Elton John: ‘It’s tragic that music is being taken out of schools’

By Maddy Shaw Roberts for classicfm.com

We met Sir Elton at his old alma mater to talk music education, his ‘mystical’ song-writing process and how the Royal Academy of Music has changed since 1958…

“It was so intimidating then,” Sir Elton tells Classic FM’s Tim Lihoreau, as they meet in a room behind reception at London’s Royal Academy of Music. “It smelt of fear.”

The great pianist and singer has just hosted a Q&A with students of the Academy, which he attended as a Junior Exhibitioner from the tender age of 11.

But by 16, the young Reggie Dwight had decided to quit his classical roots to pursue a career in rock ‘n roll. And, rather hearteningly, he still puts his enormous success down to those early years spent playing scales in a practice room.

“In those days, the Academy meant classical music and nothing else – certainly no rock ‘n roll. That was the devil’s music. But without my training, I never would’ve been able to write the songs I’ve written.

“I’m so grateful for my classical training. I played Chopin and Mozart and Debussy, and to be part of the choir was incredibly fulfilling. Singing in a choir is such a moving, life-affirming experience.”

Read more here.

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