Nicola Benedetti: Cuts to music tuition are ‘worrying’

The classical musician has voiced her concerns over council cuts to pupils' lessons.

Nicola Benedetti has said she find cuts to music tuition in Scotland worrying, adding that a music education ‘has a unique type of power’.

The classical violinist, who has launched the Benedetti Foundation to encourage children and young people to engage with music, believes music education can have a lasting impact.

The 31-year-old’s comments follow cutbacks from Scottish councils, who introduced or increased fees for instrumental lessons in 2018.

“We should always be worried about anything that solidifies inequality or things that make inequality a norm, and something that we accept as growing financial pressures of the country,” Nicola said.

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“That might sound strange to some people, because they would see music as a specialist subject to study at school or in your younger years.”

Benedetti believes a music education can do more than offer a pathway into becoming a full time musician.

“Those of us who have seen enough of the wide variety of the kind of impact music can have on people, it’s not about it turning into a vocation or a job, that’s not what the majority of people will end up doing with a music education they receive.

“It’s something that tackles all the invisible parts of you, and not that much of education does that. It tackles in such a way emotion, creativity and discipline and skill at the same time. I would argue that music if taught well, is something that has quite a unique type of power within education.”

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Benedetti’s passion for children to be involved with music led to her establishing the Benedetti Foundation, which will see the musician launch workshops for a variety of ages.

“The workshops will target many different groups, a kind of mass young ensemble which is the early grades, so very much open to a wide range of players,” she explains.

“Then a more senior orchestra, then an ambassadors programme which will target students who are at university level and are very proficient in their instruments.

“We will be asking them not only to learn from the weekend, but to help us teach the younger ones.”

Benedetti added that half of the workshops will be dedicated to teachers, helping to support them when often they are underappreciated.

She said: “I feel teachers are so often marginalised, under resourced, under funded, under supported, underappreciated and they need more information.

“They also need moments of uplift and collective celebration of what they do.”

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It is hoped the first of the workshops will be held in January, with the first set to take place in Glasgow.


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