Press

17.05.2015

Interview: The Sunday Times, Music in Schools Feature

We’re lost in music

The subject, sidelined by the coalition, should be given special status in all state schools, the violin prodigy Nicola Benedetti tells Sian Griffiths

Sian Griffiths

Nicola Benedetti rehearses with pupils at Highbury Grove School last weekend in a scheme she hopes will spread nationwide

Nicola Benedetti rehearses with pupils at Highbury Grove School last weekend in a scheme she hopes will spread nationwide (Akira Suemori)

NICOLA BENEDETTI is standing amid a sea of children playing orchestral instruments in a school hall in north London.

“Use your whole arm to get the sound,” she says, sweeping her bow across the strings of a violin.

Tiny and vivacious, Benedetti is one of those performers it is impossible to ignore. Last Saturday the award winning violinist was rehearsing with children at Highbury Grove School. Two days later she led them in a concert at the capital’s Barbican concert hall, in an orchestra drawn from two of six schools taking part in an unusual musical experiment.

At the end of the performance the 27-year-old gave a speech about music and its place in education.

“Music shouldn’t be seen as just another subject added to the already overwhelming school day, but instead as the one subject that permeates all the others,” she told the audience at the Barbican. “It deals