“The threat of small class sizes is also a concern. In a tough financial climate, it can be hard for schools to justify the expense of offering a qualification and having a specialist teacher if the uptake is low, further limiting pupils access to studying music and even pursuing a career in music.”The discipline faces an “existential crisis” as it increasingly drops off the syllabus, according to Lord Black of Brentwood who warned during a debate in the House of Lords last year that music is “literally disappearing from our schools”.“Rather than it being the fundamental right of all children, it is rapidly becoming the preserve of the privileged few at independent schools, as it dies out in the state sector,” he said. “Music in this country is now facing an existential crisis which only urgent radical action from government will be able to reverse.” The average A-level music class now has just three students, a study has found.One in five entries for the subject are from fewer than 50 schools, according to research commissioned by the Royal Academy of Music and the Royal College of Music.Academics from Birmingham City University analysed patterns of entry for A-level qualifications in Music over the past five years and found that numbers had fallen by 35 per cent, from 8,369 to 5,440.The study also found that independent schools account for a disproportionately high number of A-level music entries.“It seems significant that the average class size for many of the entry centres in these local authorities does not exceed the national average of 3.3 students,” the report said, adding that the subject is “disappearing” altogether from schools in deprived areas.Researchers identified ten parts of the country – including Blackpool, Slough, Bury and Hartlepool – where there were less than five entries for A-level music for the entire area. Dr Adam Whittaker, a research fellow at Birmingham City University and the report’s lead author, said that the decline in A-level music is “extremely alarming”.He added: “It is deeply worrying that students in the most deprived local authorities are not able to study A-level music, while other more affluent areas see high numbers of entry. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings.