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Monday, 30 June 2008

Peripatetic Music Ceredigion

I am a little surprised that this is an issue that has taken time to get going as the harp is so much part of the Welsh psyche it frequently resonates with the heart. There are references now on the BBC in Welsh and English.
Not many parents were aware of the harp teaching post because the decision has been taken without reference or consultation with parents and pupils. Its important to note the following facts:-
  • The peripatetic service in Ceredigion is second to none and has a reputation of producing high quality musicians who contribute to the enjoyment of the wider public. Catrin Finch, Rhys Taylor etc all had some peripatetic teacher input as well as private tuition.
  • Concerts organised by Ceredigion CC with children who receive peripatetic teaching taking part, are always well attended and of a standard much higher than that found in neighbouring counties.
  • There were 9 individuals/ensembles from Ceredigion on stage in the recent Urdd National Eisteddfod, all in receipt of peripatetic music tuition

These are wonderful adverts for the County, with much more impact than some of the sanitised public dictums emanating from County Council HQ.

However my main objection to the cuts is this, by reducing the peripatetic service you are creating an elitist structure for music tuition where only those who can afford the private lessons can develop their musical skills. That is wrong in principle. All pupils should have the opportunity for tuition irrespective of how much their parents earn.
On a personal note I have nothing but the highest regard for the Ceredigion Peripatetic Music teachers, it is a valuable and successful service. They have taught all of my 3 boys and given them valuable experiences and confidence in performing as soloists, also teaching them how to work and perform with others in ensembles/orchestras and bands from school, county, three counties (Ceredigion, Carmarthen and Pembs.) level all the way up to the National Youth Brass Band of Wales. It is an important and treasured part of their life which will remain with them for the rest of their days. I know that I am not the only parent that thinks this way.
These are the reasons why I think that Cllr Ceredig Davies should be brought to account for such a short sighted decision and explain why it has been done. These are decisions that should be reversed and there are many unanswerd questions.
  • How many teachers were there in 2006, 2007 and 2008?
  • How many are proposed for 2009?
  • Which posts have already been lost?
  • How many have been offered early retirement?
  • How can the National Music Curriculum be delivered without peripatetic teachers in key areas?
  • What do the School Governors think of this, were they consulted?

I am sure as part of his explanation Cllr Davies will refer to the County Council financial settlement from the Assembly. This is a red herring and a convenient way of blaming somebody else - a regular Liberal Democrat tactic by the way. Consider the effect of spending money on peripatetic tuition against some of the other money wasting schemes offered by the County Council. You can cherry pick several from the wards represented by Cabinet Members.

Please take time to write to the Liberal Democrat Cabinet member, Cllr Ceredig Davies, outlining your objections.

The address is Adran Addysg, Swyddfa'r Sir, Glan y Môr, Aberystwyth, Ceredigion SY23 2DE.

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