The Shadow Education Secretary Stephen Twigg delivered a...
- Education Professionals
Children need culture not celebrity
One of Britain’s best young violinists, Nicola Benedetti, a former BBC Young Musician of the Year, has said that many children are “aimless” and do not understand the value of hard work.
Nicola Benedetti, 25, from Ayrshire, has performed at the BBC Proms, and secured a £2 million recording deal aged only 16.
“Now, more than ever, we need a cultural identity for youth in this country,” she said. “If children don’t have very strong parenting and don’t have an activity to replace the aimlessness that can go on after school hours, they end up accepting what’s shoved in their face. Which is celebrity culture and this obsessive chasing to become famous.”
She attributes her success to the values instilled in her by her father, Gio, a self-made millionaire with a chain of dry cleaners who emigrated from Italy to Scotland as a child. At 10, she left home to attend the Yehudi Menuhin School in Surrey, and says that, while she missed her family, she was most excited by playing the violin. She practises for five hours a day, and said she could not understand those who complain about having to work hard.
She will perform three times during this season’s BBC Proms, including the Last Night, and said that although her life was hectic she finds solace in music. Benedetti is keen to bridge the divide between popular and classical music.
Benedetti, who believes that the more “exposure” classical music gets, the “better it is for humanity”, said she was “furious” about the standard of music education and feared that funding cuts would have a “catastrophic” impact on the future of Britain.
Earlier this year, Ofsted reported that children were being prevented from playing instruments in music lessons as classes were increasingly turned over to tedious writing exercises. Inspectors found that music teaching was not good enough in almost two thirds of primaries and secondaries.