There’s an interesting article in today’s Telegraph by cultural critic Frank Furedi entitled ‘Music Matters too Much to be Made Easy’. It’s rabble-rousing stuff – which makes sense when you read the footnote that this is the text of Furedi’s keynote speech for the Cheltenham Music Festival. This note also explains why Furedi, who confesses at the start that he knows ‘very little’ about music, chose it as his subject, when in fact he could be talking about any cultural activity here. There’s very little that is exclusively music-related, and much of it preaches to the choir. But Furedi does make at least one excellent point on the current failure to balance respect for other cultural conventions and values with respect for our own:
The Assessment and Qualifications Alliance’s GCSE specification for music states that the curriculum will enhance students’ “ability to appreciate music” in a way that “reflects knowledge of cultural and spiritual contexts and sensitivity to the values and conventions of others”.
Gaining sensitivity to the “values and conventions of others” is an admirable objective. But what about the values of the students and of their community? While this guideline makes constant references to the “values of others”, it is silent about “our” values.