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AM calls for national strategy on music education in schools in the wake of proposed cuts at Welsh councils

5th January 2015

A Liberal Democrat AM has called for a national strategy on music education in schools and revealed how music education gave her the confidence to enter politics.

South Wales Central AM Eluned Parrott’s comments come in the wake of proposals for cuts to Rhondda Cynon Taf’s music service, which would leave schools to source music services from their own budget.

Ms Parrott, who played the viola to university level, said: “For me personally there were times in my life when I was a little bit troubled.

“I didn’t always find it easy being a teenager, I didn’t always enjoy school, but I always had my music.

“I had choirs I played in, orchestras I played in – the wonderful experience of sitting down for the first time in an orchestra and playing together with all these other people and listening to them and feeling part of something that is much, much bigger than you.”

Ms Parrott raised the issue in the Senedd earlier this year but her comments were overshadowed by a request from Presiding Officer Rosemary Butler to take her hand off her hip – the subject of a formal complaint by the Liberal Democrats.

Ms Parrott, learned the viola in music lessons in school before going on to study music at university.

She said: “I really do think its what gave me the confidence to do what I do for a living because it instills in you this self-confidence, the ability to rely on yourself. It gives you a fantastic experience as working as part of a team,

“For me the one thing I always say it gives you that kind of show-must-go-on mentality.

“I wasn’t born with a lot of confidence. But I think that my music gave me the confidence to understand that it’s okay to stand in front of people and talk.”

She added: “What really frightens me in Rhondda Cynon Taf is by cutting down these opportunities for some of the most deprived children in Wales we’re just shutting down another avenue for them to grow personally.

“What we really need is a national strategy, so rather than having children in neighbouring towns having completely different access we need to be thinking about how we can do this on a fair basis across Wales.

“Most children now have to pay for music lessons. Do we want to set up a system where children on free school meals don’t have to pay for music lessons but some other children do?

Read more on the Wales Online website