Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Schools and scandals

First, here's my latest from the Indy, about Vivaldi, which was in the paper on Monday. Meant to put it up here earlier, but was up against some deadlines.

Now, to the title. I'm working on a piece for BBC Music Magazine's education issue comparing the merits of different types of schooling for budding musicians in Britain. I've talked to 5 musicians so far and am about to talk to another 2 or 3. So far, the following points have leapt out at me:

1. Nobody under the age of 35 has yet had a good word to say about music provision in UK state schools.

2. Most of the musicians who went to a conservatoire say that they regret not having gone to university.

3. Most of the musicians who went to university said it was very, very hard to combine academic work with enough practising.

4. Private education at a good school today costs an absolute fortune, even if you win a 'music scholarship'.

I'm reaching the conclusion that what counts is really only your personal fibre. If you've got the guts and the determination, it doesn't matter where you study. All these places are getting it wrong in their own sweet ways. Self-reliance is the only possible answer.

I am extremely glad that I don't have to go through any of that again.