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Music service must not be hived off
10:00am Wednesday 28th August 2013 in Letters
Sir – Reports that the county council is considering outsourcing the county music service will be received with a mixture of incredulity and horror by the thousands of pupils, and their parents, receiving instrumental tuition in schools, music schools, orchestras and the many other groups involving singers, strings, brass, jazz and swing.
Culminating in the exceptionally high standards of the County Youth Orchestra, the music service is a longstanding jewel in the crown of the local education authority.
To its credit, the council has supported the service through years of financial restraint which have proved fatal in other areas.
The leadership of my successors, Dick Hallam and Tony Mealing, together with their dedicated teaching staff has been supported by parents who have spent untold sums of money ferrying their children to lessons, music schools, rehearsals and concerts.
Thirty years ago, at a County Youth Orchestra concert, the leader of the council told that any whisper of a threat to the music service led to more complaints from constituents than any other policy.
Therefore all concerned with the music service, especially parents, should feel urged to write to their county councillor asking forcefully that consideration of outsourcing should be abandoned, permanently.
Martin Sheldon (senior county music adviser 1974-1981), Headington Quarry, Oxford
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