Don't Stop the Music, Channel 4 - TV review


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The Independent Culture

Don't Stop the Music is a show that's full of impetus. After last year's Notes from the Inside, classical pianist James Rhodes is fast replacing Jamie Oliver as Channel 4's most impassioned social justice campaigner. This two-parter, which concluded last night, follows Rhodes and the children at St Teresa's primary school in Basildon, Essex, as they fight to save music education. The school's budget for music teaching is exactly zilch, and that's hardly unusual. According to Rhodes, nearly a third of British primaries give children no opportunity to play instruments, while a newly mandated focus on "dead German men" in the music curriculum is causing staffroom grumbles. Here comes Rhodes to the rescue.

If you don't already appreciate the value of music in education, there was plenty in Don't Stop the Music to persuade you. The pitiful sight of a nine-year-old trying to learn percussion on a yoghurt pot, for one. But, also, if you don't appreciate the value of music in education, what's wrong with you? As is often the case in school-set documentaries, it was the children who spoke the most sense: "You've got to let kids have instruments because everyone likes music," said one little girl. "If anyone don't like music, that's just a shocker."