Music in the Schools

Philippe Thanh 02/10/2017
Before the summer, the Minister of National Education had already expressed his wish for a choir to be set up in every school and to create partnerships between schools, conservatories and orchestral associations. A novelty ? Not really…

Back in 2000, Jack Lang, then Minister of National Education, along with Catherine Tasca, Minister of Culture, had already announced a five-year plan for arts and culture at school, wishing in particular for “singing in every class and a choral in each school”. We know what happened since, between changes of government and budget constraints.

Seventeen years later, those plans are back on the drawing-board. One can only hope that this new plan will have time to bear fruit. "We should allow time for projects to prove their worth before they are eliminated," a 2005 parliamentary report on the Lang-Tasca plan noted without irony.

But let’s be optimistic. France has more than 63,000 primary and secondary schools. According to the ministry’s figures, these institutions receive more than 12 million students. It is therefore 63,000 choirs that should be born in the territory of the Republic. Even if all the students do not take part, we can imagine that many of them (with an average of 50 singers per school, we would exceed 3 million singers!) will have the opportunity to practice music each year.

A survey of 2015, carried out on behalf of the association Europa Cantat, revealed that France has 2.6 million singers divided into 65,600 choirs. In just a few years, the number of choirs could double in our country! Just like the choristers... not to mention the rejuvenation of the audience.

After so many years of waiting, this implication of the Ministry of National Education - which affects infinitely more young people than do the conservatories and the associations working along these lines can affect, starting with the Demos program, will obviously have considerable leverage.

For it is possible to imagine that some of these schoolchildren will maintain the desire to practice choral singing, the desire to listen to music, to transmit and share this pleasure with their own children...

It remains to hope that we do not stop in the midst of this promising path and that we go on to create an orchestra in every school. Just a bit more effort, Mister Minister!

Version française, cliquer ici.

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