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volume 2
july 1999

The economic importance of music in the European Union


  6. Music in education
  by Dave Laing
  In September 1996 the European Music Office published its report on "Music in Europe". The first part of this study, written by Dave Laing, describes the economic importance of music in the European Union. This is the sixth chapter of his study, treating the subject of music in education.

1 Music's role in education. Music plays a role in education at every level within the European Union. Although each country has a different educational structure, music is part of the curriculum in general education provided by the state up to the age of 14 or 16. There are also numerous private music schools and a smaller number of conservatoires which provide training for musicians who wish to enter the musical profession as an instrumentalist or singer.
2 Employment of music teachers. In many countries, the employment opportunities for musicians provided by the education system are almost as great as those provided by the music industry. Finland has about 1,400 music teachers compared with 4,000, mostly part-time, musicians. [41] In most countries, many musicians and composers combine teaching with performing in order to earn a living. A study of music employment in a small area of England in 1990 found that 685 out of 2,700 musicians, 25% of the total, earned all or part of their income from teaching. The equivalent UK national figure for persons employed in music teaching was calculated to be about 43,000. [42]
Table 6.1: Conservatoires and other music colleges (source: EMO, Ministry of Culture (France, Spain), Arts Council of England)
  Number of colleges Number of students Number of teachers Funding
Finland 12 2,600 n/a 47.0
France 133 135,147 3,348 288.4
Spain 22 4,500 n/a n/a
United Kingdom 4 2,000 n/a 18.6
3 Conservatoires. All European Union countries have specialist conservatoires for the training of instrumentalists and singers. Most students at these institutions intend to enter the music profession or to become teachers of music. Figure 6.1 gives the published information from four EU countries. Because official definitions of different categories of colleges and conservatoires, these do not provide a fully comparable picture. For example, the UK statistics cover only the four largest training institutions while those for France include all specialist music colleges. The cost of the two principal French conservatoires in 1994 was 1.8 million ECU's.
4 Popular music education. There is a slowly growing provision of training in jazz and other musical genres as well as in music business studies. In France, 177 (5%) of the teachers in music colleges specialized in jazz and 59 (2%) in traditional music. [43]
Some of the popular music education is provided within established institutions but new institutions have also been opened to supply vocational and academic courses. Examples are the "Freiburg Jazz & Rock Schule" in Germany and the "Liverpool Institute for the Performing Arts" in the UK. A survey by the British Phonographic Industry found that there were over 80 courses of various levels available in the UK for students of the music business, instrumental skills and music technology. [44] However, compared with the United States, Europe has very few high-level training and education centres for musicians in the popular music sector.
41. Survey on the Economic Situation and Social Status of the Artist in Finland. op. cit. Return to text
42. Cummins, Linda (1992), Further Mapping of Occupational Areas in the Music Sector. London: Arts and Entertainment Training Council, 1992. Return to text
43. Les Ecoles de Musique et de Danse Activité. Paris: Ministère de la Culture, 1995. Return to text
44. Music Education Directory '96. London: BPI, 1996. Return to text
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