Music an opportunity for all

Angus Councillor Colin Brown.

Angus Councillor Colin Brown.

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An Angus councillor has defended his decision to back an amendment during a debate regarding instrument tuition in schools, which resulted in a U-turn by the local authority.

Councillor Colin Brown spoke out after a report in last week’s ‘Dispatch and Herald’ where a fellow elected member described the turn-around as “a lost opportunity to have a really exciting system of instruction.”

I was proud to support the amendment which ensures that all pupils will have equal opportunity and not just a few whose parents can afford to pay private tuition.

Angus Councillor Colin Brown.

The comment was made by councillor Lynne Devine at last month’s Forfar Community Council, where councillor Glennis Middleton also expressed concern regarding funding implications.

Mrs Devine said the new system of instruction would have been “more exciting” and similar to the Big Noise project which operates successfully in Stirling.

They were discussing the proposed 36 per cent cut to instrumental music staff which was previously agreed by the children and learning committee, but which was overturned at the full council meeting after a heart-felt plea by Forfar Academy pupils.

Defending the turn-around councillor Brown said: “It would seem that councillor Devine and councillor Middleton are more interested in the £200k cut being the missed opportunity and not the implications that would have been for the budding musicians all over Angus.

“And those councillors would have us believe that axing eight teachers and the complete removal of guitar and piano tuition would, in fact, benefit our teaching of music in our schools.

“The passionate plea by Aiden Harvey and Geordie Cryle, along with support of fellow pupils from Forfar Academy in the chamber, persuaded the councillors to vote for the amendment for the music continuation, whereas before the pupils’ plea some would have supported the motion.

“Another councillor stated ‘let us not be the councillors who voted to discontinue music tuition in our schools’.”

“I was proud to support the amendment which ensures that all pupils will have equal opportunity and not just a few whose parents can afford to pay private tuition and possibly in another burgh from where they live. We faced a scenario where guitar and piano lessons would have disappeared, not just for the short term but forever. I am delighted that music stays as an opportunity for all.”