Music Ed Funding - "You can't get a Starbucks cappuccino for that."

Looks like the struggle to increase arts funding is not unique to the United States. Across the pond in the U.K., students and schools are facing the same funding issues we have and are finding new and creative ways to increase available funding. 

One such campaign instigated by classical pianist James Rhodes is focused on redistributing what he calls "musical wealth", or redistributing donated instruments to those who cannot afford them. He claims that in schools, music lessons are seen as something that is a luxury; only those with families wealthy enough to pay for them can take them, leaving less fortunate students out of the picture. Drawing from his own childhood experience, he claims: 

"Music has an undeniable, proven positive impact on self-esteem, discipline, teamwork, numeracy, behavioural problems and confidence."

Rhodes has seen conditions so extreme as one school where the music budget per student was £2.20, or about $3.65. To this he responds: "You can't get a Starbucks cappuccino for that." 

The point is clear: it's not enough. There are schools where students have the drive and desire to create music. These are schools where students use dustpans and trash bins to create music on their own due to lack of quality instruments and instruction. These are schools that need more funding and where music needs to be viewed, not as a luxury, but as an essential part of a student's education. 

As part of his project, currently dubbed the Great Instrument Amnesty, he is using a three-part television series, set to air this coming fall, to lobby the government for greater funding by showing the ridiculous state of music education in some schools. He hopes that the clout and reach of the TV station, Channel 4, combined with his powerful message will be enough to get attention of ministers in the government and lead to a greater realization about the need for increased arts funding in schools. 

We wish James Rhodes the best and commend him on his efforts. His struggle is our struggle: one that is fighting to show those in control of funding that the arts matter. Let's not forget that Massachusetts isn't alone in this fight and continue doing our best to keep up our creative efforts to get arts institutions the funding they deserve. 

Read the full article here on The Guardian's website! 

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