So much to celebrate!

What the Music Manifesto does by way of raising the profile of music education for English children and young people of school age, the National Music Council’s long-running LEA music awards scheme does (now in association with MEC) annually for the music education provided for children, young people and adults in England, Scotland and Wales. That is to say, the scheme recognizes and publicises the achievements of LEA music services in providing opportunities to learn about and make music through:

  • the Whole Class Instrumental & Vocal Tuition (Wider Opportunities) Key Stage 2 scheme;
  • instrumental and vocal tuition generally;
  • support of the music National Curriculum;
  • engagement with community musicians and organizations;
  • a range of school, music centre and authority-wide performance opportunities.

Those are the vital fruit and vegetable activities. Cake and icing are also on the menu in the form of prestigious visits to non-education venues, to other authorities and indeed sometimes to other countries. Readers of this note will hardly need reminding of the social and educational value of such experiences: they are never forgotten and even if the young people do not take their performance skills into adulthood there is little doubt they will have become more appreciative and discerning audiences of music. Too often overlooked, but not by the NMC or MEC, is the provision made, over many years, by music services for children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities. And more recently there has been a growth in the number of music therapy posts established by music services. Such inclusivity goes to the heart of good educational practice.

There are many national music awards throughout the year but only the NMC/MEC Scheme celebrates the remarkable achievements of music services in providing evidence year on year that those services reach an ever increasing number of young people and introduce them to a breadth of musics from world, folk, rock, jazz to classical unknown in that so-called golden age of school music extolled recently by Sir Peter Maxwell Davies in radio broadcasts and a keynote speech to the ISM. If only Sir Peter could spare the time to hear the Music for Youth performances in Birmingham and later at the Royal Albert Hall one likes to think that he would better understand that not only is the variety and high quality of young people’s music performance without precedent, but also that county and city youth orchestras continue to perform the classical repertoire to praiseworthy effect.

If your music service hasn’t already received details of how to apply for this year’s scheme, do please contact Fiona Harvey of the NMC at or by ‘phone on 0870 909 2621.