Page last updated at 08:02 GMT, Saturday, 28 June 2008 09:02 UK

Anger over halt to harp lessons

Catrin Finch and a harp
Catrin Finch was educated in Ceredigion before she became a royal harpist

Harp lessons at schools in the county where former royal harpist Catrin Finch learned her skills are to be stopped in order to save money.

Ceredigion Council is trying to save 400,000 in its education and community services department.

As part of the savings, council officials have decided not to replace a peripatetic harp teacher who resigned.

But parents are angry that their children are being denied the chance to develop their harp skills.

Bethan Jones's daughter Mared is one of the pupils whose lessons will stop.

The 10-year-old pupil who goes to Pennant school has been playing the harp for two years and has already reached grade four level.

I know of one school that has invested in a new harp and now they find themselves without a teacher
Bethan Jones

"We have just invested in a full size harp for her and we have had to change the car and I know lots of other people who have done the same," said Ms Jones.

"There are a lot of children who have harp lessons via the school's music service and all of a sudden they won't be able to provide those lessons after the summer term.

"I know of one school that has invested in a new harp and now they find themselves without a teacher.

"It's all to do with money," she said.

Generic picture of a woman playing the harp
Many children have had harp lessons at school

Ms Jones said many parents would not have to pay for private lessons as well as investing in harps with new instruments costing thousands.

"It is such a shame because we have had many good harpists coming out of Ceredigion like Catrin Finch," said Ms Jones.

"We are going to hold a protest outside the council offices and trying to get as many young harpists to gather and play to show how unhappy we are," she added.

In a statement Ceredigion council said its education and community services department has been asked to save 400,000.

"The task resulted in cutbacks in a number of services across the entire education and community services department," said the council.

"The peripatetic music service element had to find savings of 40,000 and this was achieved, in the main, through the resignation of a harp teacher and the decision not to replace the post.

"Savings in the peripatetic music services have therefore been achieved without the need for voluntary redundancies or early retirements.

"During this financial year the county council will not be offering harp tuition but there will be no cutbacks in other areas of peripatetic music provision.

"Naturally, the situation will be regularly reviewed," added the statement.

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