BBC picks up baton for music in class


Richard Brooks, Arts Editor Published: 15 June 2014

THE BBC will tomorrow announce an initiative to give all British primary school children access to classical music.

The plan comes from Lord Hall, the BBC’s director-general, who ran the Royal Opera House for 12 years before returning to the corporation last year.

The BBC will use half a dozen ambassadors, including the Scottish violinist Nicola Benedetti, to promote classical music in as many primary schools as possible. Members of its orchestras will also play in the schools. Composers will give talks to children, while a BBC documentary about the joys of classical music will be made available to every school and local cinema.

In a speech tomorrow, Hall will warn that classical music’s future is at risk unless more children from all walks of life have more opportunity to learn about, experience and enjoy it. He will emphasise that the music must not be for an elite or a minority.

Benedetti, who began violin lessons at the age of four, said: “That first exposure can be vitally important, igniting a positive lifelong association with this great art form.”

Some are concerned that the BBC is doing what the government should be encouraging through the curriculum. Julian Lloyd Webber, the cellist, said: “Music is meant to be part of the national curriculum, but it is very patchy. There is also no designation that some must be classical.”


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