More big names join the push to save music in East Sussex schools

Music is central to our cultural life and a driver of economic growth.

That’s the simple message the Incorporated Society of Musicians (ISM) is sending to East Sussex County Council as it wades in to the campaign to stop the closure of East Sussex Music Service which provides music lessons in schools across the county.

Deborah Annetts, Chief Executive of the Incorporated Society of Musicians said at the weekend: ‘The news that East Sussex County Council is proposing to close their music service by 2019 is deeply concerning. The closure of the music service will mean the loss of vital music provision for thousands of children across the county, as well as job losses for music teachers and administrative staff. This is unacceptable and cannot happen.

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“Music is central to our cultural life, a key driver of economic growth, and has a positive impact on children’s cognitive development and emotional wellbeing. In our response, we will firmly recommend that the council considers the impact the closure of the music service will have and to find an alternative proposal that would allow the service to continue.”

East Sussex Music Service, which has been providing music tuition to the county since 1934, delivers music lessons to around 7,000 children in schools each year and almost 1,000 children aged between four and 18 attend its music centres every week. The ISM is supporting local efforts led by music teachers to save the music service.

Meanwhile John Rutter CBE, an English composer and conductor, says: “Music education isn’t a frill to be left to the private sector and open only to those who can pay, it’s at the heart of what makes us human and civilised.”

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Another renowned musician has joined the campaign to save music tuition in East Sussex. Operatic tenor Allan Clayton will sing rousing choruses of Sussex by the Sea with the campaign band at Lewes Raft Race on July 1st from 2pm.

Meanwhile Lord Lloyd-Webber has again taken aim at the government’s education policy this time as he picked up a Special Recognition Award at the Classic BRITs.

Lord Lloyd Webber used his acceptance speech at awards ceremony in London’s Royal Albert Hall to launch a blistering attack on policies that have seen the amount of music being taught in schools decrease over recent years.

In a rousing speech he said: “It is vital that we keep music in our schools. It is absolutely ludicrous that that government does not understand… because it’s not about turning children necessarily into musicians, it’s about empowering them in all sorts of different ways.

“And also it teaches them to be all-round human beings at a time when it’s really important that we celebrate not just the individual but what they collectively put in. Music is the empowering force.

“Everything we can do to put music in our schools, we must do.”

And he aded that if the nearby Royal College of Music had not been free when he was younger, his life may have looked very different: “I might not be standing here now,” he said.

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