In England, an expert panel of musical specialists have chosen Wild Man, Kate’s lead single from her 2011 50 Words for Snow album, to be included in a new list of 37 musical works that every primary school child (ages 5-11) should listen to. Ed Watkins, director of music at the West London Free School, who sat on the panel, said: “The list we have ended up with has music from the major world traditions, traces the history of popular music and celebrates British and European art music.” As well as works from ‘the Western Classical tradition’ – including Mozart’s Rondo all Turca, Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5 and Mussorgsky’s Night on a Bare Mountain, the list also features music from major world traditions including Brazilian Samba, Bhangra from Punjab and Argentinian Tango, as well as English folk sea shanties.
Pop songs on the list include Hound Dog by Elvis Presley, With a Little Help from My Friends by The Beatles, and Say My Name by Destiny’s Child. Kate’s Wild Man is categorised as “Art Pop”. Wild Man tells the story of sightings of the Yeti in the wilds of the Himalayas, and of the efforts by the narrator and others to protect him from discovery. “It is meant to be an empathetic view of a creature of great mystery really”, Kate said.
The Model Music Curriculum document explains how the song can be explored in the classroom: “From Bush’s acclaimed 50 Words for Snow, Wild Man tells of the sightings of the mythical Yeti in the Himalayas and of efforts to hide and protect him. The use of sound effects, riffs and spoken words will all be points to bring out as well as getting to grips with the words and imagery before/while listening to the music.”
Nick Gibb, the schools minister, said: “Music is a hugely important part of most people’s lives. This is especially true during the lockdown period, in which music has been used to inspire, soothe and energise us. “A rich variety of music should be part of the daily life of every school. We want all schools to have a rigorous and broad music curriculum, that inspires their pupils to love music, and stands alongside high levels of academic attainment.”
Mr Gibb said it was important that academic catch-up was balanced with “music, sport and arts” for children’s wider development. “After the most difficult of years, it’s time for a musical renaissance across England’s schools and I hope this will inspire a new generation of musicians,” he added. In primary school, teaching will focus on giving children the opportunity to listen to a range of style and sounds to broaden pupils’ musical horizons and encourage them to be open minded.
A feature in the i newspaper had images of the full list of 37 pieces: