Music teacher found guilty of murder. Why?

Music teacher found guilty of murder. Why?


norman lebrecht

September 20, 2011

Why do they always headline it if it’s a music teacher?

If the man had taught geography or chemistry would they have highlighted that?

Here’s the ITN report. ‘Music teacher’ in the first sentence. Here’s the BBC. Same thing. The Telegraph, again.


Andrew Lindo


Sky, just the same. There is some kind of prejudice at work here.

And away from this horrible case, in Los Angeles, another of today’s headlines.

Music teacher accused of trying to arrange sex date with girl, 11

Someone explain it to me.



  • It might be that people have special concerns because music teachers, unlike in other fields, work one on one with students behind closed doors. A special trust and responsibility is required. We might also note that almost all child abuse by teachers makes big headlines.

  • AVI says:

    Child abuse, murder, etc. (alleged or proven) by persons in a position of trust tends to make headlines. That’s nothing special about music teachers. But it is something that gives greater prominence to teachers, members of the clergy, and so on.

    Do “music” teachers really crop up more often than “teachers”? The last similar headline I recall was probably when Mr. Jefferies was incorrectly plastered all over the tabloids in relation to Joanna Yeates’ killing; at which point, aside from the slurs on his character, I think he was headlined as “English Teacher…”.

    If “music teacher” does crop up more often as a headline, might it be because music is seen as a cultured subject, and the juxtaposition of the rarefied subject matter with the alleged offence is one which holds a reader’s attention? As well as this, music teachers tend to teach small groups, supervise a great deal of extra-curricular activities, act in loco parentis for school and youth orchestra / choir tours, courses, and so on, as well as teaching on a one-to-one basis. They perhaps have, then, more opportunity to ‘groom’ young students than an English or Chemistry teacher. Does ‘Music’ feature in the headline more to make the distinction between a classroom teacher, and one who teaches in a greater variety of settings, with increased responsibility for his or her students?

  • Adam Greenwood says:

    Well it’s a funny thing you say that Normy – because the only teacher in living memory at my prestigious and reassuringly expensive and old English public school to have ever crossed the line (in recent memory at least) and abused children was…….drum roll….. the music teacher. His specialism was buggering little boys apparently. Once released he went onto other smaller boutique private schools less worried about checking references seemingly, and decided to take-up buggering girls instead. Well – variety is the spice of life I suppose.

    I know what you mean however. There is a stereotype. But then people say that everyone at the BBC is a lefty, and that people in the arts management haven’t a clue how to balance a budget, and given how patently untrue those stereotypes are… how could we think otherwise?