Aside from private drum teaching here at Amber Valley Drum School, I have also worked as a peripatetic drum teacher in schools in Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire over the years.
Now, music in schools is a bit of a mixed bag....I hear that some schools have closed the facility for GCSE music due to there being very little uptake from students, yet other schools seem to have a thriving music community. Of course, all schools are run by teams who have a different focus, and you often see secondary schools now with names such as "sports academy" or "science and technology academy" so you can see where they like to focus. Music in many schools has become a bit of an afterthought, almost unimportant, and that is a real shame.
The UK is still very much a world leader in music and the arts, producing some of the worlds greatest musicians ,who bring a lot of money into the UK economy. This really is something we should celebrate, and when children show interest we should give them every encouragement to succeed in this industry. Now not every child who plays music in school is going to become the next Ed Sheeran or Elton John, but learning an instrument at an early age really does add quality of life. Even if they continue to play as a hobby into adult life, the happiness that making music can bring is immeasurable. Plus, we've all heard about how learning a musical instrument has other beneficial effects such as increased concentration, mathematical awareness etc, so it really is a win-win situation.
Its so important to keep music alive and vibrant in our schools, and ensure children who wish to play a musical instrument get the chance. Back in the 1980s, music provision in Nottinghamshire was fantastic... not only were the secondary schools full of peripatetic music teachers, but we also had the Nottinghamshire School of Music which used to run on saturdays and provided talented musicians the chance to play in orchestras, brass bands, choirs etc. A truly fantastic training that launched the careers of so many of us. I will always be grateful to the staff and tutors who guided us back then, and to this day im still in touch with many of the friends I made there. Similar things do still run thanks to organizations such as the Nottingham music hub who strive to ensure children get access to music.
I recently had a month of drum teaching in a large secondary school on the edge of Nottingham, and I couldnt believe what I saw when I first walked through the doors... the most incredible music department Id ever seen. The practice rooms were full with violin teachers, piano teachers, saxophone teachers etc..... there were swing bands, orchestras, rock bands..... even their own recording studio! We need much more of this...... our children deserve it!