to stop young people gravitating towards anti-social activity, because there is nothing calculated to draw them together in a focused manner more than music. It is not very clever to have reached a position where young people were spending more on music than on almost anything else, while liking school music least of all. I salute those who have come together with the music manifesto and with all that has followed from it in moving things on.

If I may do something, which, if this were not the subject of the debate, I would call blowing my own trumpet—but I shall not—I would say that the Churches and the faith communities have had a real influence in this area down the centuries. There is nothing more important in relation to faith communities other than the Christian one that they should nourish and be put in touch with the musical inheritance that is basic to their culture.

Regarding the balance and priorities of the curriculum, one of the difficulties that Church music faces is that, as we have experienced in Worcester recently, it is extremely difficult to encourage state schools to make children available for the time that it takes to train as choristers. You will not do that unless you change people's sense of the priority of music in the curriculum. That could be a significant fruit of this manifesto.

Funding underlies much of what has been said. I am glad about any money that is made available for music. I salute it. I am delighted. But we must be clear that there has been a massive withdrawal of funds from this area—that is the real problem: the big money comes from prioritising music education in the budgets of schools. If schools are not in a position to do that due to other pressures on the curriculum, they will not do it. And if they do not do it, making bits and pieces of other money available will never compensate for the large tranche of money that has been withdrawn.

So I salute the manifesto. I salute the speech with which this debate began, and the speeches that have followed. I would like the noble Lord, Lord Harrison, to know that I heard what he said about Worcestershire and I shall pursue it. One can learn about local things in debates such as this. I am glad that we are having this debate and I salute the Government's part in it, but I want the manifesto to be as widely owned and as well funded as possible. It gives young people a sense of their own self-transcendence and the possibility of achieving something by working with others in a close and focused activity that they have deep in their bones anyway.

Photo of Baroness Morris of Yardley Baroness Morris of Yardley Labour 7:54, 16 November 2005

My Lords, I, too, congratulate my noble friend Lord Harrison on securing this debate. It gives us a good opportunity to discuss an important issue. I declare two interests: first, I, too, am a trustee of the Hamlyn Foundation, and, secondly, I am a member of the board of the Performing Rights Society. I congratulate all those who have worked to bring the music manifesto to life and my good friend David Milliband, who as Minister for school standards, originated this, drove this through and collected around him a band—if I may use that term—of active and good people, who have turned his idea into a reality.

People have talked about the importance of music and we all know about the need to be fulfilled, what music does to us as people and what it is like to be without music. I wish to add two further points. We live in a time of a real creative revolution. We have been through the industrial revolution; we have been through the technological revolution. This skill set will drive our nation, both its economy, in terms of the £5 billion music industry, and the skills that we will need to build the type of society that we want—our creativity—in a way that has never happened before. We should not lose sight of the role of music in developing those creative skills that will be good for people as they become adults, not just in continuing their love of music, but in being able to contribute to wider society.

I always felt strange when I visited schools when I held previous posts. Two things happened. I knew the reality of music education in schools. I knew that we had been through a bleak time. I knew that there was too little money. I knew that children were not spending enough time on this important area of the curriculum. But what I saw in many schools was the finest music that I had ever seen. I also knew that it was better music than that which existed when I was a teacher and far better than when I was a pupil. I used to worry that, in the fully justified national angst about the lack of good quality music education right across the schools sector, at that time we did not give sufficient credit to the teachers who kept the flame burning during those dark days and who delivered a quality of music education and performance, throughout all age ranges, that they and we have a right to be proud of. Somehow, the celebration of that good work tended to be lost.

I suspect that this is one of our first debates where we have been able to talk about steps having been taken along the road. We must assume a careful balance between not being complacent—in no way are we nearly there and the place of music in schools is not yet secure—nor is giving credit to and recognising the progress that has been made. Unless we recognise that progress, we will fear that we cannot achieve it. We need to give the system pats on the back.

I pay tribute to the way that the music manifesto has been brought about, particularly to Mark Jaffray, whose arrival on the scene gave it a real push. I know that he is committed to it; he drives it forward and I have every confidence that under his leadership it will go from strength to strength. I also picked out the section of the manifesto written by Howard Goodall. It was exceptional and I was nearly in tears. Some of his work to promote music is excellent.

The way that the music manifesto is being implemented should not be seen as second best because we do not have the skills in schools to teach in the traditional way. This is the important point: the manifesto represents a better way of teaching music. It might have come about because we do not have sufficient trained teachers or sufficient music rooms in schools, but by using outside skills and musicians, one only has to observe what the LSO and youth music are doing to know that schools could not possibly do it as well as that. I hope that the Minister will not see the music manifesto just as a way of getting schools to teach music more effectively, but as being the way of delivering music.

I shall finish with a series of challenges—because challenges are there. First, music is not yet secure in the school curriculum. Statistics in the manifesto show that 10 per cent of primary schools give priority to music at key stage 1 when designing their curriculum. Can you imagine the national outcry if those statistics related to literacy, numeracy, humanities, science or anything else? We will know that we have succeeded when the statistics about the importance of music in the curriculum and the actions that teachers take are as great as they are about the core subjects of literacy, numeracy and science.

My last point is very much one for the Minister. If you give schools too much freedom it is subjects such as music that some schools will drop.

One of the great worries I have about the White Paper, involving the freedom that is being given to schools, what they spend and the curriculum they teach, is that at the very time that we are making huge progress in establishing music in our schools and in giving all our children opportunity, we do not want to risk it by giving schools the option of dropping it. I would be grateful if the Minister might refer to that. Overall, this is a time of celebration, it is a joyous time. At last we can have a debate in this House on music education in schools and actually celebrate success as well as indicating further areas for progress.

Photo of Lord Armstrong of Ilminster Lord Armstrong of Ilminster Crossbench 8:02, 16 November 2005

My Lords, I would like to thank the noble Lord, Lord Harrison, most warmly for giving us the opportunity to have this debate this evening. I must only apologise to him that I was not able to be here at the very beginning because of a speaking engagement outside which went on—through no fault of my own—longer than I had expected. It is very good to have this opportunity to debate the manifesto.

When the manifesto first came out there were some people who thought that it was long on imaginative ideas and ambitious aspirations but notably short on whether, when and to what extent the Government's money would be where their mouth was. We have seen over the time since the manifesto was introduced that the funding worries are being relieved in some quarters. I hope that that progress will continue in the future.

I very much agree with my noble friend Lord Moser that there is this great problem about music education in primary schools and a notable shortage of qualified music teachers. That is not a shortage which will quickly or easily be remedied but I would commend to the Minister the work of the Voices Foundation which is there to promote music and in particular singing in primary schools and has courses for teachers who are not qualified music teachers to equip them more fully to give their young pupils the kind of lead in music and singing that they need to have.

The importance of music—and in particular of singing—for the young is not merely for their own delectation or improvement. We have seen, for instance in the work that takes place in Bristol, how a group of young people—mostly tearaways outside the school—can find, through the introduction to music and in singing together, a way in which their individual positive contribution can be merged into a communal effort. Music has a social value as well as a musical value.

The manifesto states:

"We are committed to broadening the range and skills of teachers . . . artists and other adults so that they are able to work more effectively as music leaders in schools."

The Royal Northern College of Music, of which I have for one more week the honour to be the chairman of the board of governors, has been successful in winning its bid for a grant as a centre of excellence for teaching and learning. We are using that grant—which will continue for at least five years—to help the students at the college to go out into secondary schools in and around Manchester and gain experience in teaching young people and so we hope equip them the better to enter the profession if that is what they eventually decide to do. That has been a very notable and successful initiative and I warmly commend it and express our gratitude to the Government and to HEFCE for bringing it about.

I finish by echoing what has been said about the value of music and music education. I have been singing all my life, coming as I do from a musical household and a musical family. I am afraid that I have been singing tenor for the last 65 years if the noble Baroness, Lady McIntosh, will allow me to mention that. I therefore speak from first-hand experience of the importance that music—and particularly singing—has had in my life, and I believe can have in the life of every young person in this country. As William Byrd said,

"Since singing is so good a thing, I wish all men would learn to sing".

Photo of Baroness Walmsley Baroness Walmsley Spokesperson in the Lords (Children), Education & Skills 8:06, 16 November 2005

My Lords, I too thank the noble Lord, Lord Harrison, for instigating this debate and very much regret that he has heretofore been hiding his light under a bushel. He clearly has a very powerful and resonant voice and I warn him that I shall be seeing him afterwards to recruit him—and the noble Lord, Lord Armstrong, who says that he is a tenor—to the Parliamentary Choir.

I know this subject is close to the Minister's heart. I was recently shown a cutting from the Financial Times from October 1991 of an article by one Andrew Adonis with the headline:

"School Music May Become the Sound of Silence".

It focused on the shortage of music teachers at that time. It must distress the Minister to know that in the last year the Government only filled 630 of the 770 available music places on Initial Teacher Training, which was below the 660 recruited last year and the lowest figure since 2000–01. I understand the Government have never hit their target for recruiting music student teachers since they came to office.

One has to ask why that is when we have such a large number of highly talented young people in this country. I also know from my contact with the Southbank Sinfonia that one of the things the members of the orchestra find most rewarding during their year with the organisation is the outreach work they do with children in schools. For those who do not know, the Southbank Sinfonia is the Parliament Choir's resident orchestra but it is much more than that. It is a charity which gives young musicians straight out of music college 10 months' experience of a very varied programme with a fully fledged orchestra to give them the sort of experience they need to make a living in the highly competitive world of professional music. I hope that some of them will decide to go away and qualify as music teachers as a first choice after their 10 months with the orchestra. I declare an interest as a supporter of the orchestra, and my husband, my noble friend Lord Thomas of Gresford, is the chairman of its development committee.

The orchestra is, of course, fulfilling one of the five key aims of this excellent and welcome music manifesto—aim number 3, which is:

"To identify and nurture our most talented young musicians"— and it is doing so at a very high level, much to the great credit of its musical director, Simon Over, and its visionary patron, Michael Berman.

I should like to talk a little about another organisation that achieves the second of the manifesto's key aims—that is, number 2:

"To provide more opportunities for young people to deepen and broaden their musical interests and skills".

I refer to the organisation called Music for Youth, which was founded by Larry Westland 36 years ago. This organisation involves 60,000 children in musical events, including free concerts, all over the country in March every year. Then, in July, it has the National Festival of Music for Youth involving 12,000 children. Finally, in November, it has three days of the schools proms at the Albert Hall with a different programme each night introduced by the wonderful Howard Goodall and performed by about 1,000 children. I have been privileged to have been invited to this by the NUT for the past couple of years, and it is one of the most pleasant and inspiring occasions I ever attend in my role as education spokesman on these Benches. The children are a great credit to their music teachers and the music advisers.

But Music for Youth faces a major problem. Larry Westland told me recently that the only thing about it that is not growing is the funding. In fact, it has recently lost two major corporate sponsors, one of whom has been with the proms since they started 31 years ago. The organisation would not be able to carry on next year if it were not for a large and unexpected legacy, but the year after that the whole thing will be in jeopardy unless it finds replacement sponsors.

I wondered why it is so difficult to do what the manifesto proposes and involve the wider community and, in particular, persuade big business to support the schools proms and the Southbank Sinfonia and many other similar organisations. I was told that companies are looking for national media coverage and, because these events are not competitive, they do not have big winners and therefore the national press is not interested. What a pity, say I, and how short-sighted, because Music for Youth gets masses of regional and local press coverage.

When I was a PR consultant, it was common knowledge that people believe what they read in their local papers far more than what they read in the national papers. So I would have thought that a company wanting to demonstrate its corporate social responsibility would be happy to support all these talented children.

I accept that the Government cannot provide all the money that it takes to support events like this and to make musical experiences such as performing at the Albert Hall accessible to all children, whatever their parents' income. But I wonder whether enough is being done to encourage and support companies which put their money in as generously as the Norwich Union has done for 31 years. Also, have the Government analysed the hurdles that organisations such as Music for Youth have to jump in order to get government funding? They do get some, by the way, both from the DCMS and the DfES. It takes an enormous amount of time, usually with tiny staffs and dedicated volunteers. Have the Government looked to see whether any red tape can be dispensed with in this respect in order to encourage companies to become involved?

I particularly look forward to the Minister's reply because, as I said, I know that this is something about which he cares very much.

Photo of Baroness Buscombe Baroness Buscombe Spokespersons In the Lords, Education, Shadow Minister (Education) 8:11, 16 November 2005

My Lords, I thank the noble Lord, Lord Harrison, for introducing this important debate. All day, I have been smiling—for the simple reason that this time last evening I was at a packed Albert Hall listening to Jamie Cullum and his band. It was fantastic raw talent that traverses all the musical compartments of jazz, rock or salsa—you name it. It was an inspiration to us all, and he had also played to the hall full of schoolchildren that afternoon. Let us hope that some of them will now try to emulate Jamie in years to come.

Will the manifesto make a difference to their chances? We all hope so, and my job this evening—in the five minutes that I am allowed to speak—is to urge the Government to ensure that it does.

The manifesto has succeeded in raising the profile of music and it celebrates all the good music initiatives in place. I welcome the Government's announcement today to commit £2 million to the Hallé, the Roundhouse and the Sage, although, while the money is new, both the Hallé and Sage have been doing wonderful work in this area as part of their core remit.

The Pathfinder project seems very similar in approach to what is already happening within the BBC and the Arts Council creative hubs. Can the Minister assure us tonight that all these initiatives can and will connect for the common good and that all the hard work that Marc Jaffrey and his steering committee, Leonora Davies as chair of the Music Education Council, and many others are doing is turning the key to more training and the introduction of more teachers into our schools?

There have been real concerns regarding a focus on how many individuals and organisations have signed up to the manifesto on the manifesto website rather than on what they are all actually doing. Here I think the Government have been clever for they have effectively drawn in many representatives of the music industry, musicians and arts groups. Once in, it is then very difficult for those who have signed up to complain or put real pressure on their partners, ergo the Government, to actually deliver.

In searching for assurances I turn to the report No.1 of the manifesto, where I note that lots of young people are quoted saying what they would like. Further, for example on page 14 it states that,

"within the next 10 years no child will leave school without having had access to high quality arts and culture"— and—

"over time all pupils who want to will be able to learn a musical instrument".

So there will be some musical activity within 10 years and learning an instrument over time. That sounds good but there is no tangible deadline to do more than introduce children at some stage, maybe only one stage, to music. Will the Minister state tonight what the manifesto is actually achieving in terms of outcomes? Can he be sure that more children are actually playing music in the classroom and beyond because of the manifesto?

I note that further funding announcements are expected in the near future and I urge the Minister to ensure that there is a real drive to see that all the resources are focused upon a long-term sustained commitment to more regular music provision in schools.

Taking this point further, my noble friend Lord Lloyd Webber, who sadly cannot be in his place this evening because he is, as we speak, preparing to open "The Woman in White" on Broadway tonight, has asked me to express, on his behalf, the crucial importance of ensuring that moneys earmarked for music services actually reach the right destination. Incidentally, the noble Baroness, Lady Morris of Yardley, spoke of the contribution of music to our creative economies. It is hard to think of a more inspirational example of sustained and creative musical talent that young people all over the world can aspire to than my noble friend. He has long campaigned for more teaching of music and musical instruments in schools and he has well documented experience, for example, of trying to track music standards funds that appear to have been used by a local authority for purposes other than music services. Is all the funding now ring-fenced and what assurances can the Minister give us that moneys spent will be properly audited?

The report No. 1 of the manifesto, together with all the speeches made earlier today and others in the past few years, have made great reading; and there is real activity. We appreciate the fundamental importance of music which should be central to our nation's life. I just want to be sure for the sake of all our children that all the initiatives, speeches and words mean that our children really will have what I and my old school friends—yes—took for granted. Here I differ from what the noble Lord, Lord Harrison said. He said that it was just the lucky few and that he was one of them. In those days, it was the norm. We took for granted but really enjoyed, in the maintained system, back in the late 1960s and early 1970s, weekly music teaching for everyone through primary and secondary school—school orchestras, school choirs and musical instruments that come to life and breathe energy and optimism. We want this for our children now, unlocking creative talent and bringing young people together.

Photo of Lord Adonis Lord Adonis Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Schools), Department for Education and Skills, Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education and Skills) (Schools) 8:19, 16 November 2005

My Lords, the House is very grateful to my noble friend Lord Harrison for giving us the chance to discuss the music manifesto this evening and, indeed, for me to be reminded of my writings in the Financial Times of more than 14 years ago.

My noble friend and other speakers made some very complimentary remarks about the manifesto. Let me say at the outset that those compliments should be entirely directed at my noble friend Lady Morris of Yardley and my colleague David Miliband, who together conceived, launched and nurtured the Music Manifesto last year, which I believe will come to be seen as a path-breaking development in the progress of musical education in our country.

Let me also pay tribute to the other speakers in the debate and to their work in supporting music and music education at large—not least the Parliament Choir, whose concerts I have regularly attended with very great pleasure and the Royal Northern College of Music. The contributions of the noble Lord, Lord Moser, and my noble friend Lady McIntosh to the cause of music education are—I was going to say "legendary", but I would immediately add that the land of legend is the last place that I think either of them would wish to be consigned, and they remain as actively engaged as ever.

This is a timely debate because this morning I was at the Abbey Road studios, where my noble friend Lady Morris launched the Music Manifesto in July 2004, to announce a £2 million investment for three Music Manifesto Pathfinder centres. These centres are based at The Sage Gateshead, the Roundhouse and the Hallé in Manchester. It was an inspirational occasion with performances by young people from all three institutions amid real excitement and enthusiasm for the Music Manifesto and the part that these three world-famous centres of excellence will play in taking it forward. The £2 million we announced this morning will support the three Pathfinders over the next two and a half years in trialling new partnerships between schools, cultural institutions, music services and the music industry. Each will be trialling new and different ways of delivering the aims of the Music Manifesto throughout its regions. The projects will benefit well over 100,000 children and young people, many in structured activities, which we have specifically agreed in advance, so that we will get the added value to which the noble Baroness, Lady Buscombe, referred.

They will support the professional development of 500 music leaders and teachers, and will develop effective practice across music education, including individual tuition, early years, children at risk of social exclusion, singing pedagogy, student leadership, creative learning and the building of more effective partnerships between all those in their regions with a contribution to make, including the 370 signatories to the Music Manifesto, more than 140 of whom have pledged to make specific commitments.

I take the opportunity to thank all three directors of the Pathfinder institutions: Anthony Sargent at the Sage; Marcus Davey at the Roundhouse; and John Summers at the Hallé for their commitment and all the hard work that they and their staff are putting in. I also reinforce the tributes that have been paid to Marc Jaffrey, the full-time champion of the Music Manifesto, who is in the act of path-breaking joined up government, employed directly by both DCMS and the DfES.

I also announced today a three-part festival of practice in the new year to showcase future practice in music education in which all three Pathfinder institutions will participate.

A big theme of this morning's launch was social justice. We are a great musical nation but too few of those from less advantaged backgrounds are part of that musical tradition. We need to tackle that, both as a matter of social justice and, as the right reverend Prelate so rightly said, because the music industry is a crucial source of employment and creativity for our country. Britain has more than 4,000 youth choirs and orchestras. We have more dedicated choir schools, sustained in large part by the Churches, than any other European nation. Every year more than 300,000 people take graded music exams.

Last year more than 63,000 four to 18 year-olds performed before young audiences totalling 37,000 music for youth festivals and school proms across the UK. We buy more CDs per person than any other nation. More albums are released here than by any other country except the USA. The music industry is worth £5 billion a year to the UK economy, yet, like my noble friend Lady Morris, I never cease to be depressed when visiting schools where insufficient music is taking place. Many primary schools have virtually no music integrated into the curriculum. We need to address that priority if the tradition of music that we want is to spread across the nation. We need to carry through the creative revolution, as referred to by my noble friend, that has already started.

I shall answer as many of the points raised as I can. My noble friend Lord Harrison asked about the fitness for purpose of classrooms and other school spaces used for music. In 2003 my department issued Building Bulletin 93, The Acoustic Design of Schools", which covers this issue, and which I will send to my noble friend. It includes acoustic performance standards for all teaching and learning spaces in schools, including music accommodation. It specifies room acoustics and the sound insulation of the space from adjoining spaces and from external noise. Those requirements are not retrospective, but in a refurbishment scheme—large numbers of schools are being refurbished or rebuilt through the capital programme—the aim should be to improve the acoustic performance of schools to as near these levels as possible.

My noble friend referred to the part played by local education authorities in the provision of music education, as did my noble friend Lady Morris. Local authorities continue to have an important role in music education, and we do not wish to diminish their role in sustaining and enhancing music in their localities. Since our introduction of the ring-fenced Music Standards Fund—the money is protected, to meet the concerns of the noble Baroness, Lady Buscombe—we have been funding music services to the tune of £59 million per annum, reversing their decline. Our survey of local authority music services in 2002 showed that approximately 450,000 children benefited each year from additional local authority music service provision, delivered by 10,700 musicians. That picture is reinforced by the number and quality of submissions for the 2005 National Music Council awards for music services. A great deal of excellent practice is once again being recognised and celebrated by these awards, and indeed the ceremony took place a few hours ago at the BPI building in Westminster.

Concern was expressed by several noble Lords about the comparative levels of funding to local authorities for music. We have long acknowledged those concerns and I recognise the case of Worcestershire. We looked hard during the past two years at alternative ways of distributing the funds, but decided not to introduce any changes because we took the view that the disruption that that would cause to music services that are more highly funded would not be productive or justified. However, we recognise the needs of other areas.

My noble friend spoke about music provision within extended schools. As part of the £840 million extended schools programme, which we announced recently, we have set out a core offer of extended services that we want all children to be able to access through schools. Part of that offer will be a menu of study/sport activities, including music tuition. Provision of music tuition in extended services will advance our pledge to provide all primary school children who want it with the opportunity to learn an instrument. My noble friend also referred to the Wider Opportunities pilots. In 2002, we embarked on those pilots in 13 areas, focused on instrumental tuition for seven to 11 year-olds. The Ofsted evaluation of those pilots showed that teaching and learning improved and that the number wanting to learn instruments rose significantly. Most significantly, that was the case where successful partnerships were formed in the way that my noble friend Lady Morris described between school-based staff, music service tutors, professional musicians and others.

We have invested £4.5 million in grants to local authority music services to pilot their own models of delivery through the Wider Opportunities initiative. Through the Music Manifesto, we have set aside substantial additional funds to support instrumental music in primary schools, both next year and the year after. My right honourable friend the Secretary of State will make an announcement about how that will be allocated at the end of the month. My noble friend referred to the contribution that can be made by music professionals who do not have qualified teacher status. I readily acknowledge that.

Earlier this year, we published a document entitled Routes into Teaching Music, which was developed as a joint venture between the DfES and the Esmée Fairburn Foundation. It is a guide for every kind of musician about how to train and work as a teacher of music, which is much more readily done after the workforce reform that enables a much wider group of people to play roles in schools and in classes in schools. Among other things, it covers the routes into the various jobs and teaching roles and the qualifications or experience needed for entry at each level. It also covers the opportunities to gain qualifications, accreditation and experience, including information about entry requirements, funding and timescale. I will circulate it to all noble Lords who have spoken in the debate this evening.

The noble Lord, Lord Moser, referred to the funding of other partners who play a crucial part in our musical life, not least the London orchestras, which I know are close to his heart and that of many others. The Government place the highest value on the world-renowned quality of British orchestral music and recognise the real concerns of the sector about national insurance, which the noble Lord raised. It is understandable that the ongoing uncertainty until that issue is resolved is unsettling for both the organisations and individuals concerned. Discussions are under way between the Department for Culture Media and Sport, the Revenue and Customs, the Arts Council England and the Association of British Orchestras. I hope that we can bring them to a conclusion as soon as possible.

The issue of secondary provision was raised by the noble Baroness, Lady Walmsley. We have taken several steps to improve secondary provision in music. The specialist school programme is now making a significant contribution to music education. We now have more than 400 specialist performing arts colleges, 15 music colleges and five combined specialisms involving music. We have more than 200 advanced skills teachers in music and, specifically to address the recruitment difficulties in music mentioned by the noble Baroness, we are incentivising the recruitment of extra graduate music teachers next year with a new £2,500 golden hello for music graduates entering music training courses from next September.

We also have the invaluable role of youth music, mentioned by my noble friend, Lady McIntosh. More than 1 million children have been composing, singing and playing instruments through youth music activities during the past five years, benefiting from £18 million of funding. In response to my noble friend's concern about funding, we are committed to sustaining that work. My noble friend Lord Harrison mentioned the audit of music education. We have published significant new information in the first annual report of the Music Manifesto. We will soon publish the latest audit of local authority music services, and I will ensure that that is circulated to noble Lords. I have run out of time. In conclusion, the ubiquitous Howard Goodall also performed this morning at the launch of the music manifesto pathfinder. He made a very moving speech about music as a force for social cohesion and a better and fairer society. He said:

"Nothing brings people together, across social boundaries, more willingly, in larger numbers, for a more wholly positive experience, than the making of music".

I believe that is a sentiment we all share and I commend it to the House.