Inspiring Musical Achievement for Everyone
Our Diversity Statement (June 2020)
ABRSM exists to inspire musical achievement for everyone, from all backgrounds. We are committed to a world in which people are inspired to play, make, and teach music from a rich diversity of traditions and contemporary practice.
The murder of George Floyd and the Black Lives Matter movement have made us, like many organisations, stop and think about prejudice and bias. As one of the UK’s leading music education organisations and a significant commissioner of music, we have a responsibility to challenge any practices that allow prejudice to persist, and to embed sustainable change.
In doing so, we will work with partners to draw on their perspectives, experience, insight, balance and focus.
We already have a targeted programme of scholarships, sponsorship, and partnerships with great music education organisations founded on an intention to increase the opportunities for people of all backgrounds to progress with their music.
We are also working to make our syllabuses and publications more inclusive. For example, our new Piano syllabus 2021 & 2022, launching on 9 July, includes a far greater number of pieces by female composers, and a far greater variety of pieces from many different countries and traditions, than ever before.
We hope that this signals our commitment to reflect, through our commissioning and products, a world of underrepresented talent and musical stories.
But we recognise there is much more we can do.
We have already begun a wide-ranging strategic review of diversity and inclusion across our organisation, and we will develop and implement a fuller strategic programme, with clear targets to monitor our progress, to increase representation of diversity across all areas of our work.
As part of this work, we are today announcing our commitment to:
- Produce clear recommendations for increasing the inclusion of underrepresented composers in our syllabuses and products, through close engagement with individuals from the music sector.
- Launch a mentorship scheme in September, partnering with leading composers, musicians, and music education groups, to develop the emerging careers of composers of Black, Asian and ethnically diverse descent, specifically to write for educational purposes and to increase the pool of published music we can draw on in future.
Because we know that we can only serve everyone – and inspire musical achievement – if we include everyone.