Jump to content
aberdeen-music
Sign in to follow this  
FatHand

Threat to music tuition at schools

Recommended Posts

I just thought that I'd put up a post about this. Looks like music tuition at schools along with all the bands and groups that are an offshoot of this are on the chopping block. I don't agree with this being on the list of potential cuts, I don't think I'd be the person I am today without the opportunities that have come to me as a result of that service.

I know there will be others that don't feel it's worth saving this from the axe over other things but on top of the social impact, there is a great deal of infrastructure that would go up in a puff of smoke should this particular cut go ahead. Once you take something like this away in times of struggle, when times pick up again there is no way of affording to set it back up.

What really grinds my gears in this current climate is the brutal pruning attitude that has developed assuming that a beautiful new world will emerge from the scraggy roots that are left. Rather than looking at whether things that really work and bring benefit to society, the powers that be seem to think it's a good idea or opportunity to remove them entirely.

I feel really sorry for all of those kids with potential that will never know it. Another case of the conservative principal of "if you've got money then you can afford to do it". Big society, more like shit society.

If you feel strongly about this issue, like I do, then you can join in with the peaceful protest taking place at the end of the month (Tuesday 30th November). Here is a link to the facebook page, it has more detail in it than post:

Login | Facebook

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Here is the content from the facebook page for you, will dig through and find other documentation for you:

Dear friends,

I write to all of you now because a service that links us all is under threat. I believe that we have all personally benifited from, or know people who have benifited from tuition from the staff of Aberdeen Music Service.

This music service is under threat of privitisation at present - the education officers of Aberdeen City Council have recently recommended making the councils music instructors redundant.

In my opinion this should not be entertained by the council as a possibility. To privatise a service such as this would be detrimental to school pupils, schools and communities alike.

The benefits of a music education are numerous and far reaching. skills of discipline, groupwork, pride of attainment and personal confidence are some of the benefits gained by pupils. Often these skills are then applied by the pupil to other areas of the school curriculum, stimulating academic achievement. Schools in turn take pride in the extra-curricular attainments of their pupils and reap the benefits of the positive ethos instilled in those pupils.

Many of you have gone on to study music at universities and music colleges across Britain. Some will have played in national level music organisations. Others may now be earning money from performance work or by providing instrumental tuition. I ask you whether you feel that local authority music services helped you attain these goals.

If you feel that this is the case then I would ask you to write to and email as many of the following people as you feel you can.

Many thanks in advance.

The council makes it decision on this issue on 3 Dec, time is short.

Their postal addresses are all the same:

Councillor ........

Aberdeen City Council

Town House

Broad Street

Aberdeen AB10 1FY

Finance and Resources Committee:

Cllr Kevin Stewart (Convener) (SNP) kstewart@aberdeencity.gov.uk

Cllr Ian Yuill (Vice-Convener) (LibDem) iyuill@aberdeencity.gov.uk

Cllr Barney Crockett (Lab) bcrockett@aberdeencity.gov.uk

Cllr Scott Cassie (Ind) scassie@aberdeencity.gov.uk

Cllr Irene Cormack (LibDem) icormack@aberdeencity.gov.uk

Cllr Katharine Dean (LibDem) kdean@aberdeencity.gov.uk

Cllr Jackie Dunbar (SNP) jdunbar@aberdeencity.gov.uk

Cllr Jim Farquharson (Con) jfarquharson@aberdeencity.gov.uk

Cllr Neil Fletcher (LibDem) nfletcher@aberdeencity.gov.uk

Cllr Gordon Graham (Lab) ggraham@aberdeencity.gov.uk

Cllr James Kiddie (SNP) jkiddie@aberdeencity.gov.uk

Cllr Jenny Laing (Lab) jelaing@aberdeencity.gov.uk

Cllr Gordon Leslie (LibDem) gleslie@aberdeencity.gov.uk

Cllr Callum McCaig (SNP) cmccaig@aberdeencity.gov.uk

Cllr John West (SNP) jwest@aberdeencity.gov.uk

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I feel really sorry for all of those kids with potential that will never know it. Another case of the conservative principal of "if you've got money then you can afford to do it". Big society, more like shit society.

Probably got 400 phones though, more realistically. Do you know of these destitute urchins who queue at the library to organise protests on Facebook?

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

:popcorn:

Do you know of these destitute urchins who queue at the library to organise protests on Facebook?

This isn't the dick van dyke thread ;) I know what you mean but the principle is not about who organises a protest. Class has nothing to do with whether or not this is a good idea.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
:popcorn:

This isn't the dick van dyke thread ;) I know what you mean but the principle is not about who organises a protest. Class has nothing to do with whether or not this is a good idea.

Fair play to them IMO, but I feel my instincts are good as:

a) involves Facefuck, therefore tainted by retards, standard.

b) criticises council for NOT spending money.

c) no decent journalism on the issue (P&J lol)

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Fair play to them IMO, but I feel my instincts are good as:

a) involves Facefuck, therefore tainted by retards, standard.

b) criticises council for NOT spending money.

c) no decent journalism on the issue (P&J lol)

a) terrible, terrible argument.

b) terrible, terrible argument.

c) Time magazine are hardly likely to be doing a feature on music tuition in schools in Aberdeen and the surrounding area anytime soon.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It's also worth noting that privatising music tuition in schools will potentially open the door for other private tuition in council-run schools, which is a fairly unnerving and dangerous prospect.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Agreed, that does not bode well. My opinion is that in austere times the areas we should be maintaining are health and education.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This is the Council's 'Priority Based Budgeting: Final Draft Report' i.e. their list of what they propose to cut in the next five years -

http://www.aberdeencity.gov.uk/web/files/next_five_years/nfy_pbb_final_report_oct2010.pdf

Check page 21 for the education stuff. They've listed the proposals in order of 'least undesirable' (?), and the ones above the red line are included in their current calculations, i.e. they expect they will need to do these to reach their 127 million savings target.

The whole thing's a pretty scary read though. Education seems to be taking a huge hit. Nice forward thinking there, Council...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
This is the Council's 'Priority Based Budgeting: Final Draft Report' i.e. their list of what they propose to cut in the next five years -

http://www.aberdeencity.gov.uk/web/files/next_five_years/nfy_pbb_final_report_oct2010.pdf

Check page 21 for the education stuff. They've listed the proposals in order of 'least undesirable' (?), and the ones above the red line are included in their current calculations, i.e. they expect they will need to do these to reach their 127 million savings target.

The whole thing's a pretty scary read though. Education seems to be taking a huge hit. Nice forward thinking there, Council...

Maybe we'll need to start outsourcing thinking to other countries?

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
This is the Council's 'Priority Based Budgeting: Final Draft Report' i.e. their list of what they propose to cut in the next five years -

http://www.aberdeencity.gov.uk/web/files/next_five_years/nfy_pbb_final_report_oct2010.pdf

Education seems to be taking a huge hit. Nice forward thinking there, Council...

Yeah agree with that. Government should be trying their hardest not to stunt the educational growth of our youth. They say that our children shouldn't be paying for the financial mistakes of this generation but it's like giving with one hand and taking away with the other, by making all of these extreme cuts they're actually making them pay in a way you can never get back.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Interesting read. So it would save 450k.

Worrying that it's above the red line.

Although some of that stuff they simply couldn't do, ie cancel all pre-school education, fairly sure they have a responsibility to provide at least acertain number of days for every child.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm by no means the next Eric Clapton, but I can pluck away on the guitar strings fairly well. Without the ACC music service, I don't think there's a snowball's chance in hell I'd ever have gotten to play on the Music Hall stage in front of a packed captive audience. Or found myself playing Gershwin in the midst of jazz-lovers at the Lemon Tree. Or jammed with a jazz guitar group from the Faroe Islands.

Okay, some people will say "that's a load of shit, the crowd was full of parents, no-one really cares". The usual grumbles.

But that doesn't matter to me. It doesn't matter to the others in my guitar ensemble, or the jazz band and violin ensemble who played with us on numerous occasions. What matters is that we still remember those moments: we learned something, and they have stayed with us.

I learned piano/keyboard through ACC music tuition from primary 3 through to 6th year; and guitar from primary 6 through to 6th year. I played in school concerts, and in Summerhill Education Centre music groups. I fell in love with new styles of music; it helped me build my confidence standing and performing in front of others; and above all, it was BRILLIANT fun.

I'm only 19, but the thought of others out there not being given these opportunities is, to me, a great travesty.

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

According to a post on the facebook page

Login | Facebook

all the music tutors employed by Aberdeen City Council met at Northfield this morning. And all of them were handed 90 day redundancy notices.

Although there is a fairly positive sounding article in the P&J today, all it's really saying is that some councillors are against the move. And the issuing of notices looks like the Council are already preparing the ground to put this into effect as soon as they can.

I don't generally have much faith in online petitions, but in this case it might just at least get the Clowncillors to think again.

Save Music Tuition in Aberdeen Petition

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Yay, free synths for all. Im in!

And free lessons on how to use them. You will also learn the multiple uses of LFOs in agriculture and dairy farming.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just to clarify something, is this just going to affect tuition - as in teaching kids how to play the instruments outside of normal school class time, or is it effectively removing the option to study music at Standard Grade and Higher levels?

Both are pretty terrible but I just wanted to see exactly what is being removed.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Just to clarify something, is this just going to affect tuition - as in teaching kids how to play the instruments outside of normal school class time, or is it effectively removing the option to study music at Standard Grade and Higher levels?

Both are pretty terrible but I just wanted to see exactly what is being removed.

It is the tuition of instruments.

It will have a huge knock on impact to music departments though. If there are not nearly the same numbers of students learning instruments it may put into question the validity of music departments in schools too. Yet another thing they could get away without if we let them.

This is just bad news all round. I am surprised at anyone on this site who might see it either indifferently or as not that bad.

Remember the time when teachers removed running after school football clubs and the like in the 80s as a result of measures/cuts put in place by the Tories? I think we now see the effects of that in the standards of our football clubs and home-grown players. We will end up with a barren waste land similar to this when it comes to musical diversity. This will in turn follow though to most of the arts in general. Why fund these frivolous pursuits. I say turn on your radio for starters.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If anyone is interested, here is the first response I have had from one of Aberdeen's MSPs...

Dear Colin,

Thank you for your email. I am always pleased to hear from my constituents can I please have your postal address to confirm you live in my constituency.

My children went to Oldmachar and benefited significantly from the music tuition at the school. The challenge is to manage the current services on a significantly reduced budget. The headline budget numbers were announced by Mr Swinney but we all will have to wait until February before the Scottish Government and Aberdeen City Council budgets are finalised. The Councils face a 2.6% cut in their budgets for 2011/12 which is rather less than was anticipated when these proposals were produced by city officials. Around 80% of the council budget comes from Scottish Government grants and the city's share of the Uniform Business Rates paid by businesses. The Scottish Government recently reduced ring fencing of that moneys to allow the councils more flexibility on how to deliver services and as far as I am aware the delivery of music tuition is not one of the services whose money remains ring fenced.

This is a rather convoluted way of saying the decision on provision of music tuition is a matter for the council. I am aware of the City Councils long list of proposed savings but decision on which of them will be implemented will quite properly lie with the elected councillors. This proposal is one of hundreds not all of which will be implemented in whole or in part. The budget cut this year for the city is likely to be a little under 9M rather than the 18-19M expected but more cuts will follow over the next 3-4 years. Unsurprisingly speculation about the proposals has raised concerns about the continuation of services. The Council are having a series of meetings across the city to hear views on the proposals and are seeking suggestions about the future delivery of services against the background of reduced finance. Please let them have constructive suggestions about how to go forward with music tuition but in so doing I expect a response that says no change will be given rather less weight than suggestions which address the budget challenges.

Like you I would prefer to see the retention of music tuition but that decision is not mine however I have passed my views on directly to colleagues on the council.

Yours sincerely,

Brian Adam

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This is a great response:

Dear Mr Austin

Thank you for your e-mail regarding the Music Service in Aberdeen. I

think you have raised a number of very valid points and I was extremely

interested to hear your views. It is obvious from the large number of

e-mails and letters I have received that this service is much valued by

the residents of Aberdeen and many people are extremely alarmed to hear

it may be under threat.

It is clear from the correspondence I have received that the Music

Service is doing an excellent job and I know that the instrument

instructors are currently teaching over 3000 pupils per week. This is

14% of the total school population which I believe is one of the highest

rates in the UK and if we include the vocal animateurs the figure rises

to 20%. I think that the success of the Music Service can also be

measured by the large number of pupils who attend the weekly sessions at

the Music Centre and by the fact that more pupils from Aberdeen attend

the National Youth Orchestra of Scotland courses than from any other

Council in Scotland.

Like you, I believe this service plays an extremely important role and

I think we should be doing all we can to protect it for current and

future generations. This is the reason I proposed a motion at

yesterdays Education, Culture and Sport Committee which called on

the Committee to congratulate the service on its excellent work to

date and acknowledge it will have a vital role to play in the new

Curriculum for Excellence. I am pleased to say that my motion got

unanimous cross party support so hopefully this will mean the SNP/Lib

Dem Administration will not sanction any reduction in this service at

the Finance and Resources Committee on 2nd December. I and my Labour

colleagues will certainly not support any proposal to close or cut back

this service and I want to assure you we will do all we can to ensure it

is maintained.

I hope you find the above information helpful but if you would like to

discuss the matter further please do not hesitate to contact me again.

Kind regards

Jenny

Dear Mr Austin

Thank you for your e-mail regarding the Music Service in Aberdeen. I

think you have raised a number of very valid points and I was extremely

interested to hear your views. It is obvious from the large number of

e-mails and letters I have received that this service is much valued by

the residents of Aberdeen and many people are extremely alarmed to hear

it may be under threat.

It is clear from the correspondence I have received that the Music

Service is doing an excellent job and I know that the instrument

instructors are currently teaching over 3000 pupils per week. This is

14% of the total school population which I believe is one of the highest

rates in the UK and if we include the vocal animateurs the figure rises

to 20%. I think that the success of the Music Service can also be

measured by the large number of pupils who attend the weekly sessions at

the Music Centre and by the fact that more pupils from Aberdeen attend

the National Youth Orchestra of Scotland courses than from any other

Council in Scotland.

Like you, I believe this service plays an extremely important role and

I think we should be doing all we can to protect it for current and

future generations. This is the reason I proposed a motion at

yesterdays Education, Culture and Sport Committee which called on

the Committee to congratulate the service on its excellent work to

date and acknowledge it will have a vital role to play in the new

Curriculum for Excellence. I am pleased to say that my motion got

unanimous cross party support so hopefully this will mean the SNP/Lib

Dem Administration will not sanction any reduction in this service at

the Finance and Resources Committee on 2nd December. I and my Labour

colleagues will certainly not support any proposal to close or cut back

this service and I want to assure you we will do all we can to ensure it

is maintained.

I hope you find the above information helpful but if you would like to

discuss the matter further please do not hesitate to contact me again.

Kind regards

Jenny

Councillor Jenny Laing

Ward 7, Midstocket/Rosemount

Town House

Broad Street

Aberdeen

AB10 1FY

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Probably got 400 phones though, more realistically. Do you know of these destitute urchins who queue at the library to organise protests on Facebook?

Cults kids have a great music department and school ensembles to be proud of, and yes it's probably easier for them to get together and speak out; however, they will be paying for lessons already, it's the loss of music centre and decline in quality of service they will face if this goes ahead that has inspired them into acting.

Kids in less affluent areas who currently receive lessons for free will probably be less aware of the negative impact until after the event. The supply of instruments currently maintained and loaned by the service is also unlikely to remain, which will add hugely to the cost of taking up any instrument. If people think music is an elitist/luxury subject right now, it certainly will be in the future if they cut the service!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

Sign in to follow this  

×