Should school music lessons be free?

In Scotland this week, the Scottish Education Secretary has urged local councils to fund free music lessons for school pupils. 

The move follows the release of a report by the Education and Skills Committee that revealed the impact charging for music tuition can have on pupils. One local authority reported a 70% drop in music students following the introduction of charges. 

Although Scottish local authorities have committed to providing free lessons for pupils taking Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) courses, MSPs have pointed out that pupils wanting to pursue a music qualification must have access to instrumental tuition prior to beginning exam courses in order to stand a chance of achieving the qualification.

Figures from the Musicians Union in 2018 showed that families earning less than £28,000 a year are half as likely to have a child learning an instrument than those families earning more than £48,000. 

In England, a study from the University of Sussex discovered that an increasing amount of secondary schools have reduced or removed music lessons in the curriculum for pupils in years 7 to 9. 

Horace Trubridge, general secretary of the Musicians’ Union, said: “With certain children priced out of learning musical instruments, we may well only be hearing the songs and sounds of the affluent in years to come.”

Dozens of chart-topping musicians have credited their school music lessons for setting them on the path to stardom. Ed Sheeran said: “If you keep cutting the funding for arts, you’re going to be damaging one of Britain’s best and most lucrative exports.”


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Should school music lessons be free?

In Scotland this week, the Scottish Education Secretary has urged local councils to fund free music lessons for school pupils. 

The move follows the release of a report by the Education and Skills Committee that revealed the impact charging for music tuition can have on pupils. One local authority reported a 70% drop in music students following the introduction of charges. 

Although Scottish local authorities have committed to providing free lessons for pupils taking Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) courses, MSPs have pointed out that pupils wanting to pursue a music qualification must have access to instrumental tuition prior to beginning exam courses in order to stand a chance of achieving the qualification.

Figures from the Musicians Union in 2018 showed that families earning less than £28,000 a year are half as likely to have a child learning an instrument than those families earning more than £48,000. 

In England, a study from the University of Sussex discovered that an increasing amount of secondary schools have reduced or removed music lessons in the curriculum for pupils in years 7 to 9. 

Horace Trubridge, general secretary of the Musicians’ Union, said: “With certain children priced out of learning musical instruments, we may well only be hearing the songs and sounds of the affluent in years to come.”

Dozens of chart-topping musicians have credited their school music lessons for setting them on the path to stardom. Ed Sheeran said: “If you keep cutting the funding for arts, you’re going to be damaging one of Britain’s best and most lucrative exports.”


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