Nordoff Robbins Music Therapist and beneficiary with drum

Music education: Nordoff Robbins policy position

At Nordoff Robbins we believe it is the right of all children, regardless of background, ability or disability, to be able to participate in accessible and high-quality music education.

Music education: Nordoff Robbins policy position

At Nordoff Robbins we believe it is the right of all children, regardless of background, ability or disability, to be able to participate in accessible and high-quality music education. This is important for everyone, but especially for children and adults with special needs, for whom a tailored music education can offer life-changing support – helping them to fulfil their musical and wider potentials, to be recognised for their abilities, and to draw on music as a health resource throughout their lives.

Music is an important and vital part of any curriculum – with significant research showing its importance for our wellbeing, our ability to think creatively, and to work collaboratively – and yet it is becoming increasingly less accessible to children and young people, and especially to those from disadvantaged backgrounds and with special educational needs.1

This squeeze on music education not only affects pupils currently in school, but also has a potentially devastating effect on our future workforce: with fewer students taking music at GCSE, A-Level, or even university level, there are fewer young people following their passion to become the musicians, music therapists and community musicians of tomorrow. This in turn means that fewer vulnerable and isolated people can access music therapy in order to feel heard, communicated with, enabled and supported. As music teaching retreats into only the most well-resourced schools, our workforce risks becoming less diverse and so less able to meet the needs of the people we work with across the UK.

We continue to campaign to raise awareness of this issue and support music education specialists as they seek to challenge the reducing accessibility of both curriculum music teaching and opportunities for musical participation within schools. This work supports our role as a higher education provider, seeking to train and employ musicians from more diverse backgrounds. Hand-in-hand with this, we are working to increase the take-up of music therapy by schools, multi-academy trusts and Music Education Hubs, thus making specially tailored musical experiences available to those who stand to benefit from them most.


1 The All-Party Parliamentary Group for Music Education’s State of the Nation report, and Creative Scotland’s What’s Going on Now? report into music education

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