Recently, an ex-student of mine telephoned me to say that he was at his wits’ end. As a secondary music teacher, he is doing great things in his high school – breadth and depth of repertoire, singing-based programmes and strong instrumental work. However, his children attending the local State primary school, are experiencing something quite different.

The children, aged five to 12, are given a teacher, who, despite having skills in only one discipline, must teach the same group of...

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