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.]


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

  1. aufzuleiden says:

    Well said; please add my name to your list.

    Peter Amsel, author and composer (of notated music); former Musical Director of the Espace Musique Concert Society. Ottawa, Canada.

    • I now find “Sorry, this content isn’t available at the moment” when attempting to visit this Facebook page; do you happen to know if it;s been taken down or removed? I’m interested merely because I contributed to it.

  2. Stefan Hagen says:

    I support this, please add me to the list: Stefan Hagen, Dilettant

  3. Nick Loveland says:

    Please add me to this list.

    Nick Loveland, COO, Birmingham Town Hall and Symphony Hall

  4. Jennifer Guppy says:

    Please add me to your list;
    Jennifer Guppy
    British national, resident in France.
    Class music teacher, at a Primary school and private piano and flute teacher.

    It is a cultural crime to deny children access to musical literacy. They have a right to their heritage.

  5. Brad Wake says:

    It would be a crying shame if we had a generation of children who could not read music. Imagine if we had a generation of children who could not read their own spoken language. Children should have the opportunity to learn music notation at a young age, no later than age 7.

  6. […] 1987 book criticising the state of education (though primarily higher-level education) while this musical literacy controversy has unfolded. In The Closing of the American Mind, Bloom argues against a creeping moral relativism and an […]

  7. Jill Osborn says:

    Please add my name to the list.
    Jill Osborn B Mus
    Private piano teacher

  8. This kind of bizarre, ridiculously unfounded nonsense drives me absolutely batty.
    Also, crap like this:
    What, is, the, bloody, point?!
    I remember nearly having a brain aneurysm when I found out about it.
    Anyway, I’d gladly have my name on this list – thank Ian!

    Matthew Lee Knowles: composer + piano teacher

  9. Please add my name:
    Artur CImirro, composer and pianist from Brazil

    I just read about this one hour ago thanks to Hinton.
    I also just made my answer too:

  10. Please add my name to the list:
    Thomas Caddick – Director of the Tobias Matthay Pianoforte School

  11. George Huber says:

    ABSURD to believe that sight-reading is difficult and unteachable. Please add me to the list. And please in the United States, support continued funding for the National Endowment for the Arts despite Trump’s horrible militaristic budget.

    George Huber – singer and mathematician

  12. cjdavey says:

    Please add me: Colin Davey – Education Programmes Manager, Royal School of Church Music, teacher and conductor

  13. Nick Zekulin says:

    Please add my name as well: Nicolas Zekulin, Chief Executive & Artistic Director, National Youth Orchestras of Scotland

  14. Susan Sheppard says:

    Please add me to your list. Susan Sheppard, teacher of cello at RNCM and Trinity Laban and teacher of Latin

    • Wow! So you also teach LATIN?! – that “cryptic, tricky language…that can only be read by a small number of people, most of whom have benefited from private education”. I can imagine your views on Ms Gill’s comment on this!

      • Susan Sheppard says:

        Yes, I can read both music AND Latin without the benefit of a private education! In fact reading music is much the easier…

  15. Philip says:

    Ian Pace and others write and agree with “As with written language, musical notation enables effective and accurate communication”.

    What a bunch of rubbish.
    Musical notation and its overuse and overemphasis have created today’s classical musician: a braindead fingermover, who can regurgitate the written letter, creating dead preconceived non-communication: An utter farce, that is the absolute antithesis of creative human music-making, seen as a personal communication of a musican with the audience.

    But who cares about inner values of a musician? To hell with it: learn music notation as is “enables effective and accurate communication”.
    Ha ha ha…

    • My first reaction was to seek and find the irony in this post but, since I failed to do this, I am left having to assume that its contents are intended to be taken seriously, so I will respond on that basis.

      Firstly, you begin by seeking to address three things here; music notation itself, its alleged “overuse” and its alleged “overemphasis”, without quantifying the latter two and thereby justifying your use of “over-“. You refer to all three of them as having “created today’s classical musician”, as though they’ve all somehow wilfully conspired to do this.

      No one has suggested that the issue of music notation impacts only upon “classical” musicians but, perhaps more importantly, your reference to “today’s” ones takes no account of the rich history of music notation and its development which is of far from recent origin, stretching back as it does over many centuries.

      Why didn’t “braindead fingermovers” result from the dependency upon music notation in the 13th, 16th or 19th centuries? – i.e. why do you consider this to be a phenomenon of relatively recent origin, given how long music notation has existed? What about singers? They can hardly be “fingermovers”, “braindead” or otherwise, in any case.

      Secondly, no one has suggested that music notation and basic theory is, or indeed is widely regarded as, an end in itself, which it so obviously is not and cannot be. If all that its use can enable the musician to do is “regurgitate the written letter”, how is it that performances of the same work, even from the same edition of the score, vary as much as they can and do?

      Thirdly, your suggestion that these factors represent “the absolute antithesis of creative human music-making” implies that composers from Léonin through Palestrina through Bach through Wagner through Dutilleux through Ferneyhough do the same, since all of them have depended upon the use of music notation to get their ideas across to performers who in turn get them across to listeners; if you were a composer, would you not find such a notion either offensive or risible?

      Fourthly, these “inner values of a musician” are not only perfectly compatible with the musician’s acquisition of fluency in music notation and theory but the latter also enables the very development of the former.

      Fifthly, you appear to imply that your trenchant disapproval of music notation and theory and their alleged “overuse” and “overemphasis” does not apply to verbal communication and the written word; why should the two be seen as so fundamentally different? Or do you actually believe that the development of the written word has resulted in consequences as adverse as you see those of music notation?

      Sixthly, you offer no suggestion as to how music as an expressive communicative force could better be served in the absence of notational and theoretical skills; perhaps you might like to do this. One contributor to this thread – a non-musician from the Netherlands – has suggested that it’s perfectly possible to learn to play a Bach fugue without reading music, using instead aural skills and relying upon successful memorising of someone else’s performance of it; yes, it’s possible but, as he states, it’s far more difficult to do than learning it from the score. In any case, that someone else would almost certainly have learned it from the score! Imagine putting together a performance of Schönberg’s Gurrelieder in which none of the performers could read music and had to depend instead on listening to an earlier recording of it (don’t try this at home, let alone in a concert hall!).

      Lastly, you describe what Mr Pace has written – all of which it is abundantly clear that you have wilfully misunderstood – as “a bunch of rubbish”; if there’s a “bunch of rubbish” anywhere in this vicinity, I think that most if not all of the 750+ signatories here (who surely cannot all be wrong, misguided, deluded, &c.?) would know just where to find it…

    • Philip2 says:

      Of course this does not justify other rubbish, such as putting out statements that “Music education is now only for the white and the wealthy”, as if good music education requires money.
      Because let’s be honest: the music education that does require money and is taught by snobbish whites (such as many of the signatories, presumably), is often exactly that type of education that forces you to gobble up notation.
      No, such a music “education” is not what is needed! But what is needed? Or: what is the actual problem?

      We just need to play music again. But it is not valued in our society. We rather consume twitter posts and headlines. But families don’t make music any more. Heck, even families, that are havens that nurture creative humans… are rare in our absurd modernist world, where everyone wants a career, and dine with other hip independent singles at the posh new vegan restaurant, etc.

      We cannot artificially make music into a creative inspiring human activity, if we’re not even able to see the problem, and distract ourselves with essays and counter-essays that all just mislead us anyway.

      • Whilst some of what you write here makes good sense, do you really believe that “just playing music again” (as though most people no longer do it) is somehow incompatible with the acquisition of notational and theoretical skills? And, if so, why only in music and not in verbal communication, mathematics, &c.?

        I had a musical education that ended (in formal terms, at least) with three years at a conservatoire but, when I made my first tentative steps in music, no one was forcing me to gobble up anything, notational skills or otherwise; I made myself do this because I didn’t see how I could have a musical education without having at least some basic understanding of notation, how it works, its shortcomings et al and some other theoretical rudiments, I didn’t set out with a desire to play a musical instrument for the sake of doing so; I wanted to compose. I didn’t see how I could do this without first acquiring some of those skills.

        As to “just playing music again”, please note also the remark in my response to Philip the first in which I refer to another contributor’s observations about the playing of a Bach fugue…

        I should perhaps add that no one here has frowned upon improvisation which, in some quarters, is a sometimes overlooked musical skill but, as a means of music making, it is not and cannot be a substitute for being able to read music.

  16. Ros Hoffler says:

    Please add me to your list …
    Ros Hoffler ABRSM examiner

  17. Roger FF says:

    Please add me to the list of people who disagree and see the list as a pompous, absurdist statement, underlining the death of classical music.

    • I’ve no idea who you are asking to do this. Who are these people whom you mention? Where is this list of people who disagree? The least that you could do is identify it and point to its location if indeed you have a point to make and a wish to express that could be met by anyone.

      • U O'Sullivan says:

        Dear Roger FF,

        Why resort to sarcasm when, instead, you could initiate a campaign to promote [musical] illiteracy. Start your own list – there is nothing quite like a bit of healthy competition – and perhaps the signatories could put a simple ‘X’ on the dotted line in support of ‘illiteracy for all’!

        • I take your point although I don’t think that sarcasm per se was even achieved, let alone intended, in a post requesting inclusion in “the list of people who disagree and see the list as a pompous, absurdist statement, underlining the death of classical music”, especially since there IS no such list of dissenters and, even if there were one, it is unclear who the poster is seeking to address when asking to be added thereto.

          That said, why would all those distinguished music practitioner signatories have added their names to the list to which the poster so vehemently objects if it were in reality based upon the “pompous, absurdist statement” that said poster claims it to be, let alone if it is representative of the “underlining (of) the death of classical music”, especially given that Mr Pace’s comments are clearly not confined to “classical music” in the first place?

          “Roger FF”? “Roger pp” would be more in order, methinks!

          • U O'Sullivan says:

            Roger is having a good laugh! Of course he knows there is no dissenters’ list which is why he asked to be added to it! It’s provocation! He’s enjoying it all the more because we’re playing ball!

          • I don’t doubt that he is – or at least that he might think that he is – although, if so, it proves that what makes some people laugh does something quite different for others. I don’t think that any of us is “playing ball”, actually; indeed, that “ball”, if there is one, is firmly in Ruggiero fortissimo’s court to inaugurate that “alternative” list and try to encourage signatories to it, if he can and if he has nothing better to do. We’ll see what we see, I guess.

  18. […] Ian Pace’s response to Charlotte Gill’s article in The Guardian includes a link to the original article, his open letter and links to other articles written in response. […]

  19. SVM says:

    [I attempted to post this yesterday — apologies if this is a duplicate post (feel free to delete if so)]

    I hereby request that I be added to the list of signatories. Please print my name as:

    “Sasha Valeri Millwood, MA (Cantab.) MMus (GSMD), musician, musicologist, & doctoral researcher, University of Glasgow”

    Music is fundamentally an intellectual pursuit as much as it is a vocational one. If anything, I would argue that the discipline as represented in institutional curricula is not intellectual enough. Notation and theory, when taught well and deployed intelligently (and, speaking personally, I think Gill’s preference for reading music by letter-names rather than by the intervals, shape, and direction — features which Western notation exemplifies — is enormously misguided, and I find it surprising that she claims it to be easier), are remarkably sophisticated tools that enable composition, improvisation, performance, and analysis to flourish. They are not part of the problem, but part of the solution.

    As for the issues of socio-economic barriers, the fact is that many facets of music depend on one-to-one teaching (from complete beginner to postgraduate level and beyond!), and will, therefore, always be expensive.

  20. Patrick Nunn says:

    Please add my name to the list

    Dr Patrick Nunn, Lecturer in composition, Royal Academy of Music, London

  21. Frank Williams says:

    Please add my name to the list

    Dr. Frank “Pretentious Classical Sterile Nut” Williams, Lecturer in Sight-Reading, Notation and Metronomization, at RAM, London

  22. Frank Williams says:

    “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).”

    Ian Pace, may I ask you: which drugs are you taking, mate?
    Since when is it considered a shame, when one has had the privilege of good schooling, etc.
    Seriously, get a grip, man!

    • Does this actually mean anything? If so, what?

      • Greg says:

        It means that what is considered “privileged” in a privilege-walk, is not something to be ashamed of, even though Ian absurdly reads it this way.
        This is just an absurd misappropriation by Ian. He’s reading to much into things.

        Have you looked at the webpage that Ian links to? Ian writes: “Worse, Texan musicologist Kendra Leonard”.
        Ah poor Ian: seeing enemies, where there are none.
        Picking out minor side points from writing, in order to write cheap tautological counter-statements, that satisfy the shallow, believing that he is opposing something, when there is nothing to really oppose in the first place.
        (I suppose that if you want to make a point about something, you really can. Poor Ian. Me’thinks he doth protest too much, and suffers from a wee bit of grandeur, elevating minor stuff to … what’s that word again… notationgate. What? Notationgate? My my!)

  23. […] light of the recent heated discussions following Charlotte Gill’s article on musical notation and theory, which have come to be […]

  24. Bird Lover says:

    Nice! Now we have a list of mainstream reductionist parrots.

    Polly want a cracker?!

    • Does this actually mean anything? If so, what?

    • maestrolm says:

      Well! Then – as 1) you’ve identified yourself as “Bird Lover” and 2) we signatories as “parrots” – it 3) therefore follows quite naturally that you’re actually professing your LOVE FOR WHO WE ARE AND WHAT WE PROCLAIM. Thank you, Bird!

  25. James says:



    James “learned scholarly puppet” Wilkinson-Binger III

    • William Nash-Grainham says:

      Cannot argue with something that’s so inherently true.

      Please add my name to the list as well.

      I’m off to sign another list (similar to this one on the importance of being able to use notation):
      * use a toothbrush
      Please add your names and support to this very important topic as well.

  26. […] response, more than 700 professional musicians, teachers and others – including me and many who were either educated or are now teaching in state schools – signed […]

  27. […] response, more than 700 professional musicians, teachers and others – including me and many who were either educated or are now teaching in state schools – signed […]

      • Graham says:

        What can you expect from institutionalized loonies?

        They know the music institution and want everyone to know it.
        Laughable really.
        (Or do they fear for their “oh so important music theory” jobs and funding?
        I mean: who will analzyse Ferneyhough, if this comes to a stop???)

        • “analzyse”? New one on me, is that. I have no idea. Fact is that anyone who wishes to work in an orchestra, chamber ensemble or any number of other environments needs to be notation savvy. If you’d rather that such groups of musicians be gotten rid of as alleged scourges upon society because they’re “élitist” or whatever, then so be it. Good luck to you with that.

          • Fred says:

            “…that such groups of musicians be gotten rid of as alleged scourges upon society because they’re “élitist”…”

            You’re missing the points that have been brought up.
            It’s not about being “élitist”, but about being an institutionalized brainwashed machine: moving fingers according to dots on paper.

            There were other points as well (some brought across nicely with irony):
            * Notation and it’s learning is overvalued.
            * The unquestioned value placed on notation is mainstream.
            * Classical music is not defined by notation
            * Notation does not make you a musician.
            * Nobody is going to really actively stop (!) anybody from learning notation. If you want to learn, you can learn.
            * Notation is a minor side issue.

            But hey… if you like fighting for obvious minor tautological truths (“notation has value”), then so be it. As was mentioned above, why not state that “using a toothbrush is good”… while we’re at it.

          • Fred says:

            ((On second thought… people who value notation so much, that they need to go to such ridiculous lengths… really are élitist. Not only that. They’re also mainstream, misguided, academic, positivist, non-critical people with a rather narrow view… if I may say so))

          • Mike Wheeler says:

            How can you be mainstream and elitist at the same time?

          • Fred says:

            The biggest irony of these protectors of classical music, who value notation so much…

            is that they are actually busy destroying classical music.
            Well actually their just busy kicking a dead horse cadaver, since classical music has been dead for a very long time already anyway.

            The irony being: they’re not really protecting classical music. They’re continuing the destructive worship of letter above self, keeping classical music firmly conserved (!) in it’s twisted oh-so-proper manner. Yes, I’m not surprised that we call it conservatory. Go there to be brainwashed.

          • Irene Quirmbach says:

            Fred–you have no idea what you are talking about! Classical music is not dead and if you think musical notation is unnecessary than you are a royal idiot!!!

          • Steve says:

            “Classical music is not dead”

            That statement is only true, if you have been conditioned (or conditioned yourself) not to shudder in horror, when hearing the manner in which so-called classical music is performed and rendered.

            Just because someone is playing the notes of classical music (probably from sheetmusic, drilled with a metronome, and fashioned with a strict rational aesthetic, and clean mechanical duration-divisions)…
            does not mean that classical music is … quote “not dead”.

            Quite the contrary, in my opinion: It’s dead as a doornail.

          • Then I feel sorry for you – or at least I would do so if I thought for one moment that you were making any sense on the subject (which I don’t)…

          • Steve says:

            The more 1st prize winners of music competitions that your hear, the more you can hear how dead classical music actually is.
            (It’s probably still not making sense to you, right.
            You probably agree with Mr. Wilkinson-Binger’s comment above. Well so be it.)

          • Who said anything about competition winners? Not I, for sure! That’s not what any of this is about and so you’re missing the point entirely in your vain (in both senses) attempt to harness competitions (as though musical composition and performance depended thereupon) as some kind of excuse to make a point when you don’t actually have one to make. Sorry.

          • Steve says:

            Philip made the point quite clear. And he exposed the type of erroneous drivel that notation-worshippers succumb to: “musical notation enables effective and accurate communication”.


          • Notation “worshippers”? Once again you have – wilfully, it seems – missed the point. None of the hundreds of supporters here are notation “worshippers”; they simply recognise the value of notation and its disciplines as part of the overall process of being able to play and work with other players when performing music. It astonishes me that you and a handful of others cannot – or rather will not – see what this is about. The issue is the allegation that pursuing notational disciplines is somehow élitist, when in reality it’s no more “élitist” than learning the alphabet and how to use it or learning simple multiplication tables and using them. Mon Dieu! Je suis étonné!

          • Steve says:

            Put another way:
            There’s nothing wrong with notation. (There: I’ve said it!)
            But there’s something wrong, when we think that there’s something wrong with NOT emphasizing and elevating notation.

            I hope you can parse the double negations… and that your head does not explode when you do!

          • Steve says:

            There’s nothing wrong with using your fingers to do addition. (There: I’ve said it!)
            But there’s something wrong, when we think that there’s something wrong with NOT emphasizing and elevating using-fingers-to-do-addition.

          • I’m afraid that I’ve lost (if ever I even had it) any sense of what it is that you’re talking about in the context of the subject under discussion here, in the light of which all that I can do at this point is leave you to do whagever it is that you might want to do with your fingers, be it as an aid to addition of piano playing or whatever else; I can say no more about your lucubrations – end of…

  28. […] response, more than 700 professional musicians, teachers and others – including many who were either educated or are now teaching in state schools – signed a […]

  29. Steve – I can’t even be bothered with your “double negations”, so rest assured that my head has not been subject to explosions upon reading your comments; the facts are there for all to appreciate and it now seems that even you have no in-principle problem with the notion of notation, which has its place in the study of music, so there we are!

    • Grahame Gordon innes, composer of very alive classical music rendered by non-elitist musicalnotation says:

      Hello Alistair,
      I have been following some of this debate for a while, occasionally with amusement and often with horror. It is difficult to conclude exactly what the detractors of notation have against it since their often heated prose seems generally to lack any kind of organised or orchestrated thread of reasoning. Equally bizarre is their claim that being able to read music is elitist and in some way destroys classical music. I have to conclude, as a musician and composer myself, that their rambling arguments proceed from at least two things; 1) they can’t do it themselves and are seeking to exonerate themselves from this failure by reversing its significance in their minds and 2) they lack sufficient musical knowledge or ability to be capable of rational musical decisions. Or to put it in the non-elitist, non-academic vernacular that they would have us all wallow in 1) THEY ARE TALKING B”£%$&*(& and 2) THEY ARE TALKING B”£%$&*(& DERIVED FROM THEIR JEALOUSY AND ASSOCIATED COMPLEXES.

      • Mae mae says:

        “rational musical decisions”

        You mean like ‘sewing machine Bach’

        • Grahame Gordon innes, composer of very alive classical music rendered by non-elitist musicalnotation says:

          Not at all, whatever you mean by sewing machine Bach is unfamiliar to me. I mean something quite different, nothing to do with sewing machines or particularly JS Bach, JC Bach, CPE Bach, WF Bach, Offenbach or any other Bach.

          • I’ve no idea what “sewing-machine Bach” means either, not least becuase I’ve fortunately never encountered any. I’m no HIPPster dogmatist but would readily concur that Bach’s keyboard works (other than for the organ) would sound far more effective on a modern Bösendorfer 290 than on any sewing-machine, although I would also accept that Bach’s works do all require the services of Singers, be they singing singners or instrumental ones.

          • Henry says:

            Sewing Machine Bach.

            Obviously nobody here’s heard of Sol Babitz before…
            His writing is… as relevant as ever.

          • Grahame Gordon innes, composer of very alive classical music rendered by non-elitist musicalnotation says:

            Sol Babitz was talking about methods of performing Bach and this still has no connection with what I said to which the comment was added and wholly inappropriate.

          • Henry says:

            Grahame… you’re criticizing people who are bringing in a new point…
            One that is easily overlooked, since it sits neither at the utopian position that overvalues notation, nor at the utopian position that argues that notation is not needed at all.
            It’s a position that questions notation… and the aesthetic that it’s created.

      • I kinow, I know: I cannot begin to describe how tiresome it all is…

        • Grahame Gordon innes, composer of very alive classical music rendered by non-elitist musicalnotation says:

          Hi Alistair, I can imagine how tiresome; probably as tiresome as trying to explain calculus to to an automated answering machine. They seem to have lost sight of the original article and Ian Pace’s intentions in responding to it. Others are on a class war bandwagon for the sake of it. Some just want to have a go at those in life who have an ability or knowledge set. The class war nonsense is particularly sad; my father was working class, extremely intelligent with an IQ similar to A Einstein. His generation of working class people and their generation before them fought hard to gain equal rights within academia and the education system in general. They WANTED the same knowledge and understanding of everything in the world that was previously considered the preserve of the privileged. Now that knowledge is more readily available than ever yet there is a big hoo-ha about not wanting it. There is nothing elitist about being musically literate. Nobody tried to stop me gaining that literacy or made it difficult for me. Being able to write symphonies does not get me into exclusive gentleman’s clubs, or mean that I only wear Saville Row now; it does mean I now drive a Bentley and go to champagne teas at Buck’s Palace (or even Posh and Beck’s ‘Beckingham’ Palace). It just means that at a young age I recognised within myself a ‘life’ need to study music properly ergo academically – not in some peacemeal half-hearted amateur fashion. I then set about that task until finally, one day, I exceeded the ‘programming’ and wrote my first symphony. In other words I took the rules on board until acquiring sufficient mastery of them to create original work. Had I not bothered with theory/notation several rather silly results would have followed – my ideas would still have been stuck in my mind without any way of being shared with others, I would not have become able to teach music or write a treatise on harmony, I would ‘apparently’ have nothing worthy to say to the world and finally anything I did say would not be backed up by knowledge/experience/understanding/proven ability. These anti-notationists suggest people successfully graduating from conservatoires are brain dead, then what the hell are the anti-notationists whose abilities by comparison are insignificant to the conservatoire graduates? Or to put it another way; if one placed the solo part of Sibelius’s Violin Concerto in front of any conservatoire violin graduate, and then in front of an anti-notationist, which would produce the most coherent signs of brain life? Methinks conservatoire graduate 95-100% positively alive, anti-notationist 0%

          • Irene Quirmbach says:

            Thank you! I could not have said it any better. As a classically trained musician I can honestly say that without notation, I would not be able to play and produce the wonderful sounds that I do daily! I teach children from all walks of life and they really love to learn to read and play music. The joy they express when they finally “get it” is priceless…

          • Fully agreed (except that when you write “it does mean I now drive a Bentley and go to champagne teas at Buck’s Palace (or even Posh and Beck’s ‘Beckingham’ Palace)” I think that you mean that it doesn’t mean this!

          • Henry says:


            You’ve got it backwards. That’s not what was mean… I think.
            Nobody is really against notation.

            But some people are against seeing notation being overvalued:
            Along the lines, that…
            Notation will not make you a good musician. Notation will not install a sense of style or aesthetic (except if you’re performing certain modern, avant garde works).

            How else to explain it?
            It’s like praising the value of being able to use a pen, when we’re actually taking about poetry.

            Of course… mentioning the dangers of overvaluing notation, is quite rare, fringe and miles and miles away from the mainstream… (where many people are happy hammering away on their instruments)

          • Henry says:

            “These anti-notationists suggest people successfully graduating from conservatoires are brain dead.”

            No… firstly… they are not against notation.
            Secondly: they regard the effects of notation (conservatory practice)… and see it critically.

            Their point is not related to literacy at all. It goes deeper… to the level of meaning, interpretation, presentation, performance, aesthetics, etc.

            Perhaps it’s inappropriate to throw in these ideas, when the original discussion (notation yes or no) is quite obviously such a naive simplistic one, that it can probably be fully understood in 140 characters of twitter-text.

          • Henry says:

            ” It’s like praising the value of being able to use a pen, when we’re actually taking about poetry. ”

            Oh wait.. we’re actually taking solely about a pen here, right.
            Silly me… 😉

            (Oh and add me to the list of people who value the use of the toothbrush)

          • Henry says:

            Obviously I see a pen as being super-important as well!!
            Where do I find a list of signatories for that?

          • Grahame Gordon innes, composer of very alive classical music rendered by non-elitist musicalnotation says:

            People who attend conservatoires have already mastered notation for a long time; conservatoires do not exist to teach people notation. That will have been done at a much lower level – namely primary or secondary school. The original paper article was about the teaching of notation in schools. There have been several posts since then by people who clearly disapprove of teaching notation to enable musical literacy, and cite (as you do) the idea that notation in some way gets between the performer and meaning, interpretation, presentation, performance, aesthetics, etc. However, the truth is very different; as a music teacher I introduce my students to notation so that they can understand what they see and have a structural framework in which to comprehend musical sounds and progressively learn techniques. By the time they are working at Grade 3 level they have a good understanding of these ‘nuts and bolts’ and are already dealing with concepts like phrasing and expression, interpretation, meaning, presentation and being able to perform collaboratively with an accompanist. By the time they have reached Grade 5 level the content of the lessons has shifted its emphasis much further away from the nuts and bolts of notation toward artistic and aesthetic considerations, feelings, connecting with the music and its author, etc: in order to meet the requirements of the exam – a performance that is meaningful. By the time someone has achieved the level of technical mastery necessary to get into a conservatoire (the ability to achieve a distinction in grade 8 just to be granted an audition) they will be almost entirely focused on meaning and aesthetics for one reason alone – that their technical mastery is already in place and they are no longer distracted by problems achieving accuracy. This is why conservatoires insist on such a high technical standard; because their teachers are the best and do not have time to waste teaching students how to read music, or play it correctly (in tune, in time, with good tone and observing performance directions made by the composer). Conservatoire teachers are there to enable their students to perfect and hone their understanding of the composer’s intentions, how to communicate the music profoundly to others and how to make the most aesthetically profound nuances real – at the highest level possible. As for the argument you made about the pen and poetry, what do poets write poetry with and how would they write their poems without it? How would other people read the poems, then understand what they have read, if the poet had not first had the pen and a language, and then not learned how to use them to an advanced level? The mention of a toothbrush is surreal, since it is not an implement involved in communicating an art form to others, though failure to master the use of a toothbrush could diminish a person’s social interactions with others due to offending their nostrils rather badly.

          • Jonathan says:

            Nicely written, Grahame Gordon innes

            Just note that some people will see “the composer’s intentions” very negatively.
            The kinds of things that have been done, supposedly for “the composer’s intentions”, are often far away from an engaging performance (particularly in the realm of baroque, but also other eras, even classical).

            And note also: just listing grades and typical expectations of schooled progress, will also not necessarily be of value.

            Take a look at the following to understand this:

   (note the very interesting quote at the end)

          • Grahame Gordon innes, composer of very alive classical music rendered by non-elitist musicalnotation says:

            Jonathan, the point about the grades is relevant because ABRSM/Trinity examiners will not give merits or distinctions for someone who just plays like a robot. Without achieving a distinction at grade 8 no music academy or conservatoire will grant an audition. To achieve a distinction at that grade will require a candidate to play in a manner that is feeling, expressive, well-communicated and shows the deepest understanding of each piece being performed. I have over 30 years experience of teaching music, so I am talking directly from experience and understanding myself. There is no way that the anti-conservatoire comments have any validity. I also have over 40 years experience as a composer; yes performers and conductors can get it wrong with interpretations but I would rather have a conductor conducting my work than a musically illiterate person, because at least I can talk to the conductor and professional performers in professional musical language that will be understood to get my intentions across. With regard to baroque music there is a strong trend in all conservatoires / music colleges to study end use the methods in common practice among musicians of that time. The over-orchestrated Stokowski versions of Bach are frowned upon now.

          • Nancy says:

            “For if it’s true that music is made of what you cannot buy, it is also true that a page of chords and key signatures is not what we enjoy when we enjoy music. We do not dance to sheets of paper covered with notes or recall a melody as ink markings on a staff. Music lives for us as a performance in which we partake, as musicians, as listeners, as dancers. And so the tradition of live performance is the heart of our classical tradition.”

            “[…] early nineteenth century […]. There was little interest in using the metronome to tick all the way through a piece of music. But this is how the device is used by conservatory students today.”
            (from Reflections on American music: the twentieth century and the new millennium : a collection of essays presented in honor of the College Music Society by James R. Heintze (Pendragon Press, 2000))

            “… tendency to look alike, sound alike and think alike. The conservatories are at fault and they have been at fault for many years now. Any sensitive musician going around the World has noted the same thing. The conservatories, from Moscow and Leningrad to Juilliard, Curtis and Indiana, are producing a standardized product.
            […] clarity, undeviating rhythm, easy technique, ‘musicianship’. I put the word musicianship in quotes, because as often as not, it is a false kind of musicianship – a musicianship that sees the tree and not the forest, that takes care of the detail but ignores the big picture; a musicianship that is tied to the printed note rather than to emotional meaning of a piece.
            The fact remains that there is a dreadful uniformity today and also an appalling lack of knowledge about the culture and performance traditions of the past.”
            (by Harold C. Schonberg,4160516 )

          • Nancy says:

            “Modern style […] It does not usually inflect or shape notes, […] use agogic accent of placement, add gracing at all generously, or use rubato (tempos are metronomic and unyielding).
            Sol Babitz described it as “sewing machine” style, thinking of the rigidly mechanical rhythmic approach, the four equally stressed 16ths, and the limited flexibility in tempo that often characterizes performances of historical repertoire heard in Modern style”
            (by Bruce Haynes, The end of early music (Oxford University Press))

            “Modern style is the principal performing protocol presently taught in conservatories all over the world.”
            (by Bruce Haynes, The end of early music (Oxford University Press))

            “formalists would contend that the meaning of music lies in the perception and understanding of the musical relationships set forth in the work of art and that meaning in music is primarily intellectual”
            (by Leonard B. Meyer, in Emotion and Meaning in Music)

  30. […] response, more than 700 professional musicians, teachers and others – including many who were either educated or are now teaching in state schools – signed a […]

  31. […] response, more than 700 professional musicians, teachers and others – including many who were either educated or are now teaching in state schools – signed a […]

  32. I would like to be added to the list. Please refer to me as Margaret M. Zheng, pianist, violist, composer, and high school student. My most beloved memories of general music class were of when we studied beyond whatever may be called “limited classical repertory,” exploring African percussion, program music, and twelve-tone and mathematical compositional techniques, among other fascinating topics.

  33. John says:

    Thinking you’re protecting classical music and its traditions (to which you count notation).

    I mean… you kindof come across as a conservative (right) in this point of valuing notation.
    But in reality you’re more of a cuckservative… i.e. a sellout who has completely false ideas of what musical traditions are.

    Cuckservative – just to explain – is like Angela Merkel. Belonging to a central (and christian) non-leftist party… where you’d thing she’d hold a stance. But instead… complete sellout… not even realizing how far away she’s drifted.

  34. […] Response to Charlotte C. Gill article on music and notation – full list of signatories (30/3/17) […]

  35. […] response by British pianist Ian Pace, critical of Gill’s article and intended for publication in The Guardian, has garnered more than […]

  36. […] several others co-ordinated, with signatories from a range of leading musicians and musicologists (see here for the full list, and a range of links to other responses). I also wrote a follow-up article for The […]

  37. […] an article by Stella Duffy on the arts, elitism and community (and this follow-up), not to mention the debate on teaching musical notation in schools following an article by Charlotte C. Gill. I have also posted some related articles on musical canons, and this on deskilling in musical […]

  38. […] or difficulties, but the same could be said about any type of reading). For more on this, see the response to the 2017 article by Charlotte C. Gill on music notation, and my follow-up article in The Conversation (‘The insidious class divide in music […]

  39. David Rudge says:

    Please add my name to the list.

    David Rudge – Conductor, Rock Hill Symphony, SUNY Fredonia, NY; Leader, Music for People and the Improv. Collective.

  40. […] 2020, brings to a further readership many of the key issues debated a few years ago as part of #notationgate and also of deskilling (see here and here). This is behind a paywall, but can currently be accessed […]

  41. […] auf Gills Artikel waren gewaltig. Über tausend Kommentare am Artikel und so viele Gegenreaktionen, dass andere davon Übersichten erstellten. Einer der polarisierendsten Vorwürfe: Hier wird ein musikalischer Analphabetismus romantisiert. […]

  42. […] auf Gills Artikel waren gewaltig. Über tausend Kommentare am Artikel und so viele Gegenreaktionen, dass andere davon Übersichten erstellten. Einer der polarisierendsten Vorwürfe: Hier wird ein musikalischer Analphabetismus romantisiert. […]

  43. […] auf Gills Artikel waren gewaltig. Über tausend Kommentare am Artikel und so viele Gegenreaktionen, dass andere davon Übersichten erstellten. Einer der polarisierendsten Vorwürfe: Hier wird ein musikalischer Analphabetismus romantisiert. […]

  44. […] auf Gills Artikel waren gewaltig. Über tausend Kommentare am Artikel und so viele Gegenreaktionen, dass andere davon Übersichten erstellten. Einer der polarisierendsten Vorwürfe: Hier wird ein musikalischer Analphabetismus romantisiert. […]

  45. […] auf Gills Artikel waren gewaltig. Über tausend Kommentare am Artikel und so viele Gegenreaktionen, dass andere davon Übersichten erstellten. Einer der polarisierendsten Vorwürfe: Hier wird ein musikalischer Analphabetismus romantisiert. […]

  46. […] auf Gills Artikel waren gewaltig. Über tausend Kommentare am Artikel und so viele Gegenreaktionen, dass andere davon Übersichten erstellten. Einer der polarisierendsten Vorwürfe: Hier wird ein musikalischer Analphabetismus romantisiert. […]

  47. […] auf Gills Artikel waren gewaltig. Über tausend Kommentare am Artikel und so viele Gegenreaktionen, dass andere davon Übersichten erstellten. Einer der polarisierendsten Vorwürfe: Hier wird ein musikalischer Analphabetismus romantisiert. […]

  48. […] auf Gills Artikel waren gewaltig. Über tausend Kommentare am Artikel und so viele Gegenreaktionen, dass andere davon Übersichten erstellten. Einer der polarisierendsten Vorwürfe: Hier wird ein musikalischer Analphabetismus romantisiert. […]

  49. […] white and the wealthy, published in The Guardian on 27th March has caused quite the furore. A response by pianist Ian Pace has so far gathered over 500 high-profile supporters, including […]

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