Shirt arrived and I agree that it’s a quality item. Bravo and thank you.
The [Kathleen] dress is perfect. Saved further trailing through retail stores with no success. Your website catered for my specific needs. Thank you. Vanessa
I have been spreading the news about how wonderful your store/site is. Thank you! Thank you! Wendy
I cannot rate your website highly enough for both quality and customer service. I am absolutely delighted with the purchase of my bespoke ‘Clara’ skirt which fits to perfection. I would have no qualms in recommending you to family, friends and colleagues. A truly first rate service. You should all be very proud of the service which you offer. Mary Hayton
The [Edward] shirt is excellent, really ideal. It is very comfortable and smart. Gwyn Parry-Jones
The [Vivien Maxi] skirt fits perfectly and is BEAUTIFUL. Thank you again. I have passed along your information to the orchestra….as I know it is often difficult to find the proper, professional attire for performances. Charla
The [Vivien Maxi] skirt has arrived and it is beautiful! Thank you Elisabete
Thank you so much for your help earlier today – and for the [Rebecca] dress. It is absolutely beautiful and my daughter loves it. Apparently it is too nice to just use for concerts, so it is going to become a “party dress” as well! I’m delighted to find something that fits so well and looks appropriate for concerts. Thank you once again. Sarah
Thank you so much for delivering the wonderful black skirt and sashes for Phoebe. She is absolutely thrilled and they are a perfect fit. I’m sure all her friends will want to know where we found such a wonderful skirt and we will point them towards your company! We look forward to making future orders! Penelope
I’ve received the Vivien Maxi Child skirt . To be honest with you I was really surprised at the wonderful quality of the material. It’s such a lovely skirt that I’ve recommended you to my daughter’s cello teacher who, in turn, will recommend to other parents . I can’t thank you enough. Tia
The dresses were a great success and the girls and parents were really happy with them. They made the performance look much more professional and cohesive. Lucy Elphinstone, Headmistress Francis Holland School, Sloane Square
It worked really well at its first outing at our recent concert and had many nice compliments. Rebecca Cavill, St Mary’s School, Calne
Your clothes are worth every penny, and are quite frankly the only clothes I’ve ever found that I’ve felt remotely comfortable in to perform. Pianist, Wales
I had a reception gig yesterday and wore the [Clara] skirt and it was just beautiful. Hannah Flowers, Professional Harpist, Forest Lake, Minnesota
The dress arrived earlier today and it’s lovely! So elegant and very comfortable! Flautist, Shropshire
I am wearing the (Imogen) top! It is lovely! Everything worked so well, the website, ordering and the prompt delivery. Sharon, Newbury

The Importance of Music Education

Once upon a time back in 2007 there was a violinist called David Juritz who decided to travel around the world with his violin, playing Bach and raising money for a new charity. Inspired by the success of El Sistema in Venezuela and Buskaid in South Africa, David wanted to do something to help teachers start similar projects in developing countries.

Twenty-four countries and 50 cities later David busked on every continent except the Antarctic and played the entire Bach repertoire for solo violin. He also raised £25,000 to start his charity Musequality.

Sadly, the charity no longer exists but during my time there I was moved profoundly by one piece of news. At the Tender Talents Magnet School in Kampala the first group of children to take part in the Musequality project at the school all the way through their secondary education achieved straight ‘A’s in their final exams. Many went on to university.

This fantastic performance meant that the school shot up the Ugandan league tables to 250th out of over 5,000 schools. But this school receives no direct government funding and draws its pupils from the poorest section of the community. A high proportion have lost parents to AIDS while others are refugees from conflict. The school relies on donations, bartering and fees from the few parents who can afford to pay.

It was a humbling piece of news and it was probably the moment that I really understood the importance of music to the development of a child.

The benefits of music to the brain and to development are reiterated in successive articles published almost daily. In state schools the battle to retain music within the new Ebacc system rages on. Cuts to state music education have reduced the pool of talent and music education is increasingly confined to the wealthy.

So how does that affect our children? The problem is that many schools seem to value their elite sports teams more than their fantastic music departments. Choirs and orchestras are trotted out for open evenings, speech days and the like, but it’s the elite sports teams that are seen to bring prestige to the school. It is the high achievers in sport who win school colours and commendations, not the talented musicians who put so much real work into honing their skills. Truth be told, there’s something a bit geeky about them. 

The value of music is about so much more than prestige. The value it could add to the development of every child in every school is immeasurable: far greater than the value any first hockey team could ever bring. All musicians know this but it seems to be a very difficult message to convey to others.

And understanding this message is not enough. The problems facing music educators within the state system risk excluding a large proportion of extremely talented people from a subject that is at the heart of our humanity. Private schools have the luxury of running their own programmes and can prioritise whatever curriculum they choose. Perhaps sharing the music around to those who are struggling would be the best way of ensuring a happier and more stable society for the future for us all?

Black Dress Code supports the Bacc for the Future Campaign to support creative subjects in schools.