West Lothian music tuition to charge ahead

Edinburgh UK Mar 29 2016;  Dame Evelyn Glennie at the National Museum of Scotland for the Edinburgh International Science Festival plays on Huge xylophone and pipes. . credit steven scott taylor / J P License
Edinburgh UK Mar 29 2016; Dame Evelyn Glennie at the National Museum of Scotland for the Edinburgh International Science Festival plays on Huge xylophone and pipes. . credit steven scott taylor / J P License

West Lothian Council has agreed to retain instrumental music tuition across all current disciplines.

The Education Executive committee voted on Tuesday to retain tuition in strings and percussion, along with brass, woodwind and piping. Safeguards are to be put in place to ensure, where possible, that young people whose families cannot afford tuition costs can still get lessons.

A survey of families with children in receipt of instrumental music service tuition showed that 53 per cent would support charging for music tuition to maintain strings and percussion lessons.

Charging has been set at £354 per year, which will enable the current instrumental music service to be maintained, with concessions in place for low-income families.

The campaign to retain full instrument provision in West Lothian has been supported by percussionist Dame Evelyn Glennie, composer John Rutter and violinist Nicola Benedetti.

The council has pledged to spend £500,000 per year for a revised model of instrumental music provision to maintain a substantial level of tuition.

The executive councillor for education, David Dodds, said: “Instrumental music is not a statutory service and we do not have to provide it.

“Our priority throughout this process has always been creating a sustainable model for the instrumental music service that protects music tuition for the greatest number of pupils.

“We appreciate this may have adverse effects on the instrumental music service in the longer term, reducing the number of participants and impacting on the quality of the service, and measures will be put in place to help as many families as possible who cannot afford the costs of tuition.”

The level of charging will be reviewed in December this year.

The council is facing estimated budget savings of £65 million over the next five years and is making savings to balance the budget and protect essential services.