Research, reported in the Guardian, has shown that learning an instrument at school has knock on benefits in other areas of learning. Does this sound at all familiar to anyone? This time the UK government 'hopes to double the number of children' in primary schools learning an instrument by 2011. The bad news is that there will be an election next year that only the most roseate Labour supporter thinks the incumbents can win. So a great time for making promises then.
Perhaps the new government, of whatever political persuasion, will at last take some notice both of this research and all the other studies that have been made in the past. If you sense a lack of optimism on my part it's because many people struggle with the idea that something recreational, like music, can be of educational benefit beyond its own sphere. No amount of evidence is likely to overturn this fundamental prejudice. I just hope there are enough forward-thinking head teachers out there prepared to give it a try. There's really no need to wait for yet another government initiative.