This past year has brought about important conversations about women’s work in music, and many highly publicized opportunities for the public at large to become more informed and engaged with often-neglected music. Laura Seddon mentioned in her guest blog that though well-intentioned, these efforts often fall far short of real and lasting change. But it seems as though there is some hope on the horizon.
A student in the UK has created a petition to include works by women composers in the A-level syllabus and exams. Jessy McCabe, who is 17 years old, reached out to the Music Head of Edexcel (an international British education and examination board) with her request to include more works by women in the curriculum but was given a less than satisfactory answer. From the story at Sinfini Music:
Edexcel’s current A2 Music syllabus, which dates from 2008, gives students the opportunity to study 63 set works, all by male composers. However, when Ms McCabe wrote to Edexcel’s Head of Music to complain, she was told that ‘there would be very few female composers that could be included’ – a statement that the student disputes.
Despite the exam board saying that they were ‘keen to involve more work from female composers’, Ms McCabe said she found that an updated version of the syllabus due to be introduced in 2016 also does not include any works by female composers.