2018 Inaugural Gala Speech

The following words are the body of Restore The Music UK CEO Polly Moore’s opening speech at the Inaugural Gala Fundraiser of Restore the Music UK on 10th May 2018. This was in the presence of Michael Ellis MP, the Minister for Arts, Heritage and Tourism.

I am delighted to have this opportunity to bring the vision of Restore the Music UK to a wider audience and to explain and clarify why exactly our programme is so needed by the young people of today.

But first – a look at the numbers:

You may already know that the music industry contributed £4.4bn to the UK economy in 2016,
But did you know that only 15% of all 15 yr olds learn an instrument in school?

You may also already know that live music is worth over £1 billion to the UK economy,
But did you know that only 7.4% of students nationally take GCSE music?

The average Londoner spends two and a half hours a day listening to music; and in 2016, one in every eight album sales was by a British artist – we are second only to the US as the largest music exporter globally.

And yet, when I walk in to schools, I see empty instrument cupboards, drum kits with holes in, pianos falling apart in front of my eyes, unrepairable wind instruments, and broken recorders passed amongst dozens of classes.

The contrast between what we, as a nation, are actually achieving, and the resource we are allocating to musical education, has never been so great.

There is little opportunity to take ownership of an instrument – or to enjoy the feeling of pride that comes from mastering the difficult new language of music.

For us, it was clear from the start that, for Restore the Music UK to have any meaningful impact, it had to direct its funding towards changing the face of this landscape, by getting back to basics and rebuilding the physical provision of music within schools. Only by doing this could we achieve our goal of ensuring hands-on access to music for every child across the UK.

We have just closed our 2018 application round and can now count 25 schools as grantees – that means we have awarded over £700,000 in funding and we have reached over 19,000 children.

But the truth is that we have only just begun on this mission to change the face of music provision – to ensure that music remains the birthright of every child and not just the preserve of the privileged few.

Indeed, in London alone, there at least 1,500 primary and secondary schools whose Pupil Premium and Free School Meal percentages would make them eligible applicants for a Restore The Music UK grant. This means we need to raise £17 million if we are to achieve our goal of music for every child.

And that’s just London.

This charity exists because schools need our help in filling the gaping holes where a music department budget should be.

And why are we so bothered? Why is funding music for every child so important to us?

The simple answer is that life as we know it is inconceivable without music. It is the symphony without the orchestra, the discord without the harmony, the black and white without the colour.

We know that music is the only truly global language – one which offers us the promise of a dialogue which crosses all nationalities, regardless of colour, race, gender or religion.

The message we are delivering through our grants is that all children deserve the opportunity to experience music in all its greatness. To play with it, to revel in it, to experiment with it, and most of all, to enjoy a life filled with it.

But if you are still doubtful about the need to fund the provision of music in schools, you need look no further than our annual Battle of the Bands in July. A celebration of musicianship and team work, this competition provides the best illustration of why Restore the Music UK works and why it is so needed.

We are helping schools offer a resource to their students which will offer them an alternative, and develop a powerful dimension in their lives.

Our mission now is to raise money to allow us to grow our programme, to fund more schools, to spread music through every pocket across the capital, and to make sure that every child has a very real opportunity to be part of this incredible world.

For further information, please contact CEO Polly Moore on polly@restorethemusicuk.com.

Please donate to Restore The Music UK via our Justgiving.co.uk page.