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Thursday, February 4, 1999 Published at 12:12 GMT


Music in schools fading away for the poor

The government announced £180m for school music last week

Pupils unable to find music tuition in schools are having to rely on private lessons, says a survey.

As a consequence, children from families unable to afford tuition charges or the cost of instruments are missing out on learning music.

A survey of the current state of music in schools, commissioned by the Performing Right Society, has found that services vary widely in quality and funding across the country.

In some areas schools underspend on money allocated for music, while others report that demand for music tuition outstrips the services available.

The survey of primary and secondary schools, conducted last autumn, also found that the perception that music services were in decline had discouraged schools from making full use of what still remained available.

While the general impression remains that music services are decreasing, the survey found evidence in some areas that there are more opportunities for individual tuition and children can learn a wider range of instruments.

The findings come a week after the government announced £180m to support music in schools, with extra funds to buy instruments, provide specialist tuition and train non-specialist teachers.

Andrew Potter, chairman of the Performing Right Society, says that the future of music in the United Kingdom depended "on a firm base of broad musical experience and skills".

As such, Mr Potter said that his organisation was committed to "instrument teaching of the best quality for all children, no matter what their circumstances".

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