Thursday, 2 September 2010

If Music Be the Food of Love Play On

Not being a fan of Shakespeare - although my father tried hard to convince me of his throughout my childhood - sometimes his words do have resonance.

Fife council has taken the controversial step of cutting its music tuition budget by 25% and they intend to cut it another 25% next year. For those readers outwith Scotland, Fife council is run by the SNP. I'm saddened they are so short-sighted taking what they think is an easy option concerning cuts in their education budget.

A conservative councillor contacted the Courier to complain that targeting music is a bad move where the education of children is concerned. I would agree. Children must be offered subjects which involve interactivity with their peers, teach them team playing and also the responsibility of learning that effort does pay.

Naturally music isn't appropriate for all children to learn such skills, but sport and music are the main subjects in which children can learn so much. I was one who benefitted from Dundee's director of education's decision, back in the 1950s, to offer every child the opportunity to learn a musical instrument.

The decision to reduce expenditure on music reduces the value of our education system. Now it will be only for these children whose parents can afford to send their children to private lessons. Unfortunately private lessons do not provide many of the skills which lessons within the school environment provides, so often they alienate the child from their peers because, when education authorities reduce music budgets, the after school music classes are lost and they are vital to those who do take private lessons.

I would ask Fife council to reconsider, but of course it's too late. I would also suggest they spent less money on teaching children subjects which will be of little or no use in their adult lives, but I know I'm whistling in the wind.

It would appear Fife council are following the comprehensive agenda, educate our young for the state examinations and nothing else. What a tragedy for so many of our children. It's my understanding sport has also been cut back in recent years. Aye, Scotland's doing fine complying with an education curriculum which churns out robots.

There was a stooshie at a recent council meeting when the tory councillor wasn't allowed to speak his mind about the cut in music provision. The chair said 'the subject wasn't on the agenda'. Surely any committee agenda has AOB (Any Other Business) on it. If this committee didn't have AOB on their agenda then I find that most unprofessional because that's the opportunity for anyone to bring up matters which concern them. Shame on you Councillor Douglas Chapman. Your excuse has a distinct bad smell about it.


Oldrightie said...

Not a fan, Subrosa when one of the greatest plays about political awfulness is Macbeth? Well, you need some thought policing my dear.

berenike said...

Instrumental music teaching must be the only subject in schools where the teacher can just teach the subject, without worrying about results or exams unless the pupils want to.


A Grateful Beneficiary of School Music Lessons Provided by Edinburgh and Lothian Councils and the Enthusiasm of Dr Colin O'Riordan, RIP.

subrosa said...

It's rather late for though policing OR having been indoctrinated by Mr S all my childhood. Even my favourite teacher thought he was wonderful. I was much happier with Scott, Burns, Buchan, Carlyle and others of that ilk.

subrosa said...

Ah Colin, lovely man berenike. I think we've seen the last of his kind, although I'd like to think his legacy lives on.

It was Jimmy Easson in Dundee who insisted upon providing instrumental music lessons for Dundonian children. His legacy lives on in my generation because I know there are many of us whose parents could never have afforded even one lesson.

Joe Public said...

With so many school-leavers having such poor grasps of Mathematics & 'English', music & literature have to be low priorities.

subrosa said...

Actually Joe, that's a point. Music is all about counting and rhythm. Helps those who have problems with basic maths no end. Isn't the English language improved by the study of English literature?

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