Musical Futures - Transforming Music Education

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This paper investigates the introduction and effectiveness of Musical Futures in Music teaching and how the influence of this new approach in schools might improve the involvement of 11 to 18 year old students who otherwise have become disenchanted with musical involvement. [1] The paper also looks at the history of the Paul Hamlyn Foundation and its founder Lord Hamlyn [2] , his background and motives for initiating Musical Futures as a methodology for teaching music

Using case study observations, newspaper and magazine articles, internet sites and OFSTED [3] reports, this paper will research the principle of Musical Futures as marketed by the Paul Hamlyn Foundation. There are no actual books published on this new pedagogy, however the Paul Hamlyn Foundation have made available a large number of free pamphlets which can be downloaded from their web site [4] . The books referred to in this paper are related to teaching styles, historical development of music teaching, computerisation in schools and the problems associated with maintaining the interest in music of school children between 11 and 18.

The author has checked the reliability of the evidence presented to ensure that there is more than a one-off finding and be inherently repeatable. The authority and validity of the evidence and arguments presented have been checked by examining the basic source of the material and by cross referencing to similar sources where possible. The dissertation has been checked for punctuation, accuracy and plagiarism before submission.

There are three additional key factors which are also explored in this essay. Firstly, due to its relevance, is the definition of the word futures, not only to the principles of Musical Futures but to Lord Hamlyn and his motives. The second is the involvement of computers and their ever increasing technological development and to what extent music education is effected with the introduction of this style of teaching using information and communication technology (ICT) as an alternative to traditional face to face tutor centred learning. The third being the financial constraints that have recently been placed on educational development by the government, local authorities and universities, where successful music students might be expected to evolve to.

Chapter 1 Historical Perspective

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 be look afresh at music activities, and to reverse the perceived disenchantment with that age group in music. [5] 

Musical Futures is designed not to be a scheme of work. It is a series 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 [6] , after research into examples of the work ethic, indicated that schools using Musical Futures, typically witnessed a wide range of benefits when implementing the approaches, including increased uptake of music GCSE and improved behaviour.


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.

Music Services can provide crucial support networks, as well as local advice, guidance and links to equipment and practitioners to schools taking on Musical Futures.

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, setting up Music for Pleasure records as a joint venture with EMI, 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 focus for his charitable interests, and is now 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 a annual basis

The Musical Futures initiative began in 2003 when the Paul Hamlyn Foundation sought to find a new and imaginative way of engaging young people, aged 11-18, in music activities. The starting point for Musical Futures was to understand 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 is not only a passion for many young people, but plays a big part in shaping their social identity.

The whole of the Musical Futures project is dedicated to the memory of Jane Attenborough [7] , 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.

Her Trust supports a wide range of projects in memory of Paul Hamlyn. Projects supported benefit people, including young people, in the UK, mainly through the arts and education, and people in India.  The Trust's activities fall within the aim and broad objectives of the Paul Hamlyn Foundation.

Ex teacher and Police star Sting [8] 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.

Sting indicated that he recognised the philosophy behind the project, and the importance of the 100% 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 Funding

At this point in the dissertation, because of the serious implications for music in the education funding stream, it is important to examine the latest information available relative to funding expenditure in schools. Whilst the Paul Hamlyn Foundation and subsequently the Lafdy Helen Hamlyn Trust are a source of funding support, the substantial majority of funding must come from Local Authority Education budgets. [9] 

In November 2010 The Federation of Music Services (FMS) whch represents 98% of all music services across the United Kingdom warned that the proposed financial cuts announced ahead of the governments initiated Henley Review [10] in 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. Remaining funding comes from central government's Music Grant (formerly the Music Standards Fund), 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 awaiting 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 will be triggered 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.

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

Chapter 3 Definitions

When writing a dissertation of this type, especially relating to a recent innovative subject 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 is important 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 principal of Musical Futures was launched by the Hamlyn Foundation in 2003. In his very detailed obituary in the Observer newspaper Nicholas Faith [11] 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 'future' as something that is going or expected to happen. It's second definition is as an adjective relating to the stock exchange and the sale of goods and stocks for future delivery i.e. commodities.

Once again, 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, only after generous donations to the labour party, helping them to return to power in 1998.

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 donaytions 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."

He showed from the 1970's his interests in social and educational questions, through private donations as well as through the Paul Hamlyn foundation. He gave £1m to the Bodleian Library in Oxford and promised to ensure that the former Reading Room in the British Museum would be properly furnished with books.

Many of his charitable initiatives were both populist and imaginative. For a decade he made an annual payment of £200,000 to Covent Garden, where he bought thousands of tickets every year that were then distributed extremely cheaply or even free to opera-lovers who could not otherwise have afforded the price of a seat; for a number of years he even took over the whole opera house for a week in pursuit of his policy of opera for the masses, as well as financing a visit by children from a home 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 author believes the background of this Jewish refugee with an impoverished childhood, who made good, was a genuine desire to help those who were not as fortunate as he had been, despite the reasons for that. The donations, at times appear to be definitely politically motivated. The ruthlessness of the man was totally apparent in his business dealings, yet his desire to help children, especially in music and in education 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 4 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 is three-year action research project in 2006 aimed at devising new and imaginative ways of engaging young people, aged 11-18, in music activities.

The Musical Futures Project was targeted initially at a small number of schools in three local authorities as a potential working sample. OFSTED [12] was asked to evaluate the scheme and make a subsequent report.

The target 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.

The schools visited benefited from a high level of support from senior managers, who wanted music to be more inclusive. They recognised the positive impact good quality music provision could have on every child and on the school as a whole. During the project, several schools extended the teaching principles across other class subjects. Schools were also actively encouraged to help other schools working in the project.

OFSTED subsequently reported that motivation for music increased significantly across the participating schools and students made good progress. However, their report indicated that progress needed better measurement criteria and that high levels of challenge needed to be sustained for all pupils.

In essence the introduction of the principles of Musical Futures was to establish a new pedagogy in the strategy of teaching, not only in music teaching but other subjects as well.

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

Motivation of both pupils and teachers increased significantly, which was having a marked positive impact on the whole school. A particular feature was how inclusive the project was, pupils responded positively to being treated equally as musicians.

Pupils made good progress in both models. 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 sometimes unclear and lacked sufficient challenge. There was insufficient intervention when some pupils were unable to benefit fully from the learning experiences.

The increased emphasis on personalised learning in some of the projects led to innovative planning and the development of new working relationships amongst pupils and between pupils and teachers.

The project provided an effective way to build on the increased emphasis on instrumental learning in Key Stage 2.

The support from senior managers, based on their desire to make music more inclusive, was a critical factor in the overall effectiveness of the project.

There were signs of increased take-up of music at GCSE level, although the number of schools involved in this sample was very small.

Musical Futures is a new way of thinking about music making in schools. It brings non-formal teaching and informal learning approaches into the more formal context of school. The principle of Musical Futures is based on the belief that music learning works best when young people are making music, and when their existing passion for music is reflected and built-upon in the classroom.

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

Musical Futures has to be adapted and adopted to suit the needs of each individual students - it isn't a one size fits all approach. However it is accepted that there are some core principles which underpin Musical Futures:

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, and Young Offenders Institutes and Pupil Referral Units. 

A teacher resource pack is now available as a download from However it is advised 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 6 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." (Page 135)

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 todays' changing world. It is successful mostly in giving children who can't grasp the material, a sense of failure. " (Page 137)

Chris Woodhead [13] (2002) stated, just before Musical Futures was launched, that he believed that traditional classroom teaching, inclusive of school uniform and manners were the way forward. In his introduction to Class Wars (2002 p ????) 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." (Page 6)

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 ( 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 ( 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 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 his/her 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 7 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 ??????. 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 which ????????. 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 8 Implications of new technology to musical education.

The 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 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/camera instant videoing can bring students together instantly and with a picture/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 they will always be obstacles for progress

Chapter 9 Conclusions

What impact can Musical Futures have in the classroom?

Recent research carried out on Musical Futures nationally, indicates that schools typically witness some or all of the following when implementing Musical Futures. 

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

Far more students engage in music participation;

The pedagogy helps students to become more confident with music making and raises self-esteem;

This confidence and improved self esteem 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.

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.

Taking on Musical Futures

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 (, which enables young people to upload their music in a safe, regulated environment.

What next for Musical Futures?

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 students choice of subject at an earlier stage of their learning.