Nicola Benedetti: 'Children should be exposed to classical music just as they are to great books'

11 May 2015, 10:40 | Updated: 11 May 2015, 14:35

In an interview with The Scotsman, the virtuoso violinist has said music should be as central to children’s education as maths and English.

“Needing the child’s approval for what they do in school is just such an alien concept when you’re talking about maths, science, history or English,” she said, “but, suddenly, when you bring music into the mix, it’s: ‘Oh no, we can’t show them anything that they don’t instantly love because that would be like forcing children into something that they don’t want to do.’ It just bemuses me.”

She went on to say: “It actually really upsets me when people say: ‘Kids hate listening to a symphony, why would we do that to them?’

“I think, hang on a minute, if you were to turn round and say to a kid: ‘Would you like to play video games or would you like to have a maths lesson?’ Of course, they’re going to go for the video games.”

Benedetti, who is one of the superstars of the classical world and an outspoken advocate for music education, works with Sistema Scotland and it's Big Noise projects.

In the interview with The Scotsman she said: “Children should be exposed to anything that has the sophistication and breadth of unbelievable content that classical music does, just as I think they should be exposed to the greatest books ever written.

“You’re not just developing concentration and focus in order to try to understand the music. You are also getting something that has life lessons, has beauty, has uplift and joy and sorrow and tragedy – all the things that you will have to deal with in your life at some point.”

You can hear Nicola Benedetti perform in Classic FM’s The Full Works Concert on 11 May at 8pm.

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