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1 year ago

Queen’s I Want to Break Free, Think by Aretha Franklin and Rag ’n’ Bone Man’s Human are to join favourites by Mozart and Holst after being selected to help reinvigorate school music lessons across the UK.

The tracks are amongst 200 featured in a landmark new classroom tool developed by the Royal Schools of Music examination board, ABRSM, to breathe new life into music lessons for 5 to 14-year-olds, by connecting with them through music they already know and love. The free online resource,, will include pop, folk, rap, jazz, TV and film themes and world music as well as classical. It was designed by a panel of teachers to give other teachers with an interest in music quality, ready-made lesson content which can complement curriculums across the UK and combine technical rigour with music familiar to a far wider range of children.

ABRSM Chief Executive Officer Chris Cobb said: “We know from our own evidence that an incredible 86% of children are actively making music today, and that’s fantastic.

“However, we also know that many teachers lack the confidence, budgets and time to properly support or inspire children to keep learning music – and that just a third of 14-year-olds are involved in classroom music lessons today. There is also a marked decline in children playing instruments as they get older.

“Classroom 200 builds on our unrivalled legacy of working with classical music to help address these issues. It gives teachers free, ready-made lesson plans and content and is designed to inspire pupils by connecting key learning and other musical genres to the kind of stuff that they already listen to.”

ABRSM, the UK’s largest music education charity, is confident the new resource will be popular with schools after more than 10,000 teachers signed up for Classical 100 - a similar resource which was launched by ABRSM in 2015 and featured classical music and a range of classroom activities (without lesson plans).

ABRSM has worked with a range of partner education organisations and teachers to develop its successor and hopes it will appeal to home schoolers as well as non-specialist music teachers.

The website gives teachers access to the 100 classical pieces from Classical 100 and a further 100 pieces including Queen’s I Want to Break Free, Aretha Franklin’s Think, themes from Dr Who, Pirates of the Caribbean and Star Wars, two Welsh language folk songs, Inkanyezi Nezazi by Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Oasis’ Wonderwall, Rag n’ Bone Man’s Human and Paranoid Android by Radiohead, Ma Rainey’s Runaway Blues. They sit alongside a rich and varied selection of classical favourites including Holst’s The Planets, Britten’s Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra, Mozart’s Symphony No 40, Concierto de Aranjuez by Rodrigo and I Got Rhythm by Gershwin.

Lesson plans have been developed for all 200 pieces of music.

Note to Editors

1. Classroom 200: · Classroom 200 is a collaboration between ABRSM, Universal Music Group, and ClassicFM with support from the English Folk Dance and Song Society, NYJO, NYO, Berlioz 150, Trac Cymru and Bristol Beacon.

  • Developed by industry experts with a wealth of primary teaching knowledge and professional experience compiling syllabuses and other education materials, Classroom 200 has been rigorously tested by a broad community of teachers, music services and music education experts. · Anyone can access Classroom 200 by first registering at
  • Simple filters to select music include classroom layout, musical element (pitch, timbre etc), group type (ensemble, solo) and age of children.
  • Teachers can also use the tags to search on a range of key musical and non-musical terms likely to arise in lessons (eg ‘12 bar blues’, ‘harvest’, ‘glockenspiel’ or ‘war’).
  • Classical 100 has been incorporated into Classroom 200 and previous users will need to re-register via the new domain,
  • Where Classical 100 had a simple challenge activity attached to each piece, all 200 pieces in the new resource have full lesson plans designed to complement the curriculum in all parts of the UK and cover the themes of performing, listening, musical skills.

2. ABRSM: Established in 1889, ABRSM is the UK’s largest music education organisation, one of its largest music publishers and the world’s leading provider of music exams, offering assessments to more than 600,000 candidates in over 90 countries every year.

3. Making Music: ABRSM’s 2021 Making Music report, published last autumn, showed that:

  • Only 47% of 16- to 17-year olds are currently playing an instrument, compared to 64% of 8- to 10-year-olds. Of children who report that they have stopped playing a musical instrument, 68% did so by the age of 14.
  • By the age of 11, over half of all children are participating in classroom music lessons at school. However, by the age of 14, the proportion drops to around one in three children and at 16 just one in ten children are involved in classroom music lessons.
  • Compared to the previous Making Music survey report in 2014, the proportion of children and adults currently playing a musical instrument has fallen by 15% and 20% respectively.

Media enquiries to Jon Flinn on 07811 397122

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