Pupils set to benefit as millions are spent on school music hubs
Every child in the Westcountry will have the chance to sing and learn an instrument as part of a multi-million-pound Arts Council plan to set up seven “hubs” to improve the quality of music teaching in the region’s schools.
Music hubs in Cornwall, Devon and Somerset will mark a “significant shift” in the way music is taught as schools link with orchestras, ensembles and choirs in the broader community as part of the £7.5 million programme.
Phil Gibby, Arts Council England’s director for the South West, said: “We know that experiences of learning music help children to improve across the whole curriculum, as well as providing an important part of young people’s cultural education.
“Music education provides opportunities to develop skills in a wide range of genres with something for all tastes and skills. The music education hubs will provide opportunities for young people to take part in musical experiences that will remain with them for the rest of their lives.”
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Cornwall Council, which has been given a £1.5 million share of the funding pot, said children would “directly benefit” from the money over the next three years.
Sharon Longden, head of Cornwall Learning, said: “We are committed to ensuring every child has the opportunity to sing and learn a musical instrument, and perform as part of an ensemble or choir.
“This funding will also enable us to give young people the opportunity to develop their musical talents through working with our regional and national partners such as the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra and the BBC Concert Band.”
Also winning a share of the cash are Plymouth Youth Music Service, Somerset County Council, Bath and North East Somerset Council, North Somerset Music Service, Torbay Music Service and Devon Music Service, which gets the largest share at almost £2 million.
It was singled out for particular praise by the Arts Council for working with 53 other groups from the arts and education sectors to offer high-quality music provision across the whole of the county covering a wide range of genres, including folk, world music, rock and classical.
Culture Minister Ed Vaizey said: “These hubs will mean young people around the country can access high-quality music teaching, itself an important and fulfilling part of learning.
“Playing an instrument can enrich students’ lives and perhaps even lead to a career in teaching or performing.”
Schools Minister Nick Gibb said: “All children, wherever they live and whatever their circumstances, should have the opportunity to learn a musical instrument and to play and sing with others.
“I welcome the Art Council’s announcement of the nationwide network of music hubs. Over the coming years, these hubs will help countless children to discover and develop their musical talent.”
The seven hubs in the Westcountry are part of a network of 122 music hubs nationwide.