Letter: Futility of learning by rote

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The Independent Online
Sir: "I can imagine the outcry from Ofsted if a school said `Sorry, we do not have time to teach music because we are concentrating on the basics' ", complains Peter Brinton (Letters, 4 June).

A Swiss survey of 1,200 seven to 15-year-olds (reported in New Scientist, 18 May) found that children who had five music lessons per week performed better at language, and no worse at maths, than children who had one or two music lessons per week - and were also better behaved.

More research may be needed, but this certainly undermines Mr Brinton's unwritten assumption that extra time spent on "the basics" is the best way to improve children's competence in them.

JOHN A CRAM

Leeds

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