Schools to award medals for learning instruments

Music "medals" are to be introduced as part of a radical overhaul of the way musical instruments are taught in schools.

Music "medals" are to be introduced as part of a radical overhaul of the way musical instruments are taught in schools.

In the biggest review in music exams for a century, children will be examined as they play in a group, rather than the current one-on-one test.

Due for launch this week, the music medals will mean that children as young as six who learn to play instruments such as the recorder for as little as a year can have their skill recognised with the new qualification.

From September, the medals will run alongside graded exams, the traditional measure of musical ability, which were introduced in 1889.

The launch will be attended by David Miliband, the Schools minister, who is due to launch the Government's "music manifesto" shortly. Charles Clarke, the Secretary of State for Education, has pledged to do more to give every child the chance to play a musical instrument.

The percussionist Evelyn Glennie, the flautist Sir James Galway, the cellist Julian Lloyd Webber and the composer Michael Kamen met Mr Clarke last year to discuss their "grave concern" about the "increasing marginalisation" of music teaching in schools.

The new music medals, aimed at six to 13-year-olds, will be available in five levels: copper, bronze, silver, gold and platinum. Assessment will be made by teachers instead of external examiners.The scheme was developed after five years' research by the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music.

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