Footballer Wilfried Zaha calls for every child to be given a free musical instrument

18 March 2021, 13:26 | Updated: 18 March 2021, 14:32

Footballer Wilfried Zaha calls for every child to be given a free musical instrument. Picture: Getty/Restore The Music/Instagram

By Maddy Shaw Roberts

The Crystal Palace star says, “music can bring joy” and calls for music to be part of COVID-19 recovery in schools.

No one quite knows the full extent to which children will have been affected by the lack of social interaction and structure, usually provided by schools outside of pandemic times.

And as young people’s education continues to be disrupted, footballer Wilfried Zaha is calling for music to be put at the heart of the schools’ recovery schemes.

The Crystal Palace forward wants every child to be given a free musical instrument and lessons.

He says music-making will help children express their feelings and recover from the COVID-19 crisis.

Zaha, who tells The Times that he always listens to hip-hop and Fleetwood Mac before games, says: “Now more than ever we need to support children. They’ve had it tougher than most over the last year.

“Music can bring so much joy to so many and enabling more children to have access to instruments and teaching can only benefit them.”

Read more: A school transformed itself by giving every student a violin >

Zaha’s call follows Manchester United football star Marcus Rashford’s powerful campaign for all children to have access to free school dinners.

Both footballers are represented by Roc Nation, the US talent agency founded by rapper Jay-Z that works with its sports and music stars to create campaigns for social change.

Restore the Music, a charity that gives pupils lessons and instruments, is working with the talent agency to spotlight the importance of music education.

Zaha says he would have liked to learn music at school but like many, was never given the chance.

His words have received praise and attention across social media, including from the Incorporated Society of Musicians and Help Musicians UK, who thanked Zaha for “recognising the value that music brings to enrich all our lives”.