Channel 4 has commissioned production company Fresh One to make a three-part series in which pianist James Rhodes launches this country’s biggest ever ‘instrument amnesty’, aiming to ‘to get Britain playing again’.
Rhodes has been working with residents of Basildon, hoping to build a case study which will help launch a nationwide campaign on music education.
One school featured in the series has a music budget of £2.20 per child per year, and the series highlights music’s absence from the list of criteria by which Ofsted judge schools’ performance, ‘with predictable results for its place in the list of priorities’.
‘Music has an undeniable, proven positive impact on self-esteem, discipline, teamwork, numeracy, behavioural problems and confidence,’ says Rhodes. ‘The fact that it has all but disappeared from the majority of our state schools is as shocking as it is appalling.’
The programme will follow Rhodes as he works with a Basildon primary school which at its last Ofsted inspection was put into special measures. Rhodes’ efforts to bring music into the school are hindered by its lack of instruments ‒ hence The Great Instrument Amnesty, in which Rhodes asked residents of the town to donate their instruments to the school.