Edinburgh festival buys 250 instruments for city schools

The Edinburgh International Festival has acquired some 250 instruments for local schools after pupils were told not to share during Covid.

The festival, which was silenced last summer by the pandemic, spent £60,000 on the project.

It said: ‘The council’s Instrumental Music Service currently does not have enough instruments to meet demand, resulting in up to three pupils sharing one between them. This shortage is exacerbated by current Covid-safe guidelines, which prevent the sharing of instruments. The project ensures each individual pupil is provided an instrument for as long as they want it, allowing them to safely continue their lessons and find joy from their music tuition.’

 

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  • This is a heart-warming gesture, and everyone salutes the EIF.

    It however says something about the state (and status) of instrumental music tuition across most of the UK that funding for something as basic as musical instruments for schools is not available from the local authority (whose budgets even before Covid were subject to government cuts and then more cuts), but instead in this case has to come from a music festival.

    Even in “normal” times, music and music tuition in the UK is given a low status by central government, and is one of the first areas for cuts. Local authorities (who usually get the blame) are in a near-impossible position. But then the government turns round and says that we need more diversity in music. We certainly do, and all of us who work in music work hard to achieve a greater reach: but if there isn’t the funding so that every child who wants to can learn an instrument (and can be provided with a vaguely working instrument), music is going to be the preserve of those who can scramble together enough money to pay for lessons and buy an instrument. Or, in this case, live in a city with a fine music festival who have taken positive action and resolved [part of] the problem.

  • This is a great initiative.

    And it’s exactly the kind of thinking that puts those ‘great minds’ who run the hugely funded arts organisations to shame – those who spend their time moaning about their millions being slightly cut, whilst sitting doing very little to generate anything for themselves or the communities they are funded to represent.

    Kudos to Edinburgh Festival. May others learn from this.

    FM

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