Despite calls from the government to encourage every child to learn how to play an instrument, concerns have been raised about the future of music lessons in schools.
The Federation of Music Services (FMS) has warned that as local authorities look to make savings and school budgets are withdrawn, music lessons could be the first casualty.
Indeed, one in five music services which support schools expect councils will completely axe their grants and half fear cuts of up to 50 per cent, the body said.
The predicted reduction and withdrawal of funding comes as a result of a major shake-up of school budgets and means that a number of schemes dedicated to supporting school music face cutbacks or axing completely.
However, the government recently revealed its support for the subject, stating that every child should be able to learn how to play a musical instrument or sing while they are in full-time education.
FMS chief executive Virginia Haworth-Galt called for any decision on funding to be held back until after the review findings are released, in January next year.
“We recognise the pressure many local authorities are under but would urge them to them to hold back their plans until we know the results of the Henley Review,” she confirmed.
“Music and our children’s education are too important to be jettisoned like this particularly when we know that 91 per cent of the public back music education in schools.”
Meanwhile, Michael Rose, conductor of the Bedfordshire Youth Orchestra, warned that by allowing the cuts to be implemented, the government runs the risk of alienating potential young musicians.
“If funding is lost in this way music lessons will become the sole preserve of the middle classes,” he explained to the BBC.
“Instrumental teaching in the country’s schools is provided by a central staff of highly-qualified instrumental teachers. It has resulted in literally many thousands of children having the experience of learning an instrument.”
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