‘The Ten Percent’: young people’s access to local authority music service tuition in England - findings from a historical documentary analysis
Local authority music services have held a central place in the UK’s music education landscape ever since the Second World War. Many internationally-renowned British musicians have cited their local service for inspiration and support. Yet whilst there have undoubtedly been opportunities and resulting personal and professional successes for some, it is also acknowledged that these might have come at the expense of opportunities for the many. A commonly-repeated estimate over the years is that only around ten percent of the school population has been in receipt of local authority instrumental tuition at any one time. These services’ non-statutory status has meant that opportunities have varied in response to prevailing economic and political climates, broader developments in educational policy and changing conceptualisations of what we mean by music ‘making’ and ‘learning’. This paper will trace young people’s ability to access local authority music services over the past seventy years. It will describe some of the social, economic, political and geographical factors that have impacted—and may continue to impact—on the provision, take-up and perceived value of the available opportunities. ‘Hidden barriers’ to these opportunities will be also explored, e.g. family socio-economic status, parental vehicle ownership, geographical distance from teaching/rehearsing sites, instrument size and weight, professionals' perceptions regarding pupils’ home life and environment, school culture, and the ethnic/cultural background of pupils. The paper will offer conclusions on how this history might inform contemporary practice, now that music services have been reorganised into ‘music education hubs’ with a remit to maximise access, diversity and participation.
Citation : Purves, R. (2016) ‘The Ten Percent’: young people’s access to local authority music service tuition in England - findings from a historical documentary analysis. Paper presented at the HES / ANZHES Joint Conference (Sight, Sound and Text in the History of Education), 18-20 November 2016, Abbey Hotel, Worcestershire.
Peer Reviewed : Yes