Schools have been urged to swap Mozart for Stormzy in a bid to get more pupils engaged in music lessons.
National charity Youth Music has said the curriculum needs a major shake-up to improve levels of attendance and aid the development of disillusioned youngsters, with the more than 200-year-old symphonies of the Austrian composer unlikely to ever find a place on their Spotify playlists.
More popular modern genres like grime and hip-hop are said to remain completely absent from most UK classrooms, despite artists like Stormzy using his work to address social issues.
Following a four-year study, Youth Music has said introducing new types of music to schools could transform lessons and also help diversify the entertainment industry in the future.
Matt Griffiths, chief executive of the charity, said: “We’ve seen the benefits of students exchanging Mozart for Stormzy as part of a re-imagined music curriculum.”
The charity – aided by Birmingham City University and funded by the National Lottery via Arts Council England – formed several new partnerships between music organisations and schools.
It found that young people at risk of exclusion at the start of the so-called Exchanging Notes programme maintained high levels of attendance throughout and also improved in other subjects like English and maths.
Researchers admitted it was not possible to attribute the impressive figures directly to Exchanging Notes, but said it had helped open the door for learning and that seven of the 10 formed partnerships had been maintained.
Youth Music hopes the findings will encourage the department for education to adopt a fresh approach to how music is taught at school.
Mr Griffiths added: “Schools can offer an inspirational music curriculum that better supports social and emotional well-being, the music industry talent pipeline grows and is more diverse, and young people’s lives in music are completely connected both in and out of school.”
The department for education said it remained committed to all pupils having the opportunity to study music and that it was working with music groups and other relevant individuals “to refresh the national plan for music education and develop a high-quality model music curriculum”.