Pupils benefiting from a second year of free musical tuition showed their appreciation with a recital in Aberdeen City Council’s Committee Chamber today (Tuesday 12 September).
The budding musicians played before councillors at the Education and Children’s Services Committee which met to consider an evaluation report on free musical tuition and to extend opportunities for music making through partnership working between the Music Service and Aberdeen Music School and other organisations.
The report highlighted a vastly increased number of pupils accessing high quality musical tuition in academic year 2022/23 as compared with the previous year. 1989 pupils are receiving individual or small group lessons on a weekly basis while over 5000 pupils have accessed whole class vocal and / or instrumentation lessons.
This compares with 1821 pupils in total receiving music tuition in 2021/22. The difference is due largely to the added resources devoted to whole class tuition and a focus on ensuring an equitable offer across all areas of the city.
The Music Service looked to provide as many performing opportunities as possible for pupils in 2022-2023 with the lifting of public health restrictions allowing for more ensemble music making.
These included a Festive Concert at the Beach Ballroom, three locality concerts, the Aberdeen semi-finals of the Scottish Young Musician of the Year and performances at the ‘Light the Blue’ festival, Aberdeen Highland Games, Aberdeen Art Gallery, school concerts and even participation at the Mòd in Inverness.
Over 2,500 pupils also took part in the Big Sing 2023 at Duthie Park in June. Children and young people rediscovered the joy of singing in public while also learning British Sign Language in order to both sing and sign. Pupil feedback highlighted the positive emotions and excitement they felt at taking part.
Every child who receives lessons from the Music Service is added to a Google Classroom by their Music Instructor, alongside their parents/carers. In June 2023, 70.9% of pupils reported that they use Google Classroom regularly with a satisfaction rating of 7.5/10.
Committee Convener, Councillor Martin Greig, said: “This is a hugely positive report and is heartening not only because of the great increase of pupils receiving music tuition but also the sheer enjoyment they feel in playing as we witnessed today.
“Music plays a vital role in supporting the health and wellbeing of children and young people. Playing an instrument proficiently in an ensemble also provides great sense of pride, enjoyment and togetherness. Our officers are to be commended for their reinvigoration of the Music Service.”
Vice Convener, Councillor Jessica Mennie, said: “Further expansion of the Music Service is a vital part of our commitment to music tuition being accessible to all children and young people across the city.
“I was honoured to open the first ever Aberdeen Big Sing this summer, which gave us a beautiful snapshot of how music can be used as a tool to bring children and young people together to enhance their school experience.
“I am excited to continue to support music tuition in coming years so that pupils across the city can experience the joy of playing music, regardless of their circumstances.”
Positive comments from pupils included:
- Music lessons make me more independent and organised with my life and learning. They also help me when communicating with others and they are intellectually challenging.”
- “To me music is an escape that can express whatever emotion you are feeling without words. Music relives my stress and helps me to be relaxed. It feels amazing working together with various people as a group to produce a nice sound. Music makes me creative and have the ability to think outside the box, this helps me not only in music but in my various other subjects.”
- “Music is important to me as it gives me a space to reflect and express my emotions. Playing in an ensemble makes me feel included and welcomed. It has allowed me to make many new friends and it has really developed my listening skills. Music gives me so many skills that I can apply outside of lessons like social skills and resilience.”
In addition to attracting more pupils in the coming year and pursuing partnership projects, the Music Service is planning performances at SPECTRA 2024, Aberdeen Highland Games, and other cultural events.