UK Music Education hit hard by COVID, study finds

Music lessons and extra-curricular activities are not a priority during the pandemic, it found.

Kid learning how to play guitar

Image: Jaromír Chalabala / Alamy

The Incorporated Society of Music (ISM) has published a report entitled The Heart of the School Is Missing, which examines the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on music education in schools across the UK. Its findings, as the report’s title implies, show that music education is being greatly reduced in the face of the pandemic.

The report found that 68% of primary school and 39% of secondary school teachers stating that music provision is being reduced. On top of this, extra-curricular activities such as bands are no longer taking place at all in 72% of primary schools and 66% of secondary schools this academic year.

The music industry has already been impacted incredibly hard by the pandemic. The report seems to go against the idea that ‘it will all be back to normal’ when case numbers decrease and the vaccine rollouts begin. Instead, the music industry could be impacted for years to come, thanks to a sharp dip in the amount of music education being offered across the board.

You can read the full report here. Additionally, ISM Chief Executive Deborah Annetts wrote a blog in response to the report’s findings – where she said: “Studying music must not become the preserve of the privileged few but this research has highlighted worrying inequalities for pupils at a local and national level.

“In particular, tighter restrictions in Scotland have prevented pupils continuing lessons in the same way that their peers have elsewhere in the UK. Elsewhere, a postcode lottery has developed for the cost of instrumental tuition which is contributing to an unacceptable and widening gap between those who could afford instrumental tuition and those who could not.”

For more industry news, click here.


Get the latest news, reviews and features to your inbox.


The world’s leading authority and resource for all things guitar.

Join our mailing list

Sign Up Now

© 2023 is part of NME Networks.