The Londoner: Sheku’s mum: More music in schools can boost diversity

Kadiatu Kanneh-Mason, mother of cellist superstar Sheku, has called for more support for music in schools.

Kadiatu, whose seven children are all talented musicians, said: “We’ve seen budgets shrinking and opportunities disappearing. It was always an academic subject which stimulated creative intelligence but it’s been dumbed down so it’s no longer a viable subject. Children will suffer, so will the industry as it will be even less diverse.” Speaking to Times Radio last night about her book House of Music: Raising the Kanneh-Masons, she spoke about the sector.

“It was very white and it’s getting worse. I think classical musicians would welcome a bigger, more diverse audience, but it’s got to come from the bottom up. If you don’t see diversity, it doesn’t encourage people to go into that industry.”

She added that her children regard discussions about racial inequality “as a huge responsibility — particularly Sheku. He will play a concert and black children will come up to him afterwards and say, ‘you’re such an inspiration and the reason why I’m playing this instrument’ and that’s wonderful.” Sheku wowed the country with his cello playing at Prince Harry and Meghan’s wedding.

Kadiatu confessed that raising seven musicians meant they practised in the bathroom, hallway and even the kitchen. “There was a lot of noise, but thankfully our neighbours were very tolerant and never complained.”

(Dave Benett)

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