Underprivileged children in Wales will receive free access to musical instruments

May 17, 2022, 12:39 | Updated: May 17, 2022, 1:04 p.m.

A girl in a Welsh primary school learns the violin.

Photo: Aliyah

Wales’ new plan for music education is triple the amount previously earmarked for the art form by the Welsh Government.

A new music education plan announced today promises to make music accessible to all children and young people in Wales.

The National Music Service is a £13.5 million program funded by the Welsh Government for the next three years. This total of £4.5million a year is triple the amount previously given annually to music education by the government.

In the 32-page report on the new service, Wales is called the ‘Land of Song’, and it’s easy to see why. The country is home to many incredible classical musicians, ranging from bass-baritone Bryn Terfel to classical mezzo-soprano Katherine Jenkins and harpist Catrin Finch.

Wales Education Minister Jeremy Miles said: “Whether we were born here or live in Wales, music has had a strong influence on all of our lives.

“Music has been and continues to be one of the most inclusive ways to communicate and celebrate our culture and language.”

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At the heart of the National Music Service is the National Music Education Plan.

Miles continues: “Our vision for [Wales’] The National Plan for Music Education gives all children and young people in Wales, regardless of background, the chance to learn to play an instrument.

With the cost of living rising across the UK, music lessons for children may not be at the top of everyone’s priority list. However, the Welsh Government assures that its plan “will break down barriers and ensure that a lack of money in particular does not prevent any child or young person from being able to play an instrument, sing, participate or create music in using traditional and digital music”. manners.”

Over the past year, the Welsh Government has invested £5.5 million to support the purchase of musical instruments, adaptive musical instruments for those with additional learning needs and digital recording equipment. This has created a new national library of instruments and equipment that will be shared across the country.

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Under the new plan, which will be rolled out from September 2022, secondary school students will be able to gain industry experience through the “Making Music with Others” initiative, where they will have the opportunity to work alongside of musicians in the creative industries. .

Meanwhile, primary school students will benefit from a minimum of half-term introductory musical instrument sessions, under a program called “First Experiences”.

The National Music Service will also ensure that opportunities for music creation continue outside of school hours.

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First Minister of Wales Mark Drakeford visited St Joseph’s Cathedral Primary School in Swansea to watch a musical performance by primary school children and launch the National Music Service, along with Miles.

Drakeford learned to play the clarinet and ukulele as a child, and he admitted that “learning an instrument was a formative part of my upbringing.”

Miles, who played the baritone horn as a child, echoed Drakeford’s sentiment and told the cameras: “Anyone who has had the opportunity in school to learn to play any instrument , will know how many opportunities it opens up for you in life and what kind of confidence it gives you.

“And that’s the kind of experience we want our young people in all parts of Wales to have, regardless of where they come from.”