Why singing in a choir is no longer cool for school: Leading headteacher says groups are falling out of fashion

Daily Mail, 14.07.15, School choirs are in decline because modern pupils don’t see them as ‘cool’ enough, the head of the Duchess of Cambridge’s former school has said. HMC member Jonathan Leigh, headmaster of Marlborough College is quoted.

School choirs are in decline because modern pupils don’t see them as ‘cool’ enough, the head of the Duchess of Cambridge’s former school has said.

Jonathan Leigh, headmaster of Marlborough College, said it was a ‘desperate shame’ that the ‘very deep British tradition’ of school choirs was falling out of fashion.

His comments follow recent evidence of a decline in singing at primary schools as teachers channel their resources into securing league table success instead.

Mr Leigh told The Daily Telegraph: ‘Classical music is not always deemed to be a really cool attribute to have. There is that hurdle to be gone over.’

Schools obsessed with topping league tables have also contributed to the decline of singing amongst youngsters, he said.

Even the popularity of BBC shows such as The Choir starring Gareth Malone have not been able to stop the decline in singing among youngsters

‘People are frightened of reaching the highest level of excellence because it takes immense concentration and it demands a lot of extra time...

'Teachers are more pressured to meet these other targets,’ he added.

Teachers should instead realise the ‘undefinable benefit’ of singing, described by Mr Leigh as a ‘national heritage’.

‘Schools have to market the fact that this is a great attribute to have and that there is an advantage of being a great team player in a choir, and this is an extra dimension to one’s whole education,’ the headmaster said.

Singing is ‘good for respiration and both physical and mental alertness’ and also helps build pupil’s ‘self-assurance’, he said.

Marlborough College is a £33,930-a-year boarding school in Wiltshire. Its former pupils include the Duchess of Cambridge, Princess Eugenie, Samantha Cameron and Sir John Betjeman.

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