Following on from the publication of the controversial Model Music Curriculum last Friday, in a major speech to music education specialists later today, the School’s Minister Nick Gibb is to announce that children in school should only be listening to music by dead, white composers who names begin with the letter B. We have seen excerpts from the speech, in which Gibb will say:
“The music of Bach, Beethoven and Brahms, amongst other dead white composers like Blow, Boyce and Britten, should form the centrepiece of children’s musical listening whilst at primary and secondary school. I believe that this new approach to composers whose name starts with the letter B will provide the clear guidance that schools need. There should be no doubt as to what is important in a child’s music education“.
In further news that will unite the music education sector in his vision of a classically-inspired music curriculum for schools, we understand that the B list of composers will be differentiated according to Key Stage alphabetically, with Bach being core listening for Key Stage 1, Beethoven for Key Stage 2 and Brahms for Key Stage 3. Children will be expected to know key information about each composer, e.g. the dates and locations of particular cantatas, the keys of each symphony (and the ability to whistle first and second subjects with musical control and expression), and key components of the analysis of Brahm’s Fourth Symphony using the principles of developing variation.
Whilst proponents of composers with names beginning with other letters of the alphabet will no doubt be enraged by this announcement, Gibb is not for turning. It is thought that his love of B composers comes from his childhood experience enjoying the Bee Gees (and there wasn’t enough composers who surnames began with G to make the second half of that work). Sources revealed that he was particularly fond of Barry Gibb.