November 25, 2004
Jessica Duchen on personal fibre

Jessica Duchen writes:

… I'm working on a piece for BBC Music Magazine's education issue comparing the merits of different types of schooling for budding musicians in Britain. I've talked to 5 musicians so far and am about to talk to another 2 or 3. So far, the following points have leapt out at me:

1. Nobody under the age of 35 has yet had a good word to say about music provision in UK state schools.

2. Most of the musicians who went to a conservatoire say that they regret not having gone to university.

3. Most of the musicians who went to university said it was very, very hard to combine academic work with enough practising.

4. Private education at a good school today costs an absolute fortune, even if you win a 'music scholarship'.

I'm reaching the conclusion that what counts is really only your personal fibre. If you've got the guts and the determination, it doesn't matter where you study. All these places are getting it wrong in their own sweet ways. Self-reliance is the only possible answer.

So: all schools are rubbish, and only if you put yourself in charge of your own education have you much of a hope of doing what you want successfully, and only then in spite of whatever school fate has dealt you.

Sounds about right.

This is certainly true: that pupils who have a sincere desire to be something they are willing to tell you about are a whole hell of a lot easier to teach than the ones who, when asked, shrug their shoulders and say, whether sincerely or just because they think it's none of your damn business: "Don't know."

Posted by Brian Micklethwait at 09:31 PM
Category: Music