The recent youth music festival held in Birmingham and the concern shown in the press for the state of music teaching in schools raised a lot of musical memories for me.
When I was in primary school in the 1940s our musical education largely consisted of playing percussion instruments, which is where my first musical disappointment came.
Not for me the satisfying banging of the drum, or the glamour of the castanets. I was given, most mortifyingly, two sticks to bang together, hopefully in the right tempo.
However, honour was somewhat saved in the recorder group, where I was chosen to introduce each piece to the audience before we played it.
Then we had the fun of Mr Chant, our teacher, trying to teach us to sing Flow gently, sweet Afton and if we spent much of our time smirking and giggling as his cracked voice tried to reach the top notes, the song is still one of my favourites.
Of course, the recorder was the only instrument we were offered. Then, as now, the opportunity to learn an instrument belonged to the middle classes, in the traditions of the middle class Victorian drawing rooms, which all boasted a piano around which the family would gather for musical evenings.
Even today I wonder how many Dennis Brains, Alfred Brendels or Jacqueline de Pres lurk in our schools, talent untapped because they belong to the wrong class.
Indeed, I'm afraid that in many of our schools there seems to exist a sort of inverted snobbery, a dislike of "snobby" classical music, an attitude of "our children are working class, their heritage is lowgrade, commercially exploitative pop and so that's all we'll give them".
Thus, junior schools hold competitions for their children to come to s c h o o l dressed as their favourite pop star and mothers simper over their small c h i l d r e n parading in a g r o t e s q u e parody of the Spice Girls, half dressed and prematurely sexualised.
Competitions are held in second schools for pop groups and teachers fill their pupils' heads with the ultimate ambition - to be part of a boy band.
Indeed, many children go through their informative years never having heard any music other than commercial pop. Teachers may well complain that the demands of literacy and numeracy have driven out music from the schools but I suspect they'd never let children hear good music anyway.
The obvious solution to all the problems of finance, class time etc, is to teach music by singing. All children can take part, at no expense whatever, and the benefits go much further than mere acquaintance with a range of music.
Actually, it was reported recently that a school which introduced class singing as part of the curriculum found that aggression and indiscipline fell markedly. This doesn't surprise me in the least.
Singing - learning your part, your words, when to come in, when to stay quiet, how to interact with a lot of other people to create something that sounds good - gives a collective sense of achievement and affects children's relations with each other.
In my secondary school it seemed that we all sang. Under the guidance of the wonderful Charlie Walker, our inspirational music teacher, we learned complex pieces, all without our knowing how to read music.
For a working class child, such as myself, with no musical background or previous knowledge, it was a revelation. Of course, at home we listened to Elvis or Johnny Ray, but at school we were transported to another world and I have lived to be deeply grateful for it.