Musicians’ Union: Inspiring Music Teachers

The MU explains their new campaign: Support My Music Teacher

Did you have a teacher who sparked an interest in a subject for you? Who went that extra mile and was so absorbed and enthused by their subject that you couldn’t help but be in awe of them? Can you still remember how you couldn’t wait for their lesson?

If you talk to many professional musicians, this is how they will speak about their music teachers. One inspirational teacher might be the reason they became a musician in the first place. Many more may have encouraged and supported them along the way. You, reading this, might be the inspired student, the inspiring teacher or, more likely, both.

The reality of most musicians’ working lives is that they will teach as part of their career. Many say it is one of the most rewarding things they do. These musicians are creating and inspiring the next generation of musicians to perform and perhaps to teach.

It feels like there are more opportunities to learn to play instruments than ever before, yet there are reports of a real crisis in music education. Many music teachers are leaving or losing their jobs. College and university courses are closing down across the UK. The real opportunities, and with them, the idea that ‘professional musician’ is an actual job people do, are in the hands of the privileged few.

Why is there currently a crisis in music education? 

Funding is the main reason. Cuts are affecting music education provision from pre-school right up to colleges and universities. Schools are encouraged to be more like businesses. Making money from education is rarely a healthy proposition, especially in music education, which has high delivery costs – including expensive instruments and highly trained professionals.

What does it mean for music teachers? 

Teachers are losing their jobs, earning less, and losing rights that we take for granted, like sick pay. They are having to pay for the rooms they are asked to teach in, or pass that cost on to the children they teach. Morale is understandably low.

Support your music teacher!

What impact did music lessons have on your life? How was your teacher an inspiration? Share what makes your teacher amazing – tweet, vine, instagram, post on Facebook or LinkedIn or wherever you may be – using the hashtag #SupportMyMusicTeacher

If you’re teaching now, share this with your students. Ask them what music lessons mean to them, what they have learnt, and what part of it they enjoy most. Send them to: Let’s show why music education is worth fighting for.

The Musicians’ Union has been protecting the rights and interests of working musicians for over a hundred years, and 30,000 professional and student musicians currently benefit from the MU’s comprehensive range of services. These include career and business advice, rights protection, free instrument insurance, free contract and partnership advice, £10 million public liability cover, legal advice and assistance, plus access to a network of musicians of all ages across the UK. For anyone serious about being a working musician, whether in the live arena, in the recording world, as a teacher or writer/composer, the MU gives musicians a voice – individually and collectively – to help nurture and improve the industry and to ensure that every member has the support and protection they need.

More info:

Follow the MU on Twitter: @WeAreTheMU

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