6 April 2021

It's the perfect time to announce schools' new music curriculum, says Julian Lloyd Webber

By Lark Music
Julian Lloyd Webber playing cello with girl

The Department for Education’s new Model Music Curriculum, announced on March 26, will refresh music lessons for Key Stages 1, 2 and 3.

The plan aims to support all pupils in their musical progression from Year 1 and will encourage pupils to listen to classical music from Beethoven to Tchaikovsky, rock ‘n’ roll’s Little Richard and Elvis Presley, jazz from Nina Simone and modern classics such as Queen.

Children will be introduced to beat, rhythm and pitch, through to secondary school where more technical aspects of music will be introduced such as quavers, treble clefs, staccato and legato.

Julian Lloyd Webber, one of 15 music education specialists who developed the programme, told Lark Music: “It’s a perfect time to announce this because the pandemic has shown that at times of crisis, at times of people’s difficulties in their lives – music can be a sustaining thing. People turn towards music as a great source of comfort and also joy.

“There were lots of people who really gave up a lot of time to work on the new curriculum. It’s quite a piece of work, not least the list of reference music.

“Hopefully, as well as enthusing children it will enthuse teachers because they’re going to investigate these links which are so easy to find. It’s just advice – they don’t have to stick to that, if they find something they think is more suitable for their classes, they can use that. It’s a stimulation really.

“This is a ‘very strong recommendation’ for at least one hour of music a week. Headteachers should take notice of that. It is down to them about how much they are determined to have music in their schools. That is the change and it could well lead to more music teachers being required in schools.

“It’s wholly positive as it will only encourage more music for children. It’s even open to the children to say, ‘Hey, what about this one?’. So, I think it’s exciting.”

Webber, who recently hosted Classic FM’s Rising Stars programme featuring talented young musicians, said: “In the discussions I’ve had with Schools Minister Nick Gibb, it’s very much to his credit that he actually wants this to work without making everything compulsory. He is concerned about ordering schools to do things.

“There will also be a budget to help towards buying instruments and I am also involved with other organisations such as Restore the Music which supports schools with equipment and funds. I also chair Sistema England and we get a lot of people donating instruments or sometimes offering to buy them. We make sure that they are distributed, often through In Harmony, an Arts Council-supported scheme that inspires children in deprived communities through ensemble music-making.

“Something that comes through this curriculum is that music is fun, it’s something to be enjoyed. It’s not stuffy at all.

“There’s a definite feeling about the importance of the arts. Ofsted recognises that for schools to be outstanding they have to have cultural aspects, too. It’s all about children, not about adults arguing which piece of music should be on the list, or whether we should be learning some basic notations, it’s not about that.

“Let’s face it, it’s an hour a week, better than nothing. It will be a lesson in a class; it will be a period in the school day where the children will actually be looking forward to it.

“I don’t think we’ll ever be in a position where we really say ‘It’s all sorted’, there’s always more that can be done. This is about giving children the joy of music and introducing them to something that can be a wonderful thing in their lives. And in one or two cases they want to actually go on to do it.”

For further information visit

Watch an exclusive clip

Julian Lloyd Webber assures teachers that the new Model Music Curriculum is simply laid out and helpful for teachers.