Icelanders love their music, and a night out on the town or in a restaurant would not be the same without it. While they still enjoy their singing and musical traditions that go back to 14th Century Nordic times, these days imported canned music increasingly rules a land that was once so isolated.
On 1 February 2010 a thousand people gathered outside Reykjavík City Hall protesting shrinking State and City subsidies of Music Education. These include lower budgets and upper age limits in a land where Education is meant to be for all. After Mayor Jón Gnarr was booed to silence by citizens he represents, a City spokesperson reiterated that final decisions had not yet been made, and that every step was being taken to contain cuts.
Reykjavík has proportionally more Secondary School pupils than in any other Icelandic settlement and as Capital City has a leading responsibility to maintain the Nation’s cultural heritage through Icelandic music education too. The Reykjavík municipal budget is facing further recessionary cuts this year – in terms of these the cost to government of Music Education will have shrunk by 38% since October 2008.
Sigrún Grendal, Chairwoman of the Association of Music Teacher has gone on record to say that the operational basis of singing schools and schools with large singing departments would be overthrown and I find it highly likely that some of them would have to shut down completely.
These are hard times for a Nation stricken by economic woes caused a thousand and more miles away. Who knows from whence the next spark of Icelandic musical genius will come if the music education subsidies shrink further and School musical instruments are no longer there. Hopefully these are temporary times and some day soon the education subsidies for Icelandic music education will be fully reinstated.
Dance, dance, wherever you may be
I am the lord of the dance, said he
And I lead you all, wherever you may be
And I lead you all in the dance, said he