The 2012 Olympic effect

The Olympics were a triumph for Britain in terms of gold medals and personal achievements. Many congratulations to all those involved. We have excelled ourselves as a nation and proved that we can be a powerful contender on the world stage despite being a small country. Many are calling the London 2012 team ‘the greatest British Olympic team in history’.

In an article in The Times a couple of days ago, Lord Coe mentioned that we now have a ‘golden opportunity’ to continue developing and nurturing a love of sport in schools across the country. He pointed out that children need to be introduced to sport at schools preferably by the age of 10 or 11, in order to allow it to make a difference to their lives and build a healthy view of competition. Coe’s statement is a powerful one; ‘it will teach them to win, it will teach them to lose with dignity and magnanimity. It’s a pretty good metaphor for life’. The government are putting aside future funding for upcoming athletes hoping to keep the gold medal tally high in Rio as well as inspire future generations of school children.

Although I’m not particularly interested in most sports, I admire the commitment, determination and tenacity of these olympic athletes and I think it’s wonderful to encourage this type of dedication in schools inspiring children to devote their time to something worthwhile. If we can do this for sport why can’t we do it for the arts?

Music is just as valid as sport and in many ways it’s very similar; virtuosic playing requires a large amount of physical movement around an instrument which needs regular committed practice. If we can fund children in schools to excel at sport with the hope of showcasing them at the next Olympics in 2016, then surely we can find funding for those wanting to learn an instrument at school? With the economic downturn affecting the arts more than most other subjects, it is worth considering the importance of music in our lives. Wouldn’t it be a great idea to have sufficient funding to allow all school children to learn an instrument for free for a year at school? Musical success isn’t really determind in terms of gold medals but there is definitely a ‘feel good’ Olympic effect for those who are fortunate enough to have enjoyed playing and performing music during their childhood.

London 2012 Olympic gold medal

Photograph: Julia Hoyle/PA


Melanie Spanswick has written and published a wide range of courses, anthologies, examination syllabuses, and text books, including Play it again: PIANO (published by Schott Music). This best-selling graded, progressive piano course contains a large selection of repertoire featuring a huge array of styles and genres, with copious practice tips and suggestions for every piece.

For more information, please visit the publications page, here.

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Barbara says:

    Hi Mel,
    Many, many years ago when I learned to play the piano, I was awarded Bronze and Silver medals as part of the piano examination process. My examinations were with the IUM – International Union of Musicians – which I don’t think exists now – at least not in the same format.
    Many years later I won medals for Typing and Shorthand too. Seems I’m a bit of a medal collector!
    Would kids be keen to win medals for music?
    Footballers often receive medals… table tennis and tennis players too.
    So perhaps we should bring back medals for everything including music!

    1. Many thanks for your comments Barbara – I agree – medals would be a great incentive for children. There should be an Olympics for music! 🙂

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