All children in Wales to be given chance to play an instrument as £13m invested in national music service
The First Minister has said that no child will miss out on a music education due to a lack of means, as the Welsh Government launches plans for a national music service.
As the National Plan for Music Education is published, the Minister for Education has confirmed funding will be trebled, with £13.5m being invested over the next three years.
The plan will make access to music education fairer and more consistent across Wales, the Welsh Government said, with a particular focus on learners from low-income households and those with Additional Learning Needs.
Support will be available for children and young people to access and progress with music tuition, with learners from disadvantaged and under-represented groups supported to join music ensembles.
First Minister of Wales, Mark Drakeford and the Minister for Education and Welsh Language, Jeremy Miles, visited St Joseph’s Cathedral Primary School in Swansea to see a cluster of primary school children taking part in a ‘Play Along’ session led by Swansea Music Service.
First Minister Mark Drakeford said: “The establishment of a National Music Service for Wales is an important commitment in our Programme for Government and I’m delighted that we are delivering on this pledge.
“Learning an instrument was a formative part of my upbringing and a lack of money should not be a barrier to any young person who wants to learn to play music.
“We are fortunate in Wales to have a strong tradition of school, county and national ensembles, and we want to make sure that our children and young people are able to play a full part in these.
“This funding will support music services in schools and within the community to help nurture our young musical talent.”
The plan includes a number of key work programmes such as:
- A review on music tutors’ terms and conditions, to ensure they are treated equitably and are recognised properly.
- A ‘First Experiences’ programme to offer children in primary schools a minimum of half a term of musical instrument taster sessions, delivered by trained and skilled music practitioners.
- A ‘Making Music with Others’ initiative, including opportunities for children and young people in secondary schools to gain industry experience through working alongside musicians and creative industries
- A new national instrument and equipment library to support access to a resource bank to be shared across Wales.
- These programmes will be rolled out from September 2022, supporting schools and settings to give all children and young people from the ages of 3 to 16 the opportunity to learn to play an instrument as well as singing and making music in our schools and our communities.
The National Music Service will operate as a ‘hub’, with the Welsh Local Government Association co-ordinating the Music Service’s programmes with a wide range of organisations. It will help schools and settings in their delivery of the Curriculum for Wales and provide more diverse opportunities for children and young people to experience music outside schools and settings.
The Minister for Education and the Welsh Language, Jeremy Miles said: “Our vision is for all children and young people across Wales, regardless of background, to have the chance to learn to play an instrument.
“I remember how important it was to me to be able to have music tuition when I was in school and to learn the baritone and to play in brass ensembles. I want to make sure everyone has the opportunity to access music tuition – the chance to learn an instrument and develop musical skills is too often limited by cost and affordability nowadays, so we’re making this significant investment to deliver a range of activities for our children and young people, so that they can learn and experience the joy of music.
“The development of the National Music Service will ensure that we nurture our next generation and continue to produce new talent and showcase Wales to the world.”
WLGA Chief Executive Chris Llewelyn said: “We are proud to work with the Welsh Government on delivering this vital service to children across Wales. Many families in Wales can’t afford an instrument, and this funding will go a long way to opening doors to children across Wales to have the opportunity of learning an instrument.
“Playing an instrument and reading music is a very important skill for a child, and music brings enormous joy to children. Local authorities believe that children across Wales will have better access to instruments, and this plan will develop many future talented musicians, and support pupils to develop their musical skills.”
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473,000 children in schools in Cymru. £13.5 million allocated. That’s £28.50 per child.
What does that buy? 1hr of tuition per child per year?
Nice gesture. Must try harder.