To the parent of a young musician

I don’t think B will be the kind of musician conventional teaching can help. She's very musical but in musical academe music reading is the be-all & end-all; and I don’t think she's ever going to find that easy. In any case I suspect her whole interest is geared towards popular music, and around here I haven’t discovered a single school I know of with a music department with the staff or attitude capable of taking her in that direction.

So where to go? Apart from the Brit School in Croydon & LIPA in Liverpool I don’t of anywhere that offers the popular music equivalent of Wells. Most of the major public schools do now have proper recording studios etc but we'd be talking about the £33k+ bracket, and I'm afraid B isn't yet in the scholarship bracket.
The problem is one of demand: popular music doesn’t lend itself to academicism, ergo most people do it in spite of not because of school (which is really just as it should be!), ergo schools aren't geared up to offer it. Where there is a high standard of music it will generally be because there is a far-sighted HofM who has made it his life’s work to develop a virtuous circle by picking good teachers (& paying them properly) who in turn attract talented pupils who win awards thereby raising the school’s reputation and so retaining the excellent teachers. But even this can be ruined in two years if the school appoints an eejit as a replacement.
There are more choices at VIth form. And it may be that B is better off staying where she is now, but planning ahead for where she wants to go in (… do they now call it?) Year 13. There used to be a super music course at Andover FE, run by a guy who went on to become H of Kb at the RNCM, but when he left they appointed a deadhead & so it went back to being averagely rubbish.
But even if you think you’ve found somewhere suitable it’s not easy. I'll tell you a true story. Someone I know had an attractive & bright personality but utterly unacademic son, so after struggling at a number of schools where regardless of expense he managed a couple of GCSEs at most, my friend sent him to a private so-called technology college. At the end of the first year his parents were called to see the Head, who very politely asked them not to send the boy back for the second year as he was predicted to get no A levels, and the school couldn’t afford to see its OFSTED ratings dragged down. So be warned, it aint easy no matter how much you pay!  

I see all this with incredulity & can't imagine just how out of touch with the needs of young these so-called professionals can be? The real problem tho is that educrats everywhere are mesmerised by ‘solutions’, namely imposed curriculums & constant quantification. It could be different but just about every government (& this one more than most) believes that the answer to educational ‘standards’ is to rain new initiatives down on schools on a weekly basis and terrorise the very people who, if given a free hand, would improve children’s education. 
There simply isn't an answer that I can see, unless you're fortunate enough to live near a good school. Maybe we’re near the high water mark of this strange exam-mania? 

If one is the only one marching in step it’s hard to work out why noonelse is! But it just seems to be this herd phenomenon in human nature (last seen in the bankers) that as long as everyone’s all wrong at the same time then noone is to blame, and ’noone’ could have foreseen disaster looming. I just think we're stoking a social timebomb by failing to understand the needs of kids & forcing them throu an educational system which prescribes the hoops they must all jump throu uniformly, yet deprives them of the opportunity to take personal responsibility for actually doing so. I just try to help those who come to me to develop their uniqueness so that it helps them to find themselves. That’s what I can't forgive conventional education for failing to do.  
I rant like this because I constantly think: it really can't be that hard to get it right if you look in the right direction - & yet apparently it is, especially since the world is looking in completely the wrong direction at the present time! But mutatis mutandis!

My observation of B is that she is 'too willing' accept goals set by others. For her to consider any sort of career as a musician she would need to be able to evolve & meet her own goals. For instance, altho we are struggling with & will doubtless master our current piece - which will have a valuable effect on her piano technique; she needs simultaneously to begin to think entirely outside such boxes. I don’t see much evidence that she has begun to do that, & that above anything will come to define her ‘will to self-realise’. That’s the bit we need to make grow if she's to do anything more than fanny about with music. But it’s impossible to force this without adverse consequences.

The important thing to remember is that every plant unfolds at its own rate. Nowadays we have a neurotic obsession that everyone has to accomplish everything at least 2(0) years before they're ready to. S is 31, and it’s taken her 10 years of an exiguous existence after college where she won prizes as a classical performer to evolve into the persona that is now being feted. All the time we'd nag at her about constantly running out of money & getting into scrapes, yet turning down the sort of work she that couldve made her a reasonable living in the background: but she would say ‘you just have to trust me.’  And because we both understand the process we did.

The heart knows its own joys best, nor can another share its sorrows. If that sentence doesn’t resonate for a creative artist, then they probably aren't one. Even the crudest entertainer must have something of the need to seek validation of hir inner world by expressing it to others & getting some kind of response. No amount of book learning provides this: indeed it probably suppresses it. But that’s what needs to precede anything.

What interests me is that all these questions which appear to be merely educational are, in the broadest sense, spiritual. WITS that they are about imaginative or non-materialistic reality: and that is the desperate loss in contemporary education - that humans are more than a quantisation of their productive capacity.

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