A Study on Musical Futures: Transforming Music Education

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Musical Futures was launched in 2003, being an initiative of the Paul Hamlyn Foundation. The objective was to instigate a new approach to music teaching, so attracting young people between the ages of 11 and 18 to look afresh at music activities, and to reverse the perceived disenchantment with that age group in music. [1] 

Musical Futures is not intended to be a scheme of work. It is a sequence of projects and approaches that can be adapted and personalised to each individual students' needs. The aim is to encompass practical and active student participation to make music. Done 'with' and 'by' students, not 'to' and 'for' them.

The Institute of Education [2] , after research into examples of the work ethic, determined that there was an increased uptake of music GCSE and improved behaviour and that schools using Musical Futures normally witnessed a wide range of benefits when implementing the approaches,

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Musical Futures is designed to support teachers and for them to personalise the approaches to their settings. It can be implemented in most teaching situations, often with little or no extra funding.

Paul Hamlyn was a German national born in Berlin in 1926 with the name Paul Bertrand Wolfgang Hamburger. Along with the rest of the family he moved to London in 1933. His father died in 1940, shortly after which Paul changed his name to Hamlyn, having chosen it randomly from the telephone directory. Paul's elder brother was Michael Hamburger (1924-2007), a poet and translator.

He married his first wife, Eileen Margaret Watson in 1952 who bore him two children. They were subsequently divorced in 1969. He married his second wife Helen Guest in 1970.

Paul Hamlyn was awarded a CBE in 1993 and a British Life Peerage in 1998, taking the title Baron Hamlyn of Edgeworth, in the County of Gloucestershire.

He started his publishing career in 1949, with EMI, setting up Music for Pleasure records as a joint venture, before forming the Paul Hamlyn Group and Octopus Publishing Group, into major UK publishing houses.

The Paul Hamlyn Foundation was founded in 1987 as a focal point for his charitable interests, and grew to be one of the largest independent grant giving organisations in the United Kingdom. There is a reference library in the British Museum Reading Room which is named The Paul Hamlyn Library, being funded by his foundation. Baron Hamlyn also made substantial contributions to the Labour party on an annual basis.

The Paul Hamlyn Foundation launched Musical Futures in 2003 seeking to find a new and imaginative way of engaging young people, aged 11-18, in musical activities. The preliminary point for Musical Futures was to appreciate the factors affecting the lack of interest and involvement of young people with sustained music making activities, especially at a time in their lives when music should be a passion for many young people, and play a big part in shaping their social identity.

The Musical Futures project in total was dedicated to the memory of Jane Attenborough [3] , who tragically died in the Asian Tsunami on Boxing Day 2004 with her daughter and mother in law. Jane was the Arts Manager at the Paul Hamlyn Foundation having taken over the initiative for developing funding projects.

Baron Hamlyn died, aged 75 on 31 August 2001.

Lady Helen Hamlyn, the widow of Paul Hamlyn, formed The Helen Hamlyn Trust as a separate grant-giving organisation after his death, but with similar aims to her husband, but without political donations.

Ex teacher and Police star Sting [4] gave his support to the Paul Hamlyn Foundation's Musical Futures programme, after its official re-launch in June 2009, by becoming its global patron.

The re-launch covered a complete re-design of the Musical Futures website, resources and strategy, following 3 years of feedback from participating schools after the initial launch. Practitioners can now download a full teacher pack, plus case studies, reports, articles, background information and more detail about Musical Futures. There is also a new section purely for teachers, where users are encouraged to upload any resources, they have developed for Musical Futures in their schools, to share with others.

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Sting is quoted as saying that he believed in the values behind the project, and the importance of the hands on experience of making music, that Musical Futures espouses:

"I'm thrilled to be able to support this project.

There are few things as spontaneously creative as a bunch of friends, a set of instruments and simply seeing where the music takes you. Most professional musicians take this daily miracle for granted, but for the majority of young people it's a mysterious 'gift. It seems to me that the Musical Futures resources - many of which echo the way I learned to play informally - are about making those kinds of experiences available to all kids in school. They may not go on to become professional musicians but they'll begin to understand music from the inside out and perhaps transfer the confidence they gain from working in groups to other aspects of their learning, and indeed their lives."

"As a former teacher myself, I'm very much aware of the pressures that come with the job and of teachers' need to be able to get hold of high-quality materials for use in the classroom. The success of Musical Futures shows that music teachers are willing to try unconventional approaches and put themselves in situations where they don't always feel comfortable, if it means that their students make more music, more often."

Chapter 2 Background and Definitions

Whilst writing this paper, especially relating to the new innovative teaching style, that could have far reaching repercussions for the teaching profession and the musical education of 11 to 18 year old children at schools throughout the country. It was felt to be important by the author to explore all definitions of the word 'futures' to try and ascertain the motivation of Lord Hamlyn and the Paul Hamlyn Foundation and the implications of using the word in a teaching scenario.

Paul Hamlyn died in August 2001. The principle of Musical Futures was launched by the Hamlyn Foundation in 2003. In his obituary in the Observer newspaper Nicholas Faith [5] listed Lord Hamlyn's financial involvement in many publishing companies portraying him as a businessman who was "chillingly ruthless" and "more interested in profitability than charity". In the same obituary however, Faith describes Lord Hamlyn's generosity in donating thousands of pounds worth of cheap or free tickets, to classical music and arts events, to the general public, who otherwise could not afford them.

If one looks at the word 'futures' in its financial capacity, The Oxford Compact English Dictionary defines 'futures' as something that is going or expected to happen. Its second definition is as an adjective relating to the stock exchange and the sale of goods and stocks for future delivery i.e. commodities.

Whilst the Paul Hamlyn Foundation and subsequently the Lady Helen Hamlyn Trust are a source of funding support, the substantial majority of funding must come from Local Authority Education budgets. [6] 

In November 2010 The Federation of Music Services (FMS) which represents 98% of all music services across the United Kingdom warned that the proposed financial cuts announced ahead of the governments initiated Henley Review [7] into education budgets could be disastrous. The FMS believes that currently, 65% of local authorities contribute either in cash, kind (administration, buildings etc) or both to music service funding. On average, local authorities contribute 10.5% of total music service budgets. The remainder of the funding comes from central government's Music Grant, parental fees, school and other contributions.

 

Initial findings from a survey recently conducted by the FMS with its members, revealed that around 18.5% of music services receiving local authority assistance are likely to have their funding completely stopped in the future. A further 47% of music services in receipt of local authority funds are contemplating cuts of varying levels from 10% to 50%. The remainder are waiting the outcome of their local authority's deliberations. This means that nearly all services currently receiving local authority support will have budgets reduced in some way. Some cuts will be actioned immediately in 2011, others over a period of two to three years. For some music services these cuts could mean either at worst closure, or at best, much reduced resources.

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The government have stressed that the music grant of £82.5m for 2011 will be frozen at that level and paid to local councils, however they do not guarantee funding beyond that.

Whilst there is no factual evidence that these or future budget constraints will effect the expansion of Musical Futures in schools, it is certainly necessary to consider the implications in this essay

In his obituary, Faith mentions very little about Lord Hamlyn's interest in the musical education of secondary school children, preferring to concentrate on his publishing background and his entrepreneurial flair, with the obvious implication that his peerage was obtained, supplementing his CBE [8] , only after generous donations to the Labour party, helping them to produce their 1997 election manifesto.

Lord Hamlyn was, by any definition, a very successful and dedicated businessman. He made millions of pounds from publishing and property investments. His attitude to funding donations was quite basic.

"If you have been as lucky as I have, and the sums of money are as enormous as they are, it seems to me unthinkable, if some of it didn't go to people who need it."

Many of his charitable gifts were both populist and inventive. For a number of years he made an annual payment of £200,000 to Covent Garden. He bought thousands of tickets every year, these were then distributed at no or low cost to opera-lovers who could not otherwise have afforded the price of a seat. He quite often took over the whole opera house for a week financially, to follow his policy of bringing opera th the masses, as well as financing visits by children from homes for the blind and partially sighted. In 1998 he followed this up by buying 25,000 tickets for the National Theatre to provide disadvantaged youngsters with their first glimpse of live theatre.

More went to help another obsession: education. A gift of £1m financed a major study of British education published in December 1993. In his later years he became Chancellor of Thames Valley University, the former West London Polytechnic.

This writer believes the motivation of this refugee with an impoverished childhood, who made good, was a genuine desire to help those who were not as fortunate as he had been, The donations, at times appear to be definitely politically motivated, firstly to the Labour party, then to the emerging Social Democratic Party and finally back to the Labour Party. The ruthlessness of the man was totally apparent in his business dealings, yet his desire to help children, by the gifts he made to give access to music and theatre was totally obvious.

In the harsh light of day, could all this be argued as trading forward to obtain penury advantage i.e. selling funding donations as a commodity? Possibly, but this author believes it would have been a small price to pay by the British public for his generosity.

Chapter 3:- The relevance of Musical Futures to higher education

Musical Futures was the title given to a project devised by the Paul Hamlyn Foundation, in association with Youth Music and the Department for Education and Skills' Innovation Unit. The joint team started a three-year action research project in 2003, aimed at devising imaginative new ways of involving young people, aged 11-18, in musical activities.

The Musical Futures project was targeted initially at a small number of schools in three local authorities as a potential working sample. OFSTED [9] was asked to evaluate the scheme in 2006 and make a subsequent report.

The object of the project was to evaluate a new pedagogy, which involved pupils in making music together and developing their musical skills, knowledge and understanding through performance based work in a relaxed atmosphere.

The schools chosen had a good level of support from senior management staff, who wanted music to be more all-encompassing. They recognized the positive impact good quality music provision could have on the school as a whole and each individual participating student. During the project, a number of the schools extended the teaching principles across other subjects. Schools were also actively encouraged to interact with other schools working in the project, to share best practice [10] .

OFSTED subsequently reported that motivation for music increased appreciably across the participating schools and students made good progress. However, their report indicated that progress in learning attainment needed better measurement criteria and that higher levels of challenge needed to be sustained for some pupils.

The initial introduction for the input of Musical Futures was for secondary schools, with a particular focus on 12-14 year old students. This was the age group during which students seemed to lose an interest in music learning in school. However, since its re-launch in 2009 it has now being extended to teaching in primary and tertiary education. Trials are also being started with students with special educational needs, Pupil Referral Units and Young Offender Units.

In essence the introduction of the principles of Musical Futures established a new pedagogy for teaching, not only in music teaching, but potentially other subjects as well.

The project challenged many assumptions about learning music and offered effective alternatives to established teaching approaches. Teachers were revitalized by the opportunity to think again about teaching music, with the hope that this would be carried on throughout the school and into other subjects.

It was perceived, during the trial that the motivation of both pupils and teachers increased notably, which was having a marked positive impact on the whole school. A particular feature was how all-encompassing the project was, with pupils responding positively to being treated equally as musicians. Pupils generally made good improvement, however on occasions, they did not know what they had achieved or what to do to improve their work further. The focus of the learning was at times unclear and lacked challenge. There was at times a lack of teacher intervention, so some pupils were unable to benefit fully from the learning experience.

The increased emphasis on personalised education in some of the projects led to innovative planning and the development of new working relationships between pupils and pupils and teachers. The project provided an effective way to build on the increased emphasis on instrumental learning in Key Stage 2 [11] .

The support from senior managers, based on their wish to make music more inclusive, was a critical factor in the general effectiveness of the project. There were signs of improved take-up of music at GCSE level, although the number of schools involved in the sample was very small. [12] 

Musical Futures is a new concept in teaching music in schools. It brings informal learning and non formal teaching approaches into the more formal environment of school. The philosophy of Musical Futures is based on the belief that music learning is absorbed best when young people are making music, and when their natural existing passion for music is reflected and built upon in the classroom.

It works by involving a practical hands on, music making approach, with the lesson being student centred, working in small groups, with the teacher offering active support as and when needed. 

Musical Futures has to be adapted and, if necessary, modified to suit the needs of each individual student, it isn't a one size fits all approach. Their web site explains that:-

There must be informal learning, students copying, playing by ear and self-expression; 

Playing music that the students are interested in (rather than a set of pre-determined works);

Learning should be through oral/aural means - students use forms of notation when they choose to, rather than as a 'text' to follow;

Technique should be introduced within the context of the piece being played, not as discipline in itself;

The heart of Musical Futures must be peer learning, and student led learning.

Teachers learn alongside their students - they don't always have to be experts in the music being played.

Musical Futures was initially designed for secondary schools, with a particular focus on 12-14 yr old students, this being the age group at which students seem to lose interest in music learning in school. However, it is now being extended to teaching in primary and tertiary education. It has also been trialled with students with special educational needs, in Young Offenders Institutes and Pupil Referral Units. 

The only teaching resources available for the programme are via the Musical Futures website www.musicalfutures.co.uk

However the web site advises that there are some minimum requirements needed to effectively carry out Musical Futures:

There must be enough spaces for students to be able to work in small groups; 

A sufficient range of instruments (electronic and acoustic) to enable all students to have a hands-on music making experience;

Students need access to the expertise of other musicians and music leaders - for example older students within the school, peripatetic teachers, community musicians etc;

Some access to music technology for students to record and where appropriate remix and publish their work.

Chapter 4:- The psychology of learning and teaching Style Alternatives

Carl Rogers (I983) was asked by a teacher what changes would he make in education. He considered this question and decided, if he could change just one thing he would;

"Cause every teacher at every entry level to forget that he or she is a teacher. You would all develop complete amnesia for teaching skills you have painstakingly acquired over the years. You would find that you were absolutely unable to teach. Instead, you would find yourself holding the attitudes and possessed of the skills of a facilitator of learning - genuineness, prizing, and empathy."

His (Rogers) plea was to end the stringent style of "Traditional" teaching and concentrate on the student in a more sensitive manner. His definition between a teacher and a facilitator was, that a teacher focuses on the national curriculum and how best to motivate a student within the confines of the curriculum, and the best way to prepare a student towards exams, thereby gauging how effective the teaching has been. Conversely a facilitator asks the question 'what does the student want to learn'. Thus allowing the student the choice of subject, and to work with their peers to find the answers. Throughout this interaction the facilitator is guided by the needs of the student and not shackled by bureaucratic chains. Rogers states he;

"Deeply believes that traditional teaching is an almost completely futile, wasteful, overrated function in today's' changing world. It is successful mostly in giving children who can't grasp the material, a sense of failure. "

Chris Woodhead [13] who was Her Majesty's Chief Inspector of Schools in England from 1994 until 2000 stated, just before Musical Futures was launched, that he believed traditional classroom teaching, inclusive of school uniform and manners were the way forward. In his introduction to his book Class Wars (2002) he construed constructivism as an idea which he once agreed with. It allowed children to make up their own meanings and construct their own version of reality, however he now felt constructivism took these ideals to ludicrous extremes. He (Woodhead) was disappointed that the teachers' authority and didactic teaching had no place in the new millennium:

"We have forgotten that education, if it is anything, is a conversation between the generations in which the young are introduced to the best that has been thought and written by men and women who car about the subjects they teach - who care not because a qualification in their subject might lead to a better job, but because the subject itself is intrinsically important."

Woodhead considered there was a need to challenge the academic, administrative, and political chiefs who had responsibility for the state of the educational system.

Government policy has imposed itself on society over many decades. Radical reforms have changed the face of education. These changes have not only involved children, and young adults, but now actively involve the mature adult population on a scale never before experienced. It has promoted the idea of "Lifelong Learning" for all. Baroness Blackstone, Minister for Education and Employment (2000) in her opening address at the House of Lords [14] stated that:

"We are talking about adults - grown up people - who do not want to be talked down to. The government believes there are a number of principals that will help us build a truly inclusive society. Investing in learning to benefit everyone.

Removing those barriers which stop people learning - cost, lack of time, accessibility. Putting people first rather than institutions first, sharing the responsibly for learning between employers, individuals and the community as well as governments, achieving world-class standards and value for money."

In the early years of this century and at a time when Musical Futures was being designed, trialed and evaluated, the customary idea that learning stops when a child leaves school was being erased and the new way forward was to keep studying throughout life (www.learningage.gov.uk) Although with the advent of computer learning, face to face interpersonal communication could be significantly decreased and motivation would need to be increased. By putting people first would mean an increase in computer facilities to cater for the considerable growth within the educational establishments with its expansion of students.

However the two distinct and opposing views expressed by Carl Rogers and Chris Woodhead are fascinating, especially when considering the decades that they were written in. Rogers in the early 1980s argued an end to the stringent style of teaching that he believed was practiced within our teaching establishments at that time. He believed that the teacher should in essence combine the role of teacher and facilitator, building an interaction between both parties and encouraging the student to have more freedom in their choice and manner of studying.

It could be argued that this was a design philosophy that the Paul Hamlyn Foundation, when they constructed Musical Futures, followed almost to the letter.

Woodhead, by nature of his role in education and therefore extremely influential, believed in returning to more traditional attitudes, including conformity, as a way forward. Within the scope of this paper it is interesting that Woodhead with all his experience was advocating a return to a more traditional style of student management, associated with face-to-face teaching, rather than embracing the more relaxed attitude of Rogers, who appeared to be pre-empting the educational and social freedom that computerisation could bring and Musical Futures would embrace.

Chapter 5:- Literature review

Musical Futures was structured and marketed in the first years of the 21st Century. It was trialed between 2003 and 2006. Subjected, at the Paul Hamlyn Foundation request, to an OFSTED report in October 2006. In 2009, after assessing the feedback and results of the trial, the principles of Musical Futures were revised and re-launched. This new initiative was accompanied by numerous pamphlets and teaching aids supplied, mainly free of charge, by the Foundation. There has been one OFSTED report issued, a number of web based articles written, and various mentions in educational publications. Only one book has been written by Lucy Green [15] (2008), Music, Informal Learning and the School: A New Classroom Pedagogy. The other literature examined for this essay relate to teaching style alternatives, computers and their influence in today's education scene and the history of the Lord Hamlyn and the Paul Hamlyn Foundation.

Chapter 6:- Implications of new technology on musical education.

The other main influence in music teaching under Musical Futures, as well as the introduction of a new teaching style and methodology, is the involvement of computers. Computers have been available in schools for many years but only recently have they been of a physical size, power and containing the software that can be integrated into digital music design, recording, publishing and playing and used as an add on to student centred teaching.

A recent national [16] and then international television report, showing a school boy who had received a prestigious engineering design award, by building the electronic sounds and control of a full set of drums into his trousers (jeans), showed the potential influence of modern technology in music

One of the most attractive features of computers is their portability. Laptop computers can give both teachers and students the flexibility and mobility that is needed for designing creative music. This mobility brings into play the internet, intranet, e-mailing and USB/MP3 players and with the new range of 'smart phones', a whole new concept is waking up. This in turn allows the student to work, communicate, design and play music at a time and place to suit them. Video conferencing, texting, telephone and camera instant videoing can bring students together instantly and with a picture and sound quality of a very high degree.

Musical Future seeks to embrace this technology in its teaching methodology, however unless the $100 laptop with a 24 hour battery capacity becomes the reality, that has been talked about for many years and telephone call charges are capped, then the costs will always be obstacles for progress

Chapter 7:- Conclusions

What impact can Musical Futures have in the classroom?

Recent research carried out on Musical Futures nationally, and reported by OFSTED [17] , the Institute of Education [18] and case studies [19] indicates that schools typically witness some or all of the following when implementing Musical Futures. 

Far more students get involved in music participation;

There is increased student enthusiasm for and enjoyment of school music;

The pedagogy helps students to become more self-assured with music making and raises confidence;

This confidence and improved self assurance has a positive impact on students' attitudes towards music in school;

It engages previously disinterested pupils;

It improves musical, leadership and team working skills.

It encourages students to be independent learners;

More students elect to continue with their music making beyond Musical Futures lessons;

It has long-term and sustainable impact on a teachers own practice, and changes the way teachers deliver music learning in the classroom.

Musical Futures was originally launched in 2003 by the Paul Hamlyn Foundation as a teaching initiative designed to bring an aspect of informal learning of music to the classroom. The theory was to give the students a feeling of control over their learning by adopting a student centred approach with the teacher being there to advise and if appropriate join in the activity.

The first trial of the process took place in a number of schools against a background of scepticism from some of the teachers, who expressed concerns about the relative freedom being given to students. However it was accepted by most, that there was a puzzling fundamental lack of take up in musical awareness, especially in the 11 - 18 years old group, where musical tastes should have been developing strongly. It was generally recognised that something needed to be done to reverse that trend

Musical Futures is not designed around a scheme of work. It is based on a series of approaches and models that can be personalised and adapted to an individual students needs. Abigail D'Amore, Musical Futures National Coordinator of the Paul Hamlyn Foundation, claims significant success since the first launch in 2003 and the re-launch in 2009, with new resources, based on feedback from the first 3 year trial period.

She points out that from the initial 60 secondary schools using Musical Futures there are now more than 1000 involved, being nearly 30% of the total secondary schools in the United Kingdom.

Mrs D'Amore says

"Tens of thousands of young people have benefited, seen through rises in attainment, an increase in students wanting to continue with music learning in and beyond school, and improvement in motivation and enjoyment of music learning. Teachers and practitioners frequently state that despite initial fears and concerns over how Musical Futures could 'possibly work' in their schools/teaching situations, they have found that it often revolutionises the way that they approach teaching music in general".

Musical Futures is a new approach to teaching and learning. It is a style of teaching which can underpin everything that a music department can do, rather than a statutory scheme of work that must be followed in one particular way. The original vision of the Paul Hamlyn Foundation for Musical Futures was to involve students who had a musical interest with those that did not, or those that had become either disinterested or disenchanted. To put them in a space of their own, to assist without interference by involving non formal and informal learning and teaching strategies to establish an approach to music education that fully engaged all young people - including those who had no prior musical experience or interest - through embracing a variety of non-formal and informal teaching and learning strategies. During the trial years of Musical Futures (2004-2006) the three original education authority members of Hertfordshire, Leeds and Nottingham Leeds, developed the models and strategies that were designed to enable participation, for all young people, in meaningful and sustained musical activity.

Musical Futures state that the models that emerged provided practical, replicable ideas for both in and outside the classroom work, and have the following in common:

Students are involved in the co-construction of ideas, activities and in some cases curriculum

Students' existing musical interests are used as a starting point to motivate and engage,

Students experience practical, and where possible, authentic music making, using real instruments, in real performing situations

In- and out-of-school musical experiences are connected

Students work through a variety of learning styles, ensuring that all are following the most appropriate music learning pathways

Aural learning is fully integrated with practical music making, improvising and composing

Teachers and practitioners often re-evaluate their teaching and learning styles to act as facilitators, through showing rather than telling, guiding and modelling rather than instructing

They now go on to say that following these trials and subsequent expansion of the philosophy of Musical Futures, the practice generally falls into two categories, 'non formal teaching' a technique drawn from community music workshop settings. and 'informal learning' the processes and practices of popular musicians, replicating the ways in which young beginner popular musicians learn.

Since the culmination of the pathfinder years, Musical Futures has evolved from a project, into an approach to teaching and learning that anybody can take on. There is no official sign-up process, rather teachers and practitioners develop and adapt the models, ideas and philosophy to suit their teaching situations, and most importantly individual students and young people. The open-source nature of Musical Futures means that it is a continually-evolving approach, with new ideas emerging constantly.

Where Musical Futures works well, it is used as an underlying philosophy to inform all that a teacher/practitioner does - i.e. personalised learning, drawing on a range of informal learning styles; involving students in the co-construction of musical activity and curriculum design; making music learning as practical and involved as possible; drawing on local expertise (i.e. bringing musicians to the classroom from local communities, or using on older musicians within the school as role models and peer leaders). Where it is used least successfully, it is viewed as a scheme of work, without any particular thought for what is needed to prepare students for Musical Futures, or to support them afterwards.

All Musical Futures work in the classroom can be supported by free, self-publishing website NUMU (http://www.numu.org.uk), which enables young people to upload their music in a safe, regulated environment.

Musical Futures continues to grow, and now focuses on: exploring ongoing ways of supporting teachers and practitioners who are already implementing Musical Futures, or who plan to do so; encouraging and supporting schools who wish to take on Musical Futures; and embedding Musical Futures as a music education approach in Music Services, Local Authorities, Universities and other organisations. The Institute of Education are currently carrying out a three-year longitudinal study of the long-term impact of Musical Futures on individual students musical and other learning over a three year period (primarily from Year 8-Year 10). Musical Futures now has the endorsement of ex-Police star, and ex-teacher Sting, who is the global patron of the initiative and who feels that the approaches to learning music correlate greatly with his own experiences. Musical Futures also has started to spread overseas - notably by overseas colleagues getting hold of the materials and adapting the models themselves, but more recently the NAMM Foundation and the Australian Music Association have committed funding to launch 'Musical Futures Australia', which will begin in 18 schools during the forthcoming year.

In the United Kingdom, where it all started, the theory is fine. There are alternatives? There are still objections? There are still problems? The biggest one of which is finance, surprisingly not necessarily at the bottom of the ladder i.e. Local Authority Education funding and Government Funding. It would be a brave Minister of State to stand up in Parliament and cancel all music education funding. It would be an equally brave Council Leader to do the same. What might have an extreme effect on the expansion and development of Musical Futures, is at the top of the ladder i.e. The Universities.

Day by day, more universities are declaring maximum or near maximum course charges. A student wishing to take their music qualifications to university and obtain their degree, must have to think long and hard about 3 year degree course fees of £27,000.00 plus £15,000.00 accommodation plus food and clothing. This could have a serious effect on a student's choice of music as their subject at an earlier stage of their learning. Historically musicians are low earners in the early years of whatever career path they take, the sums involved achieving the university qualifications they will need are quite considerable. Whilst funding is available, at present, there appears to be no guarantee that this will be ongoing and this could well have a considerable impact on a student's choice of a musical education, no matter how attractive the classroom atmosphere appears.