School music tuition facing ‘fight for survival’ in Scotland say teachers

Instrumental music tuition in schools is facing a ‘fight for survival’ and could disappear from some areas within two years, instructors say, as new figures reveal shrinking tuition budgets around Scotland.

Music teachers say that services are already far more limited than they used to be in some parts of the country, while above-inflation increases in tuition charges mean that poor families could miss out.

Instrumental music tuition budgets have been cut by almost £1 million overall, with a total of nine councils making cuts, an analysis of 2016-17 budgets set by Scotland’s local authorities shows.

The study – carried out by the Instrumental Music Teachers’ Network and shared exclusively with TESS – shows that the biggest reduction is being made in West Lothian, which will cut £275,000.

The research also finds that tuition charges have increased in around a quarter of authorities. There have been 20 per cent increases in East Renfrewshire and Moray, and a 29 per cent increase in Fife. Dumfries and Galloway started charging £200 for previously free lessons.

Network convener Mark Traynor said: “If we continue on the path we’re going on, with these cuts, it won’t be too long before we see some of these instrumental music services going to the wall completely – we may see some services disappearing.

“In the next two to three years, the greatest challenge facing instrumental music provision will be its survival.”

This is an edited version of an article in the 25 March edition of TESS. Subscribers can view the full article here. This week’s TESS magazine is available at all good newsagents. To download the digital edition, Android users can click here and iOS users can click here

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