Scott champions Shetland’s young musicians in Holyrood debate and calls for greater public investment

Shetland MSP Tavish Scott praised the success and talent of Shetland’s young musicians in a Holyrood debate today and called for more money to be found to invest in school music tuition.

Parliament’s Education Committee held the debate on the future of instrumental music tuition in schools following its report which recognised the value of music in schools and raised concerns about the impact of music tuition fees. The report concluded that, in principle, tuition should be free in every local authority. Fees currently vary across local authorities with some providing tuition free of charge and others charging up to £524.

Tavish recognised the winners of the Shetland Young Fiddler of the Year competition held last weekend, and past winners whose talent has been celebrated across Scotland and the world, as evidence of the importance of instrument tuition in schools. Mr Scott made clear that the fiddle, pipes, signing and harp are the basis of Scotland’s musical heritage and that this heritage should be nurtured.

Commenting, Tavish said:

“Shetland has produced great musical talent. The next generation was on show at the Fiddler of the Year awards last weekend. So it is easy to recognise the huge benefits of music for our young people and wider society.

“But there has been a decline in pupils taking up instrumental tuition and in the time allocated for lessons. Access to instrumental music tuition is too important to be determined by a postcode lottery. Young people whose parents cannot afford to pay for private tuition or the fees set by the local council must not be locked out of the joy and skills learning to play an instrument can bring.

“We must remember Shetland’s musical history and recognise that sustaining this into the future means finding the resources to support our young people to reach their musical potential.”

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