Music is part of the fabric of our society; it sits at the heart of human experience and enriches so many lives. Why, then, is it not central to our education system? This is a question I recently posed to an all-party parliamentary group on music education.
I am 20 years old and began playing saxophone, aged seven, at the Barracudas Carnival Band in Barrow-in-Furness. The funding for the centre has now been cut. I took part in the primary tuition scheme, aged 11. The funding for the scheme has now been cut. It is a running theme across the country.
Music is not an add-on, a “soft” subject or a luxury – it is absolutely essential to our existence. Every child deserves the opportunity to experience its benefits.
Until music is held in the same regard as the “core” subjects of our curriculum, our society will be worse off. We need joy, empathy and hope on this planet more than ever, and depriving children of the opportunity to develop musical skills is to set ourselves up for a fall.
Despite the many brilliant schemes and initiatives to encourage young musicians (Every Child a Musician, Awards for Young Musicians and Sistema, to name but a few), we are reaching a crisis point. We are in danger of crushing creativity, innovation and expression.
Learning an instrument can teach and develop so many fundamental life skills. It promotes discipline, empathy, determination and cooperation as well as providing a sense of community and worth.
Music has changed my life. It is a huge part of who I am. I have learned so much about the world through music and the inspiring figures I have met through it. I feel I have a duty to help ensure that others can benefit from its magic. Let us make it available to every single child.
• Join the debate – email email@example.com
• Read more Guardian letters – click here to visit gu.com/letters
• Do you have a photo you’d like to share with Guardian readers? Click here to upload it and we’ll publish the best submissions in the letters spread of our print edition