Monday 14 November 2022

The Ivors Academy's survey of acclaimed composers reveals the importance of music education

Graham Davies, Chief Executive of The Ivors Academy.
Graham Davies, Chief Executive of The Ivors Academy.
To mark 20 years of The Ivors Composer Awards, The Ivors Academy surveyed 319 acclaimed classical, jazz and sound art composers about their music education. The majority studied music at school, had opportunities to learn an instrument, the chance to perform music when growing up and many now teach as part of their career.

  •  96% learned one or more instruments as a child
  • 94% had opportunities to perform music when young
    • Of those that did perform, over 50 composers had opportunities at school or in their local area
  • 64% of respondents attended a state-funded school
  • 21% had a bursary to go to an independent school
  • 83% studied music to A Level
    • There has been a long-term decline in the number of A Level Music entrants in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, in 2012 there were 7,655 compared to 5,916 in 2022
  • over 60% had received at least one commission from the BBC or one of its ensembles 
  • 44% of respondents said that commissions have decreased in frequency since the start of their career
  • 46% said per-minute commission fees had either decreased or stayed the same
  • a third of respondents said it had become harder to start a career as a composer, 75% said they would still become a composer if they were starting out today. 
The results are illuminating and confirm what we all probably felt was the case, that early music education is important and that the government's lack of emphasis on music and the arts in education, including opportunities for those from families with limited resources, will likely have a deleterious effect on Britain's future musicians.

Graham Davies, Chief Executive of The Ivors Academy said, "Composers are voicing concerns about the impact of changes to funding and the long-term decline of music education in state schools. We need to bring music back into every school and community, and ensure stable, long-term funding for the UK’s enviable cultural institutions and venues."

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