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Welsh Lib Dems call for National Music Education Strategy

2014 Tachwedd 19 6:56 PM

Eluned ParrottWelsh Liberal Democrat AM Eluned Parrott has urged the Welsh Government to create a Welsh Music Education Strategy.

Eluned Parrott challenged the Welsh Education Minister in the Assembly Chamber as Rhondda Cynon Taff Council are holding a consultation on cutting their schools' music service in favour of a privatised service.

There are fears that cuts to music services could also place the National Youth Orchestra of Wales under threat, if the county music education system falls apart.

Eluned Parrott, the Welsh Liberal Democrat AM for South Wales Central, said:

"Wales was the first country in the world to have a National Youth Orchestra and has a proud history of teaching children music, yet councils up and down Wales are denying our poorest children the chance to learn through music. Cuts of this kind would never be considered to science or sports lessons, yet music is always first to bear the burden despite the clear educational benefits of music education.

"Projects such as the Simon Bolivar Youth Orchestra in Venezuela have shown just how much of a difference that learning a musical instrument can make to a young person's life. It teaches them teamwork, gives them a sense of personal achievement and builds the confidence to use these skills in other settings. El Sistema, as it is known in Venezuela, has been widely recognised by UNESCO and others for having rescued some of the most deprived children in that society from a life of misery on the streets.

"A National Music Education Strategy would end the postcode lottery of instrument lessons in schools, and ensure that music doesn't become the preserve of the privileged few. Music is such a deeply-felt part of our national psyche in Wales, but I fear that the bands, orchestras and choirs that we know and love will simply die out if we don't continue to teach our children the value of music. The Welsh Labour Government needs to stop ducking and diving on this issue and create a national Strategy."