Response to Charlotte C. Gill article on music and notation – full list of signatories

[Addendum: See my follow-up article to this, ‘The insidious class divide in music teaching’, The Conversation, 17 May 2017]


An article in The Guardian by Charlotte C. Gill (‘Music education is now only for the white and wealthy’, Monday 27 March 2017), has generated a good deal of attention amongst a wide range of international musicians, music educators, academics, and others. Below is the letter compiled for publication in The Guardian in response to Gill’s article, and a full list of over 700 signatories to date. The letter was compiled by Joan Arnau Pàmies, Kevin Korsyn, Franklin Cox, Barbara Eichner and myself, while Jim Aitchison, Marc Yeats, Camden Reeves and others have been extremely helpfully with its dissemination. It is published on the Guardian website here, and appeared in the print edition for Thursday 6 April 2017 (‘Risky romanticisation of musical illiteracy’, p. 32). Some replies are printed here.

Also recommended are the response to Gill’s article by Michelle James, and an earlier article on musical literacy by Peter Tregear. See also this excellent responses by Pamela Rose , this by Helen Sanderson,  this by George Bevan, this by George A. Smith, this by Christian Morris, and this by Frances Wilson. Also the coverage on Slipped Disc, in Limelight magazine, and on Arts Professionaland an article from the Latin Mass Society (of which James MacMillan, a signatory below, is a patron), focusing in particular on Gill’s comparison of reading music to learning Latin. Another recent blog article considers the article in the context of changing expectations in UK secondary education, while composer and teacher Des Oliver has made an important podcast with Tigran Arakelyan about the article, and I have also made an extended podcast with Arakelyan, considering the article and wider issues of musical education, notation, literacy, privilege, and more.

For an utterly contrasting view to that of Gill, strongly advocating reading (and sight reading), composition, and musical history, being available to all schoolchildren by right, see this 1945 pamphlet by the Workers’ Music Association (hardly the voice of the wealthy), especially pages 5-6. Speaking personally, I think many of the recommendations in this pamphlet are as relevant now as they were 72 years ago. I have also blogged an inspiring defence of the teaching of Western classical music and literacy by Estelle R. Jorgensen, which I believe to be highly relevant to this debate.

I will happily add other names to the list: if you wish to be added, please post underneath with your name and how you would like to be described.

[Earlier addendum material on related subjects is included at the bottom of this post – this and the above constitute my own thoughts, not those of the signatories]


Charlotte C. Gill (‘Music education is now only for the white and wealthy’) argues that ‘to enable more children to learn [music], we must stop teaching in such an academic way.’ While rightly noting the increasing chasm between state and private education in terms of music provision, her conclusions about musical notation and theoretical skills amount to simple anti-intellectualism.

Gill dismisses the study of music ‘theory’ and argues patronisingly that musical notation is ‘a cryptic, tricky language (…) that can only be read by a small number of people’. This claim flies in the face of countless initiatives over two centuries making musical literacy available to those of many backgrounds. As with written language, musical notation enables effective and accurate communication, as well as critical access to huge amounts of knowledge. In many musical fields, those without it will be at a deep disadvantage and dependent upon others.

Gill’s comments about ‘limited repertoires of old, mostly classical music’ are unfounded and presented without evidence: composing, listening, singing, and playing are embedded in much musical education, which also widely encompasses jazz, popular, and non-Western traditions. Claiming that classical music comprises a limited repertory is inaccurate: composers have been adding to its repertory for centuries and continue to do so. We agree with Gill that aural and other skills are equally important as those in notation. However, through her romanticisation of illiteracy, Gill’s position could serve to make literate musical education even more exclusive through being marginalised in state schools yet further.

Alex Abercrombie, pianist and mathematician
Louise Ableman, freelance pianist and piano teacher
Richard Abram, editor
Juliet Abrahamson, erstwhile music teacher, and festival director
Peter Adriaansz, Composer, composition teacher, Royal Conservatory, The Hague
Jean-Louis Agobet, composer, professor of composition at Bordeaux Conservatory (France)
James Aikman, Composer in Residence, Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra
Jim Aitchison, composer and graphic score artist
Helen Alexander, freelance musician
Helen Alipaz, Piano teacher and former music tutor at Ruskin Mill College, Nailsworth
Timothy Allan, singer, academic
Ralph Allwood, music teacher
Claire Alsop, Musician
Dr Pedro Alvarez, composer, Adjunct Lecturer, Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts
Peter Amsel, author and composer (of notated music); former Musical Director of the Espace Musique Concert Society. Ottawa, Canada
Paul Andrews, Anglican priest with PhD in music, former music librarian and choral conductor
Samuel Andreyev, composer and teacher
Leonie Anderson, viola player and teacher
Tigran Arakelyan, youth orchestra conductor, Off the Podium podcast
Genevieve Arkle, PhD candidate in Music, University of Surrey
Newton Armstrong, Senior Lecturer in Composition, City, University of London
Christophe Astier, Clarinetist, Ensemble Orchestral de Toulouse, France
Jessica Aszodi, vocalist, doctoral candidate, Queensland Conservatorium of Music
Man Bun Au, Classical guitarist, Adjunct Lecturer, Hong Kong Baptist University
John Aulich, composer, freelance tutor in composition and theory, and recording artist.
Patrick Ayrton, conductor and harpsichordist, Professor at the Royal Conservatoire of The Hague
Emily Baines: State school educated performer, lecturer, musical director and DMus candidate (Guildhall School of Music & Drama)
Brendan Ball, trumpeter and educator
Joshua Ballance, Music student
Simon Ballard, Concert Pianist and Composer
Nicholas Bannan, Associate Professor of Music, University of Western Australia
Richard Bannan, singer, conductor and Head of Singing, King’s College School, Wimbledon
Stephen Barber, Retired music teacher
Alejandro Barceló, musicologist and music theorist
Daniel Barkley, composer and PhD candidate at Queen’s University, Belfast
Matthew Barley, cellist
Keith Barnard, composer
Lester Barnes, composer, producer, and former music teacher
Kristina Baron-Woods, Lecturer in Music Theatre, University of Western Ontario
Richard Barrett, composer, Institute of Sonology, The Hague
Bernardo Barros, composer, improviser, Ph.D. Candidate/Teaching Assistant at New York University
Pam Barrowman, clarinettist, singer, teacher
Stephen Barton, composer (Titanfall 1 & 2, Call of Duty)
Nicholas Bartulovic, freelance composer, student of Politics, Philosophy, and History, Ashland University
Jane Becktel B.Mus.(Hons) Dip. Ed., Choir director
Pierre-Michel Bédard, Organist, composer, teacher at Limoges Conservatory
Adam Bell, composer, doctoral student, Brunel University
Prof David J. Benson FRSE, author of Music: A Mathematical Offering (CUP 2006)
Margaret Bent CBE, FBA, Emeritus Fellow, All Souls College
Niels Berentsen, PhD (Royal Conservatoire of The Hague)
Peter van Bergen, director LOOS Foundation/Studio LOOS, The Hague
Rebecca Berkley, Lecturer in Music Education, University of Reading
Mark Berry, Senior Lecturer in Music, Royal Holloway, University of London
Dr Steven Berryman, Director of Music City of London School for Girls
Noel Bertram, Retired Head of Cumbria County Music Service
Dr Christopher Best, freelance composer, fiction writer and university lecturer
George Bevan, Director of Music, Monkton School
Dr. C.M. Biggs, performer; Director of Piano Studies, Cambrian College
Sue Bint, Music teacher, violinist
Sylvia Bisset, private piano teacher
James Black, MSt. in Musicology, University of Oxford
Deborah Blackmore BSc ACA scientist, chartered accountant and trustee of a children’s music education charity
Kate Blackstone, freelance musician, PhD researcher, University of Leeds
Darren Bloom, composer, Lead Tutor for Composition and Musicianship, Junior Trinity
Yvonne Bloor, Master of music, teacher and composer
Andrew Bottrill, pianist
Mark Bowden, freelance composer; Reader in Composition, Royal Holloway, University of London
Geraint Bowen, director of music at Hereford Cathedral
Andrew Bowie, jazz musician, Professor of Philosophy and German, Royal Holloway, University of London
Laura Bowler, composer, vocalist, Lecturer in Composition at Royal Northern College of Music and Guildhall School of Music and Drama
Karen Boyce, pianist/accompanist and music teacher. New Zealand
Martyn Brabbins, ENO Music Director, RCM Visiting Professor, Huddersfield Choral Society music director
Susan Bradley, freelance tuba, ophicleide, serpent, cimbasso player
David Braid, composer
Heather Bradshaw, violinist in the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra
Andrew Brewerton, Principal, Plymouth College of Art
Lewis Brito-Babapulle MA, MSt, FRCO. Head of Academic Music, Trinity School, Croydon
Per Broman, Professor of Music, Bowling Green State University
Anne Brown, primary school music teacher
Harvey Brown, secondary music teacher and musician
Janice Brown, piano teacher
Mariko Brown, teacher, pianist, and composer
Martha Watson Brown Oboist, Composer and teacher of Music Theory
Thomas Brown, composer
Robin Browning, conductor; Conducting Instructor, University of Southampton
Kevin Brunkhorst, Chair, Music Department, St Francis Xavier University, Antigonish, Nova Scotia, Canada
John Bryan, performer and Professor of Music, University of Huddersfield
Jason Thorpe Buchanan, composer, PhD Candidate, Eastman School of Music; Artistic Director, the [Switch~ Ensemble]
Lisete Da Silva Bull, professional musician, teacher, educator
James Bunch, Lecturer in composition-theory, KM College of Music and Technology, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India
Sarah Burn, freelance music editor and typesetter; completing a PhD involving notation and critical editing
Steven Burnard Violist BBC Philharmonic , learnt to read music at state school aged 7
Martin Butler, composer, pianist, Professor, University of Sussex
Peter Byrom-Smith, composer
Thomas Caddick, Director of the Tobias Matthay Pianoforte School
Dr Edward Caine, Composer, pianist and researcher for Ex Cathedra
Sara Caine, singer & oboist, GP
Jacqui Cameron, Education Director, Opera North
William Cameron, musician
Rachel Campbell, Sydney Conservatorium of Music
Jay Capperauld, composer, saxophonist
Christian Carey, composer and Associate Professor of Music, Westminster Choir College
Gerry Carleston, B Mus, retired violinist and teacher
Stephen Carleston, organist & choir-trainer, music examiner and arranger
Tim Carleston, lay clerk, St George’s chapel, Windsor Castle
Gary Carpenter FRNCM, HonRAM, FRSA. Composer, composition professor Royal Academy of Music and Royal Northern College of Music, BASCA Director
Dr Paul Carr, composer
Philip Cashian, Head of Composition, Royal Academy of Music
Alan Cassar, composer and arranger
Peter Castine, composer, managing editor Computer Music Journal
Sam Cave, BA(Hons) PGdip (RCM), guitarist and composer, tutor in guitar at Brunel University
Roland Chadwick, Composer, Guitarist, Teacher
Oliver Chandler, Visiting Tutor in Historical Musicology, Royal Holloway, University of London
Alexandros Charkiolakis, musicologist, MIAM – Istanbul Technical University
James Chater, musicologist and composer
Eugenia Cheng, mathematician, educator and pianist
Anthony Cheung, composer, pianist, teacher (University of Chicago), co-artistic director of the Talea Ensemble
Pablo Santiago Chin, Adjunct Instructor, Music Theory and Composition, Saint Xavier University
Unsuk Chin, composer
Ray Chinn, violin teacher
Peter Cigleris, clarinetist, BMus (Hons), PGDip, Royal College of Music
Artur Cimirro, composer and pianist from Brazil
Keith W Clancy, artist/composer/computer musician, Melbourne, Australia
Colin Stuart Clarke, Classical music journalist
Raymond Clarke, pianist
Nicholas Clapton, singer and singing teacher
James Clarke, composer, Researcher, University of Leeds
Julian Clayton, conductor
Robert Coates FRCO(CHM), ARCM. Composer, organist and teacher, Harøy, Norway
Jacques Cohen, Conductor & Composer
Jonathan Cohen, former presenter, Music Time for BBC TV School’s programmes
Chris Collins, Head of Music, Bangor University
Rob Collis, singer and composer
Sarah Connolly, opera singer and teacher
Saskia Constantinou, Media Consultant and arts festival director
Dr. David Conway, music historian, Honorary Research Fellow, University College London
James Cook, University Teacher in Music, University of Sheffield
Rachel Cook BA MA, Pianist, orchestral musician and educator
Imogen Cooper, pianist
Brian Cope, composer, music educator and PhD candidate at the University of Edinburgh
Roger Coull, violinist leader of the Coull Quartet, and conductor
Tom Coult. Composer, Visiting Fellow in Creative Arts, Trinity College Cambridge
Emma Coulthard, flautist, author and head of Cardiff County and the Vale of Glamorgan Music Sevuce
Franklin Cox, Associate Professor of Theory, Cello, and Composition, Wright State University
Mairi Coyle. Participation & Outreach Manager, National Children’s Orchestras of GB
Stephen Coyle, composer and PhD candidate at Queen’s University, Belfast
Ruth Crouch, Assistant Leader at Scottish Chamber Orchestra & violin teacher at Royal Conservatoire of Scotland & St. Mary’s Music School
Francis Cummings, violinist and Director of Music at Sistema Scotland, Royal Conservatoire of Scotland
Simon Cummings, composer, writer, researcher, PhD candidate, Birmingham Conservatoire
Fiona Cunningham, CEO, Sistema England
Harriet Cunningham, music critic, writer and doctoral student at UTS, Australia
David Curran, freelance music educator, PhD Candidate, Royal Holloway, University of London
Caroline Curwen, PhD student Psychology of Music, Sheffield University
Dr. Mat Dalgleish, Senior Lecturer in Music Technology and Course Leader for MSc Audio Technology, University of Wolverhampton
Giovanni D’Aquila, composer, composition teacher
John Daszak, opera/concert singer
Steven Daverson, composer, Lecturer in Composition and Sonic Arts, Brunel University London
Colin Davey, Education Programmes Manager, Royal School of Church Music, teacher and conductor
Julian Davis, amateur pianist, Professor of Medicine, University of Manchester
Gavin Davies, freelance violinist
Edward Davies, Head of Music, St Mary Redcliffe and Temple School, Bristol
Jill Davies MusB, classical music artist manager and concert promoter, passionate amateur musician
Tansy Davies, composer
Rebecca Dawson, General Manager, Music at Oxford
Rebecca Day, Visiting Lecturer, Royal Holloway, University of London; Tutor in Music Theory and Analysis, University of Oxford
Caroline D’Cruz, B.Mus, ARCM, LRAM pianist and choral conductor
Nathan James Dearden, Performance Manager and Visiting Tutor in Music Composition, Royal Holloway University of London
Cornelis de Bondt. Composer, teacher Royal Conservatoire, Den Haag, NL
Lonnie Decker, Musician and Educator
João Pedro Delgado, viola, PhD researcher, Universidade de Évora, ESART-IPCB
Caroline Delume, Guitarist, teacher
Simon Desbruslais, trumpet soloist and Director of Performance, University of Hull
Dr. Luis Dias, founder and project director of Child’s Play India Foundation (, a music charity working to bring music education to India’s disadvantaged children
Josephine Dickinson, former music teacher, composer, and poet
Joan Dillon, Director of The Academy of Sacred Music/Voice Teacher
Alison Dite, pianist and teacher from Cardiff
Sarah Dodds, piano teacher, Associate Lecturer in music, The Open University
Emily Doolittle, composer, Athenaeum Research Fellow, Royal Conservatoire of Scotland
Sean Dowgray, percussionist, D.M.A: UC San Diego
John Duggan, composer, singer, teacher
Andrew Eales, pianist, writer and teacher
Leslie East, Chair, The Association of British Choral Directors; former CEO, ABRSM
Christiana Eastwood, Head of Music at The Granville School, Sevenoaks
Professor Sir David Eastwood, Vice Chancellor, University of Birmingham
Jason Eckardt, Professor, City University of New York
Dr Paul Max Edlin, composer, Director of Music Queen Mary University of London, Artistic Director Deal Festival of Music and the Arts
Katheryne Perri Edwards, music educator for 37 years
Malcolm V. Edwards, Professor Emeritus of Music, University of Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Barbara Eichner, Senior Lecturer in Music, Oxford Brookes University
Aaron Einbond, composer, Lecturer in Music, City, University of London
Dr Graham Elliott; Executive Director American Youth Philharmonic Orchestras; Washington DC, USA
Lynne Ellis, Chief Executive Officer, Berkshire Maestros and lead of the Berkshire Music Hub
Daniel Elphick, Teaching Fellow, Royal Holloway, University of London
Mark Elvin, Bass Guitarist, Double Bassist, Tubist, Composer/Arranger/Transcriber, Educator, Conductor
Nick Ereaut, jazz musician, singer-songwriter, music teacher
Nancy Evans, Director of Learning and Participation, Birmingham Contemporary Music Group
Tecwyn Evans, conductor
Nick Evans-Pughe, Performer and school instrumental teacher’ (PGDip in instrumental teaching in which l researched the learning by children of (western classical) notation.)
Mark Everist, Professor of Music, President of the Royal Musical Association (signing in a personal capacity)
Judith Exley. Flute teacher and composer. Wellington, New Zealand
Pauline Fairclough, University of Bristol
Daniel Fardon, PhD student in Composition and Teaching Associate at University of Birmingham
Miguel Farías. Composer, PHD(c) in Latin American Studies, associated Professor universidad academia de humanismo Cristiano , Chile
Tony Faulkner, Independent classical recording producer and engineer
Greta Fenney, therapist
Adam Fergler, composer, arranger, and conductor
Laetitia Federici, freelance pianist and peripatetic piano teacher
Anneke Feenstra, mother of a musician
Cal Fell BA Hons LRAM Freelance musician State Educated
Professor Brian Ferneyhough, Stanford University
Coia Ibàñez Ferrater, Director of Xilofon Elementary School of Music
Jeremy Filsell, Professor of Organ, Peabody Conservatory, Baltimore USA
Janet Fischer, Soprano, Teacher, Managing Director Fulham Opera
Jonathan Fischer, TV Composer, Songwriter
Chris Fisher-Lochhead, composer and violist
Dr Kevin Flanagan, Senior Lecturer in Music, Anglia Ruskin University
Dr Alexandra Fol, composer; conductor and organist at Missione Maria Ausiliatrice, Montréal, Canada
Miriam Forbes, Director of Music, Witham Hall School
Peter Foster. Music Teacher
Christopher Fox, composer, Professor of Music, Brunel University, editor of TEMPO
Cheryl Frances-Hoad, composer
Luke Fraser MMus, composer and Piano Teacher for Arts First
Brigid Frazer, Kodaly based Early Years Music Specialist
Judith Fromyhr, Senior Lecturer in Music, Australian Catholic University
Tor Frømyhr, Coordinator of Strings Australian National University
Hugh Fullarton, Organist and Master of the Choristers at Holy Trinity Anglican Cathedral, Wangaratta
Alvaro Gallegos, music scholar, journalist and record producer
Sir James and Lady Jeanne Galway, flautists
Tom Gamble, MMus Guitarist
Brian Garbet, composer, PhD candidate, University of Calgary, Canada
Ash Gardner, DJ, multi-instrumentalist, music educator, New York, NY
James Gardner, composer, University of Canterbury, Christchurch, New Zealand
Eloise Garland, Musician, Teacher, and Deaf Awareness Campaigner
Tim Garrard, Director of Music, Westminster School
Mark Gasser, pianist
Ben Gaunt, Senior Lecturer Leeds College of Music, Tutor Open College of the Arts
Andrew Georg, repetiteur, State Opera of South Australia, organist
Patricia Giannattasio, Professor of Music, Bergen College in New Jersey; PhD candidate at The Graduate Center
Sean K. Gilde, ‘cellist with Astaria String Quartet, Head of Strings Dragon School Oxford
Don Gillthorpe, Director of Music and Performing Arts, Ripley St. Thomas CE Academy
Hannah Gill, pianist, organist, choral conductor and music teacher
Karen Giudici (Turner) ex professional freelance clarinettist, current primary and secondary music teacher
Rob Godman, Composer, Reader in Music at the University of Hertfordshire
Nigel Goldberg, Artistic Director, Youth Music Centre
Miles Golding BMus, LTCL, LRSM, free-lance violinist, teacher of violin, viola, music theory
Richard Gonski, Conductor Torbay Symphony Orchestra
Howard Goodall CBE, Composer, Broadcaster, Music Historian
Liz Goodwin, teacher, founder/director Flutewise
Sumanth Gopinath, Associate Professor of Music Theory, University of Minnesota–Twin Cities
Adam Gorb, Head of School of Composition, Royal Northern College of Music
Stephen Goss, Professor, University of Surrey
Mark Gotham, Affiliated Lecturer, University of Cambridge
Dr. Barbara Graham, Retired Professor, Ball State University and amateur violist
Dr Michael Graham, postgraduate researcher, Royal Holloway; tutor, Rhondda Cynon Taff music service
Penny Grant, Singing Teacher and Soprano
Simon Gravett dip.TCL, Head of Music the Elmgreen School
Coady Green, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne Conservatorium of Music.
Robert Green, pianist, accompanist, jazz musician
Gavin Greenaway, composer, conductor, pianist
Helen Grime, composer, Senior Lecturer of composition at Royal Holloway University of London
Nicole Grimes, Assistant Professor of Musicology, University of California, Irvine
Jennifer Guppy, British national, resident in France. Class music teacher, at a Primary school and private piano and flute teacher
Christine Gwynn, conductor, pianist, coach, music workshop leader
Kerry L Hagan, Composer, Lecturer, University of Limerick
Stefan Hagen, Dilettant
Iain Hallam, singer and musical director of a cappella choruses
Marc-André Hamelin, pianist
Benedict Hames, viola player, Symphonie Orchester des bayerischen Rundfunk
Ross Hamilton, Peripatetic Percussion Teacher, Cornwall Music Service Trust
Helen Hampton, Director, Popchoir
Radka Hanakova, pianist
J. P. E. Harper-Scott, Professor of Music History and Theory, Royal Holloway University of London
Patrick Harrex, composer and Musical Director of Brighton & Hove Arts Orchestra
Dr. John Mark Harris, music educator and pianist
Sadie Harrison, secondary school peripatetic teacher of piano and music theory; composer and lecturer
Tom Harrold, composer, Honorary Associate Artist of the Royal Northern College of Music
Edward-Rhys Harry, conductor, composer
Béla Hartmann, pianist
Andrea Hartenfeller, organist, singer, teacher, Hesse/Germany
Per Hartmann, music publisher, Edition HH Ltd
David Harvey, D.Phil music, composer, guitarist, technologist, ex-CTO Sibelius, Tido
Waka Hasegawa, pianist, piano duettist and piano teacher
Katie Hassell, Senior Spacecraft Engineer, pianist and cellist
Arngeir Hauksson, Guitarist, Lutenist and music teacher
Jeremy Hawker B.mus, M.Teach, L.mus, professional guitarist and instrumental tutor at Townsville Grammar School
Steve Hawker, Inclusion Manager, Cornwall Music Service Trust
Sam Hayden, composer and academic, Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance
Morgan Hayes, Professor of Composition, Royal Academy of Music
Benjamin Hebbert, Director, Benjamin Hebbert Violins Limited
Piers Hellawell, composer and Professor of Composition, Queen’s University of Belfast, Northern Ireland
Andrew Henderson, singer, keyboard player, secondary school Director of Music, primary school governor, committee member, MMA – Music Teaching Professionals
Áine Heneghan, Assistant Professor of Music Theory, University of Michigan
James Heron, violinist and violist
Ken Hesketh, composer, Lecturer, Royal College of Music
Helen Heslop, piano student, concert promoter
Anne-Marie Hetherington, Music Director and Head of Creative Arts in a successful secondary school, singing teacher, conductor
Gavin Higgins, composer
Rolf Hind, pianist, composer and teacher (Guildhall School of Music and Trinity Laban)
Maggie Hinder, GRSM ARCM ARCO, freelance music teacher and chorister
Alistair Hinton, composer, curator, The Sorabji Archive
James Hockey, musician, teacher, conductor
Jason Hodgson BMus (composer, disabled, and now studying MMus)
Ros Hoffler ABRSM examiner
Alison Holford, cellist and lover of sight-reading
Klaas ten Holt, composer, writer, composition teacher at Prins Claus Conservatorium, Groningen, the Netherlands
Michael Hooper, Lecturer in Music, University of New South Wales, Australia
Julian Horton, Professor of Music, Durham University
Tim Horton, pianist
Janet Hoskyns, Professor Emerita, Birmingham City University
Stephen Hough, pianist
Yvonne Howard, Opera/ Concert Singer & Professor of Singing
Dr Jocelyn Howell
George Huber, singer and mathematician
Dr David Russell Hulme, Director of Music and Reader, Aberystwyth University, musicologist and conductor
Alexander Hunter, composer and performer, Australian National University
Derek Hurst, Associate Professor of Composition, Berklee College of Music and Boston Conservatory
David Hutchings, conductor
Anne Margaret Hyland, Lecturer in Music Analysis and Admissions tutor at the University of Manchester
Miika Hyytiäinen, composer, doctoral student, University of the Arts Helsinki
Michael Ibsen, Classical Guitarist Mmus, British Columbia Conservatory of Music
Grahame Gordon Innes, composer
Professor John Irving, Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance, London
Steven Isserlis, cellist
Dr Jenny Jackson, composer & private piano teacher
Stephen Jackson, conductor, choral director, composer and arranger
Julian Jacobson, musician
Alison James, Head of Music, Kelvin Hall School, professional musician, performance moderator
Lara James, tutor of saxophone, Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, Senior Associate teacher, Bristol University
Willem Jansen, performer and teacher, The Netherlands
Joel Jarventausta, composer and conductor, masters student at the Royal College of Music
Kate Johnson, Promotion & Communications Director, Music Sales Limited
Stephen Johnson, writer, broadcaster & composer
Fergus Johnston, Composer
Allan Herbie Jones, composer, musician, teacher.
David Jones, Head of Accompaniment, Royal Northern College of Music; Deputy Head, Junior RNCM
Gordon Jones, singer, former member of The Hilliard Ensemble
Jeremy Peyton Jones, composer, Reader in music, Goldsmiths University of London
Julia Jones Teacher of Music, City of London School
Georgina Jordan, pianist and teacher
Susanna Jordan, tutti 1st violin, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra
Frauke Jurgensen, musician, Lecturer, University of Aberdeen
Jari Kallio, music journalist
Matthew Kaner, Professor of Composition Guildhall School of Music and Drama
Rob Keeley, composer and pianist, King’s College
Susan Keeling, music graduate, arts administrator, amateur musician, parent
N W Kenyon, retired teacher
Dorothy Ker, Composer, Senior Lecturer, University of Sheffield
Dr Steve Kershaw, jazz musician, Oxford University Department for Continuing Education
Isla Keys MA (Hons) ATCL PGCE, music teacher, singing & piano teacher, committee member MMA-Music Teaching Professionals
Christopher Kimbell, Visiting Tutor in Historical Musicology, Royal Holloway, University of London; peripatetic teacher in music theory
Owen Kilfeather, composer and writer
Andrew King, Professor of English Literature – and avid reader of music
George King, Head and Senior Lecturer (retired), Department of Art History, Visual Arts and Musicology, University of South Africa
Helen Kingstone, Postdoctoral Researcher in History, Leeds Trinity University (and pianist and choral singer)
Professor Andrew Kirkman, Peyton and Barber Professor of Music, University of Birmingham
Patricia Kleinman, Musicóloga
Grahame Klippel, Guitarist, Kingston University
Ruth Knell,  violinist, English National Ballet. Learnt to read music initially at the age of 6/7 in recorder lessons at an infant school on a council estate in the 60s
Annabel Knight, head of recorder, Birmingham Conservatoire
Kathryn Knight, CEO Tido Music and a director/founder of Sing Up
Matthew Lee Knowles, composer + piano teacher
Allan Kolsky, Orchestra Musician, Syracuse, NY
Kevin Korsyn, Professor of Music Theory, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
Toni J. Krein, President of the Association of Swiss Professional Orchestras
Uday Krishnakumar, Composer
Prof. Dennis Kuhn, Head of the percussion and timpani dept, University of Music and Performing Arts Mannheim, Germany
Henny Kupferstein, piano teacher
Yannis Kyriakides, Composer, teacher Royal Conservatory, The Hague
Dr David Lancaster, Director of Music at York St John University
Vanessa Lann, composer, teacher
Jerry Lanning, conductor and arranger
Thomas Larcher, musician
David Lawrence, conductor
Andrew C Leach, organist, choirman in four cathedral occasional choirs
Elizabeth Eva Leach, Professor of Music, University of Oxford
Yekaterina Lebedeva, concert pianist, professor of piano Trinity Laban Conservatoire, visiting lecturer City, University of London
Norman Lebrecht, writer and broadcaster
Kelvin Lee, PhD Candidate in Musicology at Durham University, Conductor
Christian Leitmeir, Magdalen College, University of Oxford
Erik Levi, Visiting Professor in Music, Royal Holloway University of London
Sally Lewis, pianist and teacher
Rebecca Leyton-Smith, Cellist and Cello Teacher at Uppingham School
Mu-Xuan Lin, Composer, and Lecturer at California State University Long Beach
PerMagnus Lindborg, composer, Assistant Professor, School of Art, Design, and Media, Singapore
Dr Alexander Lingas, Reader in Music, City, University of London; Fellow, European Humanities Research Centre, University of Oxford; Music Director, Cappella Romana
Tomasz Lis, concert pianist, teacher
Maureen Lister, Euphonium player
Rodney Lister, faculty department of composition and theory, Boston University School of Music, faculty The New England Conservatory Preparatory School
Lore Lixenberg, Experimental voice artist, Mezzo, Composer
Daniel Lloyd, Musician and author of No Notes piano music (tablature) designed to help beginners make a start with learning how to read and to play piano music.
Rick Longden, Lecturer in Music, Musician etc
Dave Longman, drummer, percussionist, teacher and author of “Skins Drum Performance Method”
Nick Loveland, COO, Birmingham Town Hall and Symphony Hall
Sonia Lovett, television director of opera and classical music concerts
Shay Loya, Lecturer in Music, City, University of London
Neil Luck, composer, performer, music educator
Karl Lutchmayer, Senior Lecturer, Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance
Frances M Lynch, singer, director, composer, teacher
Graham Lynch, composer
Tracey Mair, freelance piano and vocal tutor
Joshua Banks Mailman, Instructor of Music Theory, University of Alabama
Charles MacDougall, founding member of VOCES8, currently Choral Specialist for The Voices Foundation
Nigel McBride, Composer, BMus (Hons), MSt. in Composition (Oxon.), DPhil in Music (Oxon.)
Rachel McCarthy, doctoral candidate and visiting tutor, Royal Holloway, University of London
Paul McCreesh, conductor, founder and artistic director, Gabrieli
Maggie McCoy, Choral Arts administrator and choral musician
Elizabeth Macdonald, violist and arts administratorGeraldine McElearney, GSM,singing and piano teacher
Simon McEnery, singer, musical director (Salisbury Chamber Chorus), Associate Lecturer at the University of Chichester
Neil McGowan, Production Staff, Stanislavsky-Muzykalny Opera/Ballet Theatre, Moscow
Andrew McGregor, Broadcaster, BBC Radio 3
Jennifer Mackerras, recorder player; Alexander Technique tutor at Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama
John McLeod, composer
Sir James MacMillan, composer, conductor
Peter McMullin, Printed Music Specialist, Blackwell’s Music Shop
Stuart McRae, Composer, Lecturer, Royal Conservatoire of Scotland
Jason Matthew Malli, composer, sound designer, performer, producer, educator, arts advocate
Martin Malmgren, pianist
Kevin Malone, Reader in Composition, University of Manchester
Julien Malaussena Composer
Jane Manning, singer
Marshall Marcus, CEO European Union Youth Orchestra, President Sistema Europe
Daniel Margolin QC, lawyer, amateur musician and parent
Kypros Markou, Professor of Music, Wayne State University, Detroit, MI (graduate from Royal College of Music, London and New England Conservatory, Boston)
Katherine Marriott, mezzo-soprano
Daniela Mars, Flutist
Les Marsden, Founding Music Director/Conductor: The Mariposa (CA) Symphony Orchestra, Composer, Lecturer, University of California and Instrumental Musician
Andy Marshall, Senior Lay Clerk, Bristol Cathedral
Chris Marshall, Head of Professional Development, Birmingham Conservatoire
Barnaby Martin, composer
Domingos de Mascarenhas (DPhil) musicologist
Sandy Matheson, Nordoff Robbins music therapist
Alison Mathews MMus BMus(hons)RCM ARCM, composer, private teacher, pianist
Colin Matthews, composer
David Matthews, composer
James Mayhew, artist and narrator
Gijs van der Meijden (The Netherlands). Microbiologist by profession, not a musician in any practical sense, but a deep lover thereof
Cecília Melo, Magistrate
Virgílio Melo, composer
Miguel Mera, head of Music, City, University of London
Chris Mercer, composer, Lecturer, Northwestern University
Nathan Mercieca, Teaching Associate, Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge University
Jonathan Midgley, lay clerk, Ely Cathedral
Max Midroit, pianist
Chloe Millar, violinist, freelance musician and teacher
Richard Miller, Composer, Arranger/Orchestrator, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic’s Christopher Brooks Composition Prizewinner, Director of Music, St Michael’s Church, Camden
Sasha Valeri Millwood, MA (Cantab.) MMus (GSMD), musician, musicologist, & doctoral researcher, University of Glasgow
David Milsom, Head of Performance, University of Huddersfield
Ruth Milsom, freelance teacher of piano and music theory, and accompanist
William Alberto Penafiel Miranda, 
Composer/Pianist at Queens College (Aaron Copland School of Music
Madeleine Mitchell, state-school educated violinist, professor, Royal College of Music
Cara Ellen Modisett, pianist, Episcopal music director and essayist
Kerry A. Moffit, Master Sergeant (Retired), United States Air Force Bands and Music Career Field, Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines Orchestra Musician (lead and jazz trumpet), Grammy winner, and professional musician for 40+ years.
Alison Moncrieff-Kelly, cellist, music educator, and examiner
Josephine Montgomery, violinist, early years string teacher
Ivan Moody, composer, CESEM – Universidade Nova, Lisbon
Adrian Moore, composer, Reader in Music, University of Sheffield
Gillian Moore, Director of Music, South Bank Centre
Eva Moreda Rodriguez, Lecturer in Music, University of Glasgow
Dittany Morgan, former Sub principal Viola BBC symphony and teacher of Violin/ Viola
Huw Morgan, freelance choral director and organist
Kate Morgan, Director of Music, Harrogate Ladies’ College
Katie Morgan, flautist, music writer, and flute and music theory teacher
Michael Morse, composer, educator
Tim Motion, Photographer and musician
Catherine Motuz, trombonist
Thomas Mowrey, former producer for Deutsche Grammophon and Decca
Theresa Muir, Ph.D. Musicology, conductor and singer
John Mulroy chorister at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden
Gordon Munro, Director of Music, Royal Conservatoire of Scotland
Tommy Murtagh, cellist and educator
Rachel Musgrove, director, daytime choirs for retirees
Rachel Neiger, Pianist and teacher
Lisa Nelsen, Flute player, artist for Yamaha International, Tutor for Junior Guildhall School and former Specialist Flute Tutor at Wells Cathedral School, UK
Thi Nguyen , GSMD, IoE (MA in Music Education), violinist and teacher
Mike Nichols, Bassist. ACM lecturer, ABRSM consultant. Regularly work in orchestras and non reading bands
George Nicholson, composer, Professor in Composition, University of Sheffield
Marten Noorduin, Postdoctoral research assistant, University of Oxford
Kirk Noreen, Founder/Director, Ensemble Sospeso, New York, Composer
Mariko North, pianist
Dr Patrick Nunn, Lecturer in composition, Royal Academy of Music, London
Chi-chi Nwanoku MBE, double bassist, Founder, Artistic Director Chineke!
Richard Nye, BA (Hons) FLCM PGCE, teacher and composer
Michael Nyman, composer
Lady Anita O’Brien, Violinist/ Music Teacher
Dolors Olivé Vernet, music teacher, Headmaster, Teresa Miquel i Pàmies Elementary School
Des Oliver, composer
Philip Olleson, Emeritus Professor of Historical Musicology, University of Nottingham, and Immediate Past President, The Royal Musical Association
Nicholas Olsen, composer
Clare Orrell, primary school headteacher and music graduate
Jill Osborn BMus, private piano teacher
Richard Osmond, Director of Music, Haberdashers’ Aske’s Boys’ School
Ursula O’Sullivan, music teacher and musician, CSN College of Further Education, Cork, Ireland
Rebecca Oswald, composer, pianist, former faculty at the University of Oregon School of Music
Luke Ottevanger, Director of Music, composer
Martijn Padding, head of composition department, Royal Conservatory, Den Haag
Ian Pace, pianist, Lecturer, Head of Performance, City, University of London
Professor Carrie Paechter, Head of .Educational Studies, Goldsmiths, University of London
Christopher Painter, composer, brass bandsman, lecturer, music publisher, trumpet player. Barry, South Wales
Joan Arnau Pàmies, composer, Aural Skills Instructor, Northwestern University
Dr Tom Pankhurst, Music Teacher and Author
Tom Parkinson, composer and sound designer, Royal Holloway, University of London
Ben Pateman, Flautist and retired music producer
Anthony Payne, composer
Jenny Pearson, freelance cellist, teacher at Severn Arts Worcester
Michael Pearson, professional violinist
Jane Peckham BMus, MA, School Governor, Double Bassist
Tim Pells, Head of Guitar and Lecturer, Colchester Institute and Centre for Young Musicians
Chris Pelly, Concerts Series Administrator, University of Leeds
Damian Penfold, conductor and primary school governor
Ian Penwarden-Allen, choral conductor and teacher of music
Selah Perez-Villar, pianist and music educator
Lola Perrin, piano teacher, composer
Dr. Jeffrey Peterson, Associate Professor of Vocal Coaching/ Opera Conductor
Baylor University, Waco, TX
Theodore R Peterson, Composer
Joe Pettitt BMus(hons), bassist, bandleader and teacher of jazz bass and electric guitar at Westminster School and Trinity School, Croydon
Stephen Pettitt, writer and critic
James Philips, Classical Guitarist and self taught music reader
John Pickard, composer and Head of Music, University of Bristol
David Pickett, Former Prof., Indiana University School of Music, conductor, musicologist, tonmeister
Oliver Pickup, composer
David Pickvance, film and TV composer, composer-in-residence to the BBC
Jenni Pinnock, composer and instrumental tutor
David Pinto, performer with the Jaye Consort and musicologist, contributing editor to two volumes of Musica Britannica
John Pitts, composer and music teacher
Stephen Plaice, librettist, Writer in Residence Guildhall School of Music and Drama
Tamasine Plowman MA
Lara Poe, composer and pianist, graduate student at RCM
Irini Urania Politi, artist, teacher, amateur musician
Rosie Pollock, BMus MA (learned notation aged 6/7)
Benjamin Pope, Conductor working with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and Orchestras
Francis Pott, Professor of Composition & Head of Research, London College of Music, University of West London
Caroline Potter, Reader in Music, Kingston University
Eleri Angharad Pound, freelance harpist and composer, amateur choir singer
Jonathan Powell, pianist
Mark Powell, Conducting Scholar / ALP Faculty, Eastman School of Music
Steph Power, composer, critic, writer on music
Gillian Poznansky, flute player and examiner
Scott Price, Director of Music, The Cardinal Vaughan Memorial School
Dr Nicholas Stefano Prozzillo
Toby Purser, conductor
Peter Puskás, promoter and artist manager
Irene Quirmbach, violin instructor at the Francis W. Parker School in Chicago, IL (USA), active freelance violinist
Giovanni Radivo, concertmaster, Orchestre national de Lyon (France)
Caroline Rae, Reader in Music and pianist, Cardiff University
Lorenda Ramou, pianist, musicologist
Sanna Raninen, Research Associate, University of Sheffield
Torsten Rasch, composer
Nadia Ratsimandresy, ondist and Professor of onde Martenot and ondéa, Conservatoire à Rayonnement Régional de Boulogne-Billancourt
Manvinder Rattan, CEO and Head of Conductor Training, Sing for Pleasure
Sir Simon Rattle, conductor, principal conductor, Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, conductor-elect, London Symphony Orchestra
Robert Rawson, Reader in Music, School of Music and Performing Arts, Canterbury Christ Church University
Steven Reale, Associate Professor of Music Theory, Youngstown State University, Youngstown, OH
Carla Rees, Music Programme Leader, Open College of the Arts
Camden Reeves, Professor and Head of Music, University of Manchester
John Reid, pianist and teacher
Chris Rice, Director, Altarus Records
Sally Richardson, Artist Manager; owner of Tashmina Artists
Christiaan Richter, composer
Dr Tim Ridley, Director of Music, Glenalmond Gollege
Judith Robinson, Creative Project Leader for Education, Sound and Music
Heather Roche, clarinettist, co-editor of TEMPO
Dr Marc Rochester, lecturer in music history and criticism, Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Music, National University of Singapore
Paul Rodmell, Head of Music, University of Birmingham
Carlos Rodriguez, pianist, conductor and MBA from ChileJames Roe, President & Executive Director, Orchestra of St. Luke’s, New York City
Martin Roscoe, pianist, Professor, Guildhall School of Music and Drama
Pamela Rose, ABRSM Theory Examiner, Music Educator
Daniele Rosina, Director of Orchestral Studies University of Birmingham, Conducting Tutor, Birmingham Conservatoire
Luke Roskams, retired violinist
Tish Roskams, B.Mus retired music teacher
Toby Roundell, composer and educationist
Rebecca Rowe, composer and music educator
Cyrilla Rowsell, Kodály specialist, teacher at GSMD and for the British Kodály Academy, co-author of Jolly Music
Edward Rushton, composer and pianist
Julian Rushton, Emeritus Professor of Music, University of Leeds
Isabelle Ryder, private piano teacher
Leo Samama, composer, musicologist, educator and author (The Netherlands)
Abel Sanchez-Aguilera, pianist and biochemist, Madrid
Helen Sanderson, Winston Churchill Fellowship in guitar education, Artistic Director of National Youth Guitar Ensemble, CEO of Guitar Circus, guitar professor at RWCMD
Anthony Sandle, opera singer
James Savage-Hanford, freelance singer and Visiting Tutor in Theory & Analysis at Royal Holloway, University of London
Melinda Sawers, Director of Music, Wadhurst, Melbourne Grammar School (Australia)
Paul Scanling, Music Director, Marietta Symphony Orchestra
Brian Schembri, Artistic Director and Principal Conductor, Malta Philharmonic Orchestra
Jonathan Schranz, Choral Conductor, London
Thomas Schmidt, Professor of Music, University of Manchester
William James Schmidt, pianist & composer, MMusPerf (University of Melbourne), MA (MUK Vienna)
Christian Schruff, Journalist – Musikvermittler, Berlin
Annelies Scott ARAM, cello and music theory teacher
Fred Scott, founder, Soundpractice Music
Matthew Scott, Professor of Composition, University of Southampton; Head Of Music, National Theatre (retired)
Peter J D Scott, Teaching Fellow, University of Bristol
Robert Secret ARAM, conductor & viola player
Florian Scheding, University of Bristol
Jeffrey Siegfried, saxophonist, doctoral candidate, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
Linda Shaver-Gleason, PhD Musicology, University of California, Santa Barbara
Susan Sheppard, teacher of cello at RNCM and Trinity Laban and teacher of Latin
Daniel Sherer, professor of architecture, Columbia University and lifelong pianist and music lover
Rachel Shirley, Music teacher; PhD researcher in Music Education, Lancaster University
Andre Shlimon, musician and teacher
Robert Sholl, University of West London and The Royal Academy of Music
Martin Shorthose, Cantor and Choir Director, Antiochian Orthodox Church in the UK. Ex Layclerk at Coventry and Liverpool Cathedrals
Alexander Sigman, composer, researcher and educator
Angela Elizabeth Slater, Composer
Jeremy Silver, conductor, pianist, vocal coach
Nigel Simeone, music teacher, English Martyrs’ Catholic School
Mark Simpson, BBC Philharmonic Composer in Association and former BBC Young Musician of the year 2006
Wendy Skeen, BMus(Hons), Guildhall School of Music & Drama; Freelance pianist and piano teacher
M I Skinner, M.St. (Mus)(Oxon), PG Dip MTPP, ALCM, Dip ABCD. Musician, teacher, conductor, and musicologist
Shirley Smart, jazz cellist, musicianship and improvisation teacher, City, University of London, and Royal College of Music Junior Department
Ben Smith, pianist and composer, postgraduate student, Guildhall School of Music and Drama
Charles J. Smith, Slee Chair of Music Theory, University at Buffalo
David J. Smith, Professor of Music, University of Aberdeen
George Smith, composer and freelance piano/voice teacher, University of Southampton graduate
Harriet Smith, music journalist
Steve Smith, guitarist, multi-instrumentalist
Tim Smith, Director of Music, St. Mary Harrow on the Hill/Arts Faculty Leader, Heathland School
John Snijders, pianist and Associate Professor of Music Performance, Durham University
Ernest So, concert pianist
Peter A. Soave, Concert Accordionist, Founder Peter Soave Music Academy, in Sauris Italy
Stephen Soderberg, Senior Specialist for Contemporary Music (retired), Music Division, Library of Congress
Zoë South, (state-educated) professional opera singer, singing teacher
Clare Southworth, Professor of Flute RAM
Shauna Spargo, amateur violinist, soprano in the local church choir (learned to read music at 6 when I had free violin lessons at a state primary school)
Jeroen Speak, freelance composer and teacher
Simon Speare, Head of Composition and Contemporary Music, Royal College of Music Junior Department
Mic Spencer, Associate Professor of Music, University of Leeds
Jane Spencer-Davis. Accountant specialising in musicians and violist
Mary Stagg, Primary Music specialist
Sarah Steinhardt, piano teacher, Greenwich Academy, CT USA
James Michael Stergiopoulos, retired electronics engineer
Adam Stern, conductor (Seattle Philharmonic, Sammamish Symphony), Seattle WA, USA
Clare Stevens, music journalist
Susanne Stanzeleit, violinist, tutor, Birmingham Conservatoire
Peter Stoller, songwriter, music writer, popular music archivist and historian at Leiber/Stoller Productions
Danny Stone, brass teacher, former classroom teacher (state sector U.K.)
Denise Stout, Choral Director
George Strickland, freelance oboist, postgrad at Royal Northern College of Music
Ashley Sutherland, music librarian, freelance clarinettist
Owain Sutton, private instrumental teacher
Professor Bill Sweeney, composer
Aleks Szram, Academic Lecturer and Piano Professorial Staff, Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance
Caitriona Talbot BA Mod, freelance music tutor, Sefton
Diego Jiménez Tamame, composer
Gábor Tarján, composer, percussionist, Musical Director Het Filiaal
Christopher Tarrant, Lecturer in Music, Anglia Ruskin University
Mark Tatlow, conductor, educator, researcher Department of Culture & Aesthetics, University of Stockholm
Michelle Taylor-Cohen, Violinist, educator & arranger
Alun Thomas, professional violinist /Alexander Technique Coordinator Trinty Laban
Marisa Thornton-Wood, professor of piano, Royal Academy of Music
Paul Timms, music teacher, pianist, violinist & conductor
Phillip Tolley, Choral Music Advocate, British Choirs on the Net
Mikel Toms, conductor
Daniel Tong, pianist. Founder, Wye Valley Chamber Music. Head of Piano in Chamber Music, Birmingham Conservatoire
Julian Tovey, singer and lecturer, Royal Conservatoire of Scotland
Simon Toyne, Executive Director of Music, David Ross Education Trust
Peter Tregear, Professor, Royal Holloway, University of London
John Traill, Director of Music, St. Anne’s College, Oxford University; Director, Oxford Conducting Institute
Natalie Tsaldarikis, pianist, teacher, PhD student, City, University of London
Kathleen Tynan, Head of Vocal Studies and Opera, Royal Irish Academy of Music, Dublin
Fredrik Ullén, pianist, professor of cognitive neuroscience
Luk Vaes, pianist, reseacher, teacher
Maura Valenti BM, The Juilliard School; MM, Yale School of Music; current MPhil student in musicology, University of Oxford
John Van der Slice, composer
Dr Edward Venn, Associate Professor of Music, University of Leeds
Massimiliano Viel, Composer and Professor at Conservatory of Milan, Italy
Simon Vincent, composer, performer, and former Visiting Lecturer at City University London, University of Bayreuth, University of Potsdam and University of Applied Sciences Potsdam
Matthew Vine, volunteer music teacher (Kampala, Uganda)
Andrea Vogle, Percussion Tutor RNCM, JRNCM, Chetham’s School of Music
Zerlina Vulliamy, prospective university music student and DfE Music Scholar RCMJD
Alison Wahl, soprano, singer-songwriter, and music teacher
Charlie Wakely, Physics teacher and amateur musician
Helen Wallace, Kings Place Music Foundation, Soundsense Music
Neil Wallace, Programme Director, Doelen Concert Hall, Rotterdam
Richard Wallace, violist Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, viola tutor Bangor University
David Warburton MP, Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Select Committee on Music Education
John Warburton BMus Hons Tonmeister, Associate Lecturer, University of Surrey Department of Music and Media
Dr Michael Ward, concert pianist, conductor and composer
Philippa Ward, pianist, teacher, Wellington, New Zealand
Jenny Warren, maths teacher and classical soprano who learned to sight read at state school
Celia Waterhouse, Piano Teacher, Music Educator, Lead Editor for British Kodaly Academy Songbook
Ashley Wass, pianist
Huw Watkins, composer and pianist
Hannah Watson, secondary school music teacher, violinist
Rachel Watson, cellist, cello teacher with experience of secondary school teaching
Trevor Watt, former music student, now lawyer
Dr Richard Wattenbarger, musicologist, Adjunct Instructor, Music Studies, Temple University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Sarah Watts, Associate in Music Performance at Sheffield University, bass clarinet tutor RNCM, Clarinet tutor at Nottingham University
David Way, violinist/violist/teacher
Philip Wayne, Headmaster, Royal Grammar School, High Wycombe, also Musician
James Webb, Director of Music, Hull Collegiate School
Gillian Webster , Opera Singer and teacher
James Weeks, composer, Associate Head of Composition, Guildhall School of Music & Drama
Marcus Weeks, composer and jazz and reggae trombonist
Richard Whalley,  Senior Lecturer in Composition, University of Manchester
Mike Wheeler, music writer and adult education tutor, WEA
Simon Whiteley, BMus, Lay Clerk at St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle, and founder member of The Queen’s Six, a cappella ensemble
Adam Whittaker, Post-doctoral researcher (Music and Music Education), Birmingham City University
Dr Anthony Whittaker, composer, piano teacher and examiner
Sally Whitwell, composer, pianist. BMus(Hons) ANU, Australia
Joanna Wicherek, pianist and teacher
Judith Wiemers, PhD student at Queen’s University Belfast
Charles Wiffen, Assistant Dean, College of Liberal Arts, Bath Spa University
Louise Wiggins, PhD student, University of Bristol; harpist; and peripatetic music teacher
Emma Wild, Freelance Violist
Christopher Wiley, National Teaching Fellow and Senior Lecturer in Music, University of Surrey
John Willan, former EMI producer and Managing Director London Philharmonic
Ceri Williams, music teacher
David Carlston Williams, Organist and Music Teacher
Victoria Williams AmusTCL BA music theory teacher
James Williamson. Composer, PhD candidate at the University of York
Chesterton K. Whiteman, adjunct professor of composition, Oral Roberts University
Dr Alexandra Wilson, Reader in Music, Oxford Brookes University
Andrew Wilson, Freelance musician, and Head Teacher, Teesside High School
Jay Wilkinson, flute and theory teacher
Katherine Williams, Lecturer in Music and Head of Performance, Plymouth University
Frances Wilson LTCL (AKA The Cross-Eyed Pianist); pianist, writer, and teacher
Jayne Lee Wilson, Music Lover & Reviewer, FoR3 Forum
Natalie Windsor, BaHons PgCert (Birmingham Conservatoire), Mezzo soprano, jazz singer and music teacher
Lorraine Womack-Banning, pianist, piano teacher, adjudicator
Jaye Wood, BA Hons, freelance classical piano and voice teacher
Toby Wood, Music recording engineer and producer
Liz Woodhouse, piano teacher
Ronald Woodley, Professor of Music, Birmingham Conservatoire, Birmingham City University
Catherine Woodman. Head of Keyboard Studies at Redmaids High School and examiner
Kenneth Woods, Artistic Director, English Symphony Orchestra
Christopher Woolmer, Organist, teacher, Director of Music, Oakwood School, Purley
David Wordsworth, conductor and agent
Dr Emily Worthington, freelance clarinettist/Lecturer, University of Huddersfield
Andrew Wright, School of Education, University of Buckingham
Elspeth Wyllie, Pianist, Teacher, member of the ISM
Catherine Wyn-Rogers, opera singer and teacher
Anna Wyse, B.Eng. M.Sc.(Eng), AIEMA
Joshua D. Xerri, Sub-Organist (St Alphege, Solihull), singer, composer
Amit Yahav, pianist, doctoral student, Royal College of Music
Paul Yarish, pianist, Registered Piano Technician, organ student
Marc Yeats, composer and visual artist
Nina C. Young, Assistant Professor of Music Composition & Multimedia Performance, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Toby Young, composer, Junior Research Fellow, University of Oxford
Jay Alan Yim, composer, Associate Professor of Music, Northwestern University
Alistair Zaldua, composer and conductor, visiting lecturer in Music, Canterbury Christ Church University
Mirjam Zegers, music consultant, teacher, amateur pianist
Nicolas Zekulin, Chief Executive & Artistic Director, National Youth Orchestras of Scotland
Patrick Zuk, Associate Professor in Music, Durham University
Julio Zúñiga, composer, graduate student, Harvard University
Rasmus Zwicki, composer

[ADDENDUM: Since first placing this letter online, I have been alerted to two relevant phenomena: the Department of Music at Harvard University have now removed a requirement to study theory, or Western art music history, from their core curriculum . Worse, Texan musicologist Kendra Leonard has created a ‘Privilege Walk’ for musicians, a way of publicly shaming those who, for example, were taught music theory (no. 12), care about notated music (no. 19), can read more than one clef (no. 36), or had advanced instruction in a foreign language (no. 39). It is not clear from Leonard’s biography if she teaches regularly at an institution, but certainly such ‘privilege walks’ exist elsewhere in the US; I will blog more about this on another occasion. In case anyone is unclear, as stated above this addendum does not form part of the letter to which signatories put their name and represents a personal view.]


564 Comments on “Response to Charlotte C. Gill article on music and notation – full list of signatories”

  1. David Braid says:

    Please add my voice of support – David Braid, composer.

  2. Luke Ottevanger says:

    Please add me in as well

    Luke Ottevanger – Director of Music, composer.

  3. Thomas Mowrey says:

    I have a learning disabled teenage daughter whose GPA in high school jumped up by five percentage points (from 84 to 89) after spending two weeks with me in the summer of 2014 watching YouTube videos of the central symphonic repertoire — approximately 125 works from Bach to Shostakovich, but focused on Mozart and Beethoven — for seven hours per day. Said plainly, this music made her brain work better. If that was an elitist exercise, mea culpa. Please add my name to the list.

    Thomas Mowrey, former producer for Deutsche Grammophon and Decca

  4. James Bunch says:

    Add my name please:

    James Bunch
    Lecturer in composition-theory
    KM College of Music and Technology
    Chennai, Tamil Nadu

  5. Please add my support to promote literacy as an essential part of music education.

  6. Mark Powell says:

    Please add my as well:

    Mark Powell
    Conducting Scholar / ALP Faculty
    Eastman School of Music

  7. Toby Roundell says:

    Toby Roundell, composer and educationist

  8. Please add my name:
    Professor Andrew Kirkman, Peyton and Barber Professor of Music, University of Birmingham

  9. Julian Clayton says:

    Julian Clayton, conductor

  10. Please add my name to the list. Musical literacy is invaluable to anyone who is interested in increasing his/her appreciation of music. One does not need to be a performer to benefit from musical literacy; it also increases one’s insights as a listener.

    Raymond Clarke, pianist

    • Mike Wheeler says:

      When listening with a score, the eye can often alert the ear to a detail that might not otherwise have registered.

  11. David Wade says:

    Music is all about heritage, tradition, style and innovation. All of these elements are supported by a thorough training in musical literacy. Every child should be given a chance to master musical notation. Such training is not elitist, unattainable or, in any way, forbidding, if tackled appropriately in music teaching. Children should be challenged, encouraged and extended through such study to become rounded and accomplished musical practitioners.

  12. Roger Coull says:

    Please add my name:
    Roger Coull, violinist leader of the Coull Quartet, and conductor.

  13. William Schmidt says:

    Please add my voice of support for this letter.

    William James Schmidt, pianist & composer, MMusPerf (University of Melbourne), MA (MUK Vienna)

  14. I agree

    Rasmus Zwicki, composer

  15. Daniele Rosina says:

    Please add my name to this response.
    Daniele Rosina,
    Director of Orchestral Studies University of Birmingham
    Conducting Tutor, Birmingham Conservatoire

  16. Tom Quill says:

    Gill’s essay is particularly frustrating because she conflates “learning how to read music” with “theoretical knowledge.” I agree with the premise that music is often taught in an overly dry and academic manner. I didn’t major in music as an undergraduate specifically because I knew the years of required theory classes would lead me to hate music. But I can READ music, and I ended up getting a master’s degree in performance. I can identify a V-I cadence but I didn’t have to spend three years transcribing recordings of late Beethoven string quartets to “prove” myself as a musician.

  17. William Cameron says:

    Please add my name to the list

    William Cameron, musician

  18. Peter Scott says:

    I would be grateful if you would add my name please:
    Peter J D Scott, Teaching Fellow, University of Bristol

  19. Irene Quirmbach says:

    Please add my name to your list . I am a violin instructor at the Francis W. Parker School in Chicago, IL (USA) and an active freelance violinist.

  20. Kevin Brunkhorst says:

    I stand with these people.
    Kevin Brunkhorst
    Chair, Music Department, St Francis Xavier University, Antigonish, Nova Scotia, Canada

  21. mattmarks says:

    Please add my name: Chesterton K. Whiteman, adjunct professor of composition, Oral Roberts University

  22. I think you have misinterpreted Kendra Leonard’s privilege walk in your addendum. Access and inclusivity are related, but they are also distinct concepts.

    Yes, there are debates to be had around the notion of privilege, as well as whether a “privilege walk” is an appropriate/effective teaching tool in the classroom. (Some specifics of the privilege walk as outlined by Dr Leonard could probably do with some tweaking for a UK context, for instance).

    But I am confused as to how you have interpreted it as an anti-intellectual exercise in “shaming” students with theory knowledge, as though it is worthless. If anything, Dr Leonard’s privilege walk validates your own view that formal training is a gold standard (although not the only gold standard), and seeks to highlight that not everyone has had access to it. This is a point I think you would agree on.

    • I’m astonished that you find Ian Pace’s “interpretation” of Ms Leonard’s stuff questionable. Of course not everyone has equal access to the training that every contributor here recognises as vital the the well-being of the professional musician and, more importantly, the the young music student – even Ms Gill recognises the problem here and, if there’s anything worthwhile in her article, it’s the dissatisfied acceptance of that fact in her opening paragraphs. But I do not believe that there’s been any misunderstanding or misinterpretation of this “privilege walk” stuff here; it’s an example of the worst kind of American psychobabble as (loosely and hopelessly) applied to the training of young musicians and, I believe, should be read and appropriately derided as such.

      • I didn’t say that I agreed with the privilege walk either – it’s a very blunt instrument. My point is that it is misleading to portray critiques of privilege or elitism as anti-intellectual. And it’s Dr Leonard.

  23. rcb says:

    “Worse, Texan musicologist Kendra Leonard has created a ‘Privilege Walk’ for musicians, a way of publicly shaming students who, for example, were taught music theory (no. 12), care about notated music (no. 19), can read more than one clef (no. 36), or had advanced instruction in a foreign language (no. 39). It is not clear from Leonard’s biography if she teaches regularly at an institution, but certainly such ‘privilege walks’ exist elsewhere in the US; I will blog more about this on another occasion.”

    Hm. I don’t think you know what a Privilege Walk is if you think acknowledging one’s privilege means being publicly shamed. It’s possible you’re a person who doesn’t believe in privilege, in which case, no need to read on…

    The purpose of a Privilege Walk is to help folks understand that some people have an easier time advancing in society than others based on their circumstances… no more, no less. There isn’t any shame to be had if you have privilege in my opinion, unless you refuse to acknowledge it exists and have no interest in breaking down the system that holds down some while lifting up others. The musical Privilege Walk you cited as “publicly shaming students”, for example, focuses on advancement for musicians. Who among us has it easier than others, and why? I, for example, grew up in a household where I had a lot of support, my parents bought me my instrument (which was very expensive), I went to MSM’s precollege, etc. I had a lot of privilege. I do not feel ashamed of it for being at or near the “front” of the walk. I DO feel ashamed that others didn’t have those same opportunities, which they should have had, because they are no less deserving than I am. Privilege Walks can reveal that two people with the same amount of intelligence or talent may end up in very different places in life solely due to circumstance and not their merits. We should not shy from this truth, unless we are cowards. How are we to make positive changes if we can’t even face unpleasant truths about ourselves? Yes, someone else was probably just as deserving of my job as I was, maybe even more so, but I got here more easily because of my privilege.

    A final thought about Kendra Leonard’s Privilege Walk in particular (and many others follow this “rule” as well): If you do not feel comfortable with answering a question in the Privilege Walk, you stand in the same place. This avoids any “shame” you’re talking about, should the person feel uncomfortable with their privilege (or lack thereof). Nobody is forced to answer any question they don’t want to answer. If you’d read the blog thoroughly, you would know this.

    • All that I would like to ask here is what the point of such a “privilege walk” might be when all that matters is the subject matter itself. The point, surely, is that, whilst many young people have very different backgrounds in terms of musical encouragement and the provision or otherwise of musical instruments and education, none of this affects the inherent ability of young people to absorb and develop musical literacy; in other words, it’s not in any way about wealth, whiteness of skin et al but about internal personal motivation and external encouragement of the right kind, neither of which recognise or are affected by wealth privilege or pigmentation. The “privilege walk” is nothing more than a silly American game; it doesn’t and cannot actually prove anything of relevance here.

      I couldn’t help but notice that the publication date of Ms Leonard’s piece was 1 April; whether that is of pertinence is something upon which I will discreetly refrain from speculating.

      Mon Dieu! If Leonard, then Sarah; sorry…

      • rcb says:

        Dear Alistair Hinton, thank you for your reply. I’m not following the relevance that this is a “silly American” game, except that when a Privilege Walk occurs in the context of the United States, it belies privileges existing within the cultural contexts of the silly U.S. in particular, rather than another nation immersed in its own silly biases.

        I respect your perspective and opinion and appreciate your response, but I do not share your opinion whatsoever. When people come from different sociocultural situations, even if they have the same personal motivations and the right “external encouragement”, those situation can (and do) impact their ability to progress in society. And unfortunately, the two above don’t always come as a pair. You mention musical literacy in particular. How is a child supposed to absorb musical literacy (your words) if they have no access to musical notation because their schools have no sheet music? What if their parents can’t provide any for them? Some parents even actively forbid their children spending time on music because these parents want their children to prepare for a “real job”; these parents may come from poverty, which is a major motivator in the U.S. Some parents don’t know what sheet music is. Is it your assertion that a child’s ability to become musically literate isn’t impacted by any of this? I find that deeply problematic.

        If our school systems all provided music education, maybe I could partially see your point, but that is not the case. The U.S.’s school system is… well, everyone knows we have a big problem here. Music programs are increasingly cut. Sometimes that leaves the parents to decide what their children will learn outside of the “standards” by supplementing with tutoring or extracurricular activities that often cost money. When parents are faced with what to prioritize–reading, math, painting, dancing, sports, music, socializing, etc ad infinitum–difficult decisions are made. Music is an expensive activity.

        As for the racism element… Racism infiltrates every corner of U.S. society. There have even been studies indicating that if someone has an “ethnic” sounding name on their job application they will be less likely to be selected for a job interview. The Western Art community in the U.S. (musicians, professors, students at all levels) are comprised primarily of white people. Do you believe that white people are the usually the people with the internal personal motivation to engage in classical music? Should children who aren’t white, who have the internal personal motivation to engage in classical music but not the external encouragement be expected to somehow seek out their own musical education that their white counterparts easily received, and how, exactly, is that to be achieved? There are some POC who succeed in such a feat; I use the word feat deliberately, because it is an achievement, a hardship overcome. That is the whole point of a Privilege Walk. Uncovering hardships and acknowledging privileges. Even still, the percentage of white people-to-POC in the classical community here does not reflect the population. Why?

        Racism, sexism, ableism, economics, sexual orientation–these things impact children growing up, how people view them, what opportunities they’re given (or not given), and they stack the deck for others. I see no reason to be satisfied with a society that engages in these sorts of immoral practices, or to ignore that children are impacted by more than their “go get ’em” attitude when it comes to whether or not they succeed in a personal goal. This should not stop a child from trying to succeed, but it shouldn’t stop us from dismantling impediments to their development, either. If anything, it should motivate us.

        • You write
          “You mention musical literacy in particular. How is a child supposed to absorb musical literacy (your words) if they have no access to musical notation because their schools have no sheet music? What if their parents can’t provide any for them?”
          I accept your argument insofar as it goes and this is indeed where Ms Gill makes sense in the opening of her piece. However, whilst problems in accessing music in notated form because it is not provided to those who would otherwise have it is indeed a grave problem, it does not of itself signify that the study of music theory is INTENDED for – or the sole proper province of – wealthy whites only. Government cutbacks in the funding of music education are often to blame for the deterioration in its availability so, on the contrary, it illustrates a problem whose origins are in that lack of adequate funding. This is where Ms Gill, who sets out promisingly enough, goes off the rails.

          That some 700 people – including many distinguished musicians and scores of practitioners in music education – have lent their wholehearted support to Ian Pace’s campaign surely speaks for itself – unless they’re all misguided…

          • rcb says:

            To be frank, I’m two minds about Ms. Gill’s piece, my contention is with the conflation of it and a separate scenario (to me): a Privilege Walk.

            You’re arguing for merits of what I consider to be music theory study, which I don’t disagree with… and I haven’t said much contrary to what you’re typing here so I’m not sure if you’ve understood my points. I’ll step back, because why not, and state some opinions/thoughts I have on musicological education based on my experiential knowledge as a student at three U.S. music conservatories and a U.S. musicology graduate program (not in the UK!!! So I do apologize for not being able to speak to that, which is what the article you’re referencing discusses directly). Most of this was not my original point, but might as well chime in… Maybe this will help illuminate my perspective:

            1. Learning the language of “traditional” (i.e., Western notation) music notation is wonderful, and pretty much necessary if you want to succeed as a musician or music scholar in the U.S.–I can’t speak to other nations, but I imagine this is very much the case universally when it comes to Western art music studies give that it’s notated as such. Studies are designed for people who know how to read music, so if you don’t know this skill, you’re at a tremendous disadvantage.

            2. Western art music can hypothetically be learned through other means, though I have rarely seen it done. I knew a seeing-impaired man at Oberlin Conservatory who learned his repertoire through auditory means, most of it prior to entering the Conservatory. He studied Western art music and jazz as well.

            3. I don’t think we should discourage learning music, including Western art music, through non-traditional means. Many people don’t have access to sheet music, or have learning disabilities, or are visually impaired.

            4. I don’t think encouraging other forms of music education should detract from our teaching traditional music theory and notation; they can and should coexist, which would add to the music community’s diversity.

            5. There are other types of music that do not require you do know how to read sheet music at all to learn the music, and I think children should be encouraged to learn these genres if they have a desire to do so.

            6. Boy is there a lot of fun contention surrounding whether or not popular music genres (which would basically fall under the above, music genres that aren’t typically notated, at least not at first) should be studied via traditional music theory. I witnessed some GREAT arguments about this topic in my graduate studies. Is it appropriate, given that music theory was originally devised to study Western art music? Should we come up with something different that somehow “better” reflects popular music genres? Does Neo-Riemannian theory work? What about an amended Schenkerian analysis? The same arguments exist in the ethnomusicological world. I do not know the answers to these questions. I like to study all genres of music, I don’t mind applying traditional music theory to new forms of music so long as we know that’s what we’re doing. When we analyze progressions in pop songs, they don’t have the same meaning as they would in Shostakovich, as they would in Beethoven, as they would in salsa. They key is to keep context in mind, always. But all this is in the professional realm. Ms. Gill is talking about children. Should children be held back from studying music if they can’t understand music theory, or if music theory isn’t offered for it because the genre they like falls outside of the scope of what one might consider “worthy” of theoretical study at their grade level? Well, surely not! Let US squabble about what should and shouldn’t be analyzed, but don’t stop students from learning. I think that’s what’s actually at the core of Ms. Gill’s piece. Unfortunately, her article a bit short, and needs fleshing out. If she’d done that, I think I’d be more supporting of the article she wrote. And I think the title is very misleading, but I find that of a good 80% of articles I see these days… clickbait!

            And two thoughts on Privilege Walks as pertains to the music world:

            5. Exercises like Privilege Walks in settings amongst established colleagues help shed light on how we all came to our respective successes, what held some of us back, and how we might do better for future musicians to remove roadblocks to musicking. That may be any number of things, such as providing more access to traditional music theory classes for those without means, combating sexism within a music department if a problem is noted, or understanding that a student may not be capable of learning how to read sheet music–but still wants to make music, which means we need to devise alternative teaching approaches.

            6. Somewhere along the line, race is playing a significant part in white people making their way disproportionately into the U.S. Western art music arena as a whole, which infiltrates music theory pretty heavily. The same can be said of gender. I don’t see enough women, and I don’t see enough POC. I do not think there is one “moment” this can be pinpointed, one group that could be blamed. But I do think that when we engage in exercises like Privilege Walks they start to show small moments when just being a POC or a woman, for example, may have impacted a person negatively within the music world. This is when these sorts of things go beyond silly and become helpful, because then we can start getting rid of problems in the field. The Privilege Walks bring awareness.

            Just some thoughts. I don’t think you and I are entirely in disagreement (or maybe I’m wrong!). I just think you don’t find Privilege Walks useful, and I do. But we are in agreement on the merits of music theory education. I love music theory. I also believe ADDING to it, modernizing our process to accommodate others is not a bad thing.

          • Many thanks for your detailed and considered comments.

            You write
            “3. I don’t think we should discourage learning music, including Western art music, through non-traditional means. Many people don’t have access to sheet music, or have learning disabilities, or are visually impaired.”
            Not discourage per se, no – but, as you have already indicated, those three categories of people are going to find music study much harder because they fall into them; however, the same must be said of the alphabet, spelling, basic English grammar and the rest – the acquisition of basic musical literacy has no business being separated from that of verbal literacy and it could be argued that attempting to do this, even if only by implication, is to try to score some kind of political points. No one would claim that learning the alphabet and basic grammar is “élitist”, yet Ms Gill suggests that learning music notation and basic theory is much more difficult, that many people cannot do it and that this kind of “academic” music study is largely the province of the wealthy, all of which is demonstrably nonsense and, given that she suggests that such study is for the privileged, there is the connection with the Privilege Walks business, for all that I believe them to be of questionable – indeed, potentially negative – value in themselves.

            So, yes, we appear to be in broad agreement over some of this but not all!

  24. A musicologist on faculty at an American research university says:

    While Mr Pace and others are right to critique the Gill article, the addendum to this post merely reveals his ignorance on those matters. The undergraduate music program at Harvard is a BA program, not a BMus program–a substantial difference in philosophy and curricular design. That the program is opening its curriculum (for its very small cohort of undergraduates) is only a signal that Harvard is choosing to follow the path pf many American liberal arts colleges. When the BMus programs at conservatories and schools of music make the traditional theory and history sequences optional, then there will be something to actually discuss.

    As for as Dr Leonard’s privilege walk, shaming participants is not the name of the game. Discussing issues around notions of privilege and access to music education are the point; all reports I’ve heard from colleagues who participated in that particular conference session are that Dr Leonard’s privilege walk succeeded in that goal. And yes, contrary to Mr Pace’s suggestion that this was a classroom activity, this indeed took place at a professional conference and the participants were fellow musicologists.

    With the presence of this unfortunate addendum that conflates completely unrelated events, I cannot lend my name in support to your sound critiques of the Gill article. Should you choose to remove the addendum, I will be happy to reconsider.

    • I note that the material relating to Dr Leonard has now been moved; see “Earlier addendum material on related subjects is included at the bottom of this post – this and the above constitute my own thoughts, not those of the signatories” above.

      OK, some might argue that Dr Leonard’s Privilege Walks could be seen as something of a sideshow to the general thrust of Ian Pace’s concerns about the topic which is of course Ms Gill’s article. My concern about the Privilege Walks phenomenon is that, unless their demonstrable outcome is the successful encouragement of the provision of easier and more widespread access to music notation and to tuition in basic music theory wherever these are in shamefully short supply (or no supply at all), they are perhaps an issue of rather less pertinence to Ms Gill’s assertions that these matters being for wealthy whites only and that what she considers to be the overly academic way in which music is generally taught is élitist and largely dismissive of non-wealthy non-whites.

      It is therefore Ms Gill’s untenable and unresearched statements that remain the principal issue here and, as Ian Pace’s drawing of timely attention to them has attracted support from more than 700 people, most of whom are music professionals, it is these, together with the fact that The Guardian has seen fit to publish them beneath a distasteful and absurd headline of their author’s or someone else’s devising, that are the main focus of attention.

      As I note your appreciation of the soundness of Ian Pace’s critiques of Ms Gill’s piece, I hope very much that you will indeed reconsider supporting this cause and its pointing up of gross insults both to the music profession and to the intelligence of people from all races, colours and financial backgrounds.

    • As to the new Harvard BA degree, it might well differ from a BMus degree but it’s still a degree in music and therefore looks to be one that risks sending out the wrong signals to those who might not realise what it does and does not expect of its candidates.

  25. David Russell Hulme says:

    Please add me:

    Dr David Russell Hulme, Director of Music and Reader, Aberystwyth University, musicologist and conductor.

  26. Man Bun Au says:

    Please add me:
    Man Bun Au, Classical guitarist, Adjunct Lecturer, Hong Kong Baptist University.

  27. Kristina Baron-Woods says:

    Please add me:
    Kristina Baron-Woods, Lecturer in Music Theatre, University of Western Ontario

  28. Nina C. Young says:

    Please add me:
    Nina C. Young, Assistant Professor of Music Composition & Multimedia Performance, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

  29. maxviel says:

    Please add me: Massimiliano Viel, Composer and Professor at Conservatory of Milan, Italy

  30. Louise Wiggins says:

    Please add my name in support of this response. Many thanks.

    Louise Wiggins, PhD student, University of Bristol; harpist; and peripatetic music teacher

  31. Please add my name: João Pedro Delgado, viola, PhD researcher, Universidade de Évora, ESART-IPCB.

  32. Please add my name to this list. I found the original article utterly condescending, that somehow poor people will struggle to learn musical notation?!

  33. duncan114 says:

    Please add me also
    Duncan Chapman

  34. Ashley Sutherland, music librarian, freelance clarinettist

  35. Grahame Gordon Innes, composer says:

    I agree, we need more academic music education to continue to provide future generations with skilled, well-read performers who can play, transcribe, edit or compose good quality music in many genres; to dumb-down music education in schools, as is happening now, is to consign to the future only poor quality amateurs with no musical understanding or literacy.

  36. doogriinstitutegmailcom says:

    I give skype piano lessons to nonverbal and autistic students around the world. I too am signing here. Please read my article “Before You Pay for Piano Lessons: Little Johnny’s Bill of Rights”

  37. Martha Watson Brown says:

    Please add me to this !
    Martha Watson Brown Oboist, Composer and teacher of Music Theory

  38. Chris Pelly says:

    I would definitely like to add my name to the list of signatories.

    Chris Pelly
    Concerts Series Administrator, University of Leeds

  39. Karen Boyce says:

    Please add my name
    Karen Boyce – pianist/accompanist and music teacher. New Zealand.
    There are 55+ adults I work with every week in choir, most of them cannot read music and wish they did as it would speed up their learning. This is in a community choir. I have beginner adult piano students wanting to learn piano so they can learn to read and understand the dots, some have played guitar and drums but learning to read is their number one goal!

  40. J.G.H. says:

    James Hockey, musician, teacher, conductor

  41. Jane Becktel says:

    Please add me: Jane Becktel B.Mus.(Hons) Dip. Ed., Choir director.

  42. Andrew Georg says:

    Andrew Georg: repetiteur State Opera of South Australia, organist

  43. I should have added that ability to learn to read music should not be confused with AVAILability of sheet music (without which such learning would of course be impossible for anyone, regardless of their ability or wealth); the availability issue is thus a separate one (by saying which I do not at all seek to undermine its importance) and it is vital that sheet music and the teaching of music notation be available to all.

  44. Paul Rodmell says:

    Paul Rodmell, Head of Music, University of Birmingham

  45. Nicholas Stefano Prozzillo says:

    Dr Nicholas Stefano Prozzillo

  46. Robert says:

    Please add me to the list.
    Robert Coates FRCO(CHM), ARCM. Composer, organist and teacher, Harøy, Norway.

  47. neil luck says:

    Please add me to the list Ian:

    Neil Luck: Composer, performer, music educator

  48. Ian Pace says:

    With permission, I am copying here another letter which was sent to the Guardian in response to Gill’s article.


    Not every student will benefit from notation: some can learn aurally; others through letters or shapes. I play the piano through reading letters alone (D/F#, for example), churning out chords as if it were a guitar. In the US I have seen children pick up songs through tablature alone. Sure, we may not be able to tell the difference between the bass and treble clef, but we can play our favourite songs. That is all I ever wanted from music.
    I worry that the current state of play means many children are, quite literally, locked out. As a discipline, music needs to attract a bigger crowd. Diversity breeds diversity, and teaching is where this needs to start.

    Bully for Charlotte! This just about sums up the tenor of Charlotte C Gill’s proposal that ‘Music Education is now only for the white and the wealthy’. This is an utterly patronising and selfish viewpoint that is founded on an obvious misunderstanding of the value of teaching everybody how to read and understand music. This is a case of – why use big words when there are little words that will suffice instead?’!! Privilege is a ‘big’ word and poor is a ‘small’ word! Welcome to Charlotte’s world!

    As a teacher and musician, comfortable in both classical and contemporary (pop, rock, jazz etc.) genres, I have the highest expectations of all of my students, regardless of background. Is Charlotte C Gill seriously suggesting that I alter (dumb down) my content and methodology to make the subject matter accessible to all? What gives me the right to make those choices for my students based on their backgrounds? She suggests that ‘diversity breeds diversity’! Might I counter with ‘mediocrity breeds mediocrity’ and is not my idea of a finishing line for students. I have spent many years teaching a diverse range of students in Further Education. These are students who wish to carve out a niche for themselves in the Music Industry. Many of them are competent, ‘gigging’ musicians who come to our college to put a musical shape on what they do as performers. They study Sound Engineering and Music Industry Studies as well as Music Theory & Practice and Performance. Most of them do not read music notation. I can promise Charlotte C Gill that they do not attend to learn how to play ‘through reading letters alone (D/F#, for example), churning out chords……..’. I, as the music teacher, demand the highest standards of them and they respond accordingly. If musicians wish to work independently, they need the necessary scaffolding to support them in their quest. This is called ‘Music Theory’ and, when taught in a structured environment and applied practically, is an essential tool for any working musician. In best practice it serves to elevate and nurture the natural talent and creativity of the music student. Igor Stravinsky said “The more constraints one imposes, the more one frees one’s self. And the arbitrariness of the constraint serves only to obtain precision of execution.” There is a beauty in discipline and structure.

    I, and my colleagues, strive to promote independence. We do not encourage the use of chord books but, instead, teach the students how to work things out from ‘first principles’. By the end of the first year these musicians have the ability to think/work in a key, step outside and back into that key with alacrity (is modulation too big a word?!) and they can work out the structure of any chord and find it on their instrument. They understand the concept of voice-leading and apply it practically on guitar and keyboard and, as a result, the standard of their playing improves. They hone their creative songwriting skills by using the knowledge they acquire in music classes. Like the painter, they now have a rich palette to choose from when writing a song. My only hand-out for the year, other than notated music, is an A4 page with the ‘Cycle of 5ths’ on it in the form of a table! We also dare to do sight-reading (that ‘tricky, cryptic language – rather like Latin’) with the students and even scales, arpeggios and modes, and we use big words like anacrusis, enharmonic equivalents, and chromaticism!! We insist that students learn intervals and ‘spell’ their chords correctly in the context of whatever key they are working in. Everything we do in theory is applied practically and students are put though their paces everyday, much like a sports team. The work rate is fierce, for time is of the essence, but the reward for all is wonderful. Many of them wish to work as session musicians and need to be able to connect the sound, the symbol and the shape on their instrument (muscular memory). While doing this we also promote healthy listening and devote many hours to aural development. Does Charlotte C Gill not believe that real education is the key to freedom for everybody? Is she suggesting that I dilute what I do so that those who do not have the means to access private tuition might feel good about themselves? This is ‘positive discrimination’ and is most unbecoming of any teacher. I will continue to make the same demands of all my students because I accord all of them the same respect and will never alter my expectations based on demography. The race to the bottom is well underway but I, like the fabled tortoise, plan to crawl to retirement and teach those students, I am privileged to have in my care, to the highest possible standard.

    The only positive thing about Charlotte C Gill’s article is that it might start a conversation about how we teach sight-reading. The great irony is that many classical musicians, particularly pianists, struggle with sight-reading. The vertical nature of the mnemonics for the ‘lines and spaces’ taught to fledgling musicians, discourages the reading of patterns from left to right. This problem is not the preserve of Ms. Gill – ‘I struggled enormously to read notation as a child’.

    The real debate here is about how we, as educators, can incorporate ‘sight-reading’ into our class and instrumental teaching, practise it effectively with students and promote musical literacy for all. A debate for another day perhaps?!

    Ursula O’Sullivan
    Music Teacher
    CSN College of Further Education

  49. Paul Yarish says:

    Please add me to the list:

    Paul Yarish, pianist, Registered Piano Technician, organ student

  50. […] Response to Charlotte C. Gill article on music and notation – full list of signatories → […]

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