Widening the gap? The challenges for equitable music education in Scotland

Alastair Wilson, Katie Hunter, Lio Moscardini

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5 Citations (Scopus)
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Exposure to and potential to engage in music is now very different for children and young people from more middle class and affluent backgrounds compared to those from working class or poor households. Middle class children and young people have access to opportunities to learn an instrument and engage in performance, predominantly for intrinsic reward and on occasion as the basis of a future career. Children and young people from more working class or poor backgrounds are more likely to be excluded from these opportunities and are less likely to take advantage of opportunities within the wider world of music industries. This research draws on in depth case studies of three local authorities in Scotland to reveal the ways in which local provision for music education is largely being re-shaped by economic factors and restraints. Drawing on aspects of critical theory it discusses the ways in which economic based decisions are interacting with the dominant social and cultural values to influence provision. It makes the argument that in an era of austerity the social and cultural values of the middle class are dominant and effectively increasing inequality in access to music. Children and young people from poor or working class households are increasingly excluded from opportunities to engage with formal music provision.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)473-492
Number of pages20
JournalSupport for Learning
Issue number4
Early online date25 Oct 2020
Publication statusPublished - 30 Nov 2020


  • music inequality
  • social class
  • music education


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