The recent Westminster Education Forum (WEF) event on the future of music education was, as one commentator noted, rather like the opening of A Tale of Two Cities. On the one hand, we had pats on the back, testimonies of success, words of encouragement and rallies to keep up the good work. On the other, there were the usual concerns over funding, policy, accessibility, training and progression.

The WEF bills itself as a “premier” vehicle through which stakeholders in education and policymakers can engage in discussion. The event featured a comprehensive spread of contributors, including Richard Morris, former head of ABRSM; Julian Lloyd Webber; national lead for music at Ofsted, Robin Hammerton; and Laura Gander-Howe, director of children, young people and learning at Arts Council England (ACE). There were also representatives from leading conservatoires, music services, hubs, plus schools from primary and secondary sectors, private and state. Teachers, academics, industry leaders and school heads were encouraged to pitch questions from the floor.

The result was a diverse, if perhaps sometimes too broad, platform of debate that captured some of the key issues in the current discourse surrounding music education. But it was singer-songwriter Rumer who left the most striking note, saying that access to music should be every child’s basic right.

The forum often engaged in a tone of optimism. Lord Black, member of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Music Education, set a decisive tone, appealing to the audience with a pledge that music should be at the heart of all children’s education.