And Music Services continue to be cut…

Lib Dem MP Stephen Lloyd is supporting a campaign to save the East Sussex Music Service. He wrote in his newsletter:

Sadly the budget cuts just keep rolling in from East Sussex County Council, and they’re now planning severe reductions to our music services.

The absolutely brilliant East Sussex Music Service (ESMS) are celebrating their 84th year; they deliver music lessons to around 7000 children in schools across the county per annum and 1000 children, aged between 4 and 18, attend area music centres each week. Despite this success, the county council have announced plans are being made to close the music instrumental service by 2019. This will result in the loss of valued music provision for many and destroy a service which has introduced thousands of Eastbourne children to music over the decades.

I believe such proposals are unnecessary, wrong and shortsighted. I’ve also been told that staff believe savings can be made without slashing such a much loved music service. We need County Hall to pause, listen to the people they serve and go back to the music staff to ask them how the funding circle can be squared, rather than just propose a decimation of the entire instrument teaching provision. A decision which if it goes through, will be horrendously difficult to reverse. Please join me in opposing this cut by signing the online petition here.

I remember being amazed when studying the music systems of Albania under Enver Hoxha’s regime, that every child, from nursery onwards, was taught music. By the age of four, those showing talent were given individual lessons. By the age of six, some children were learning two instruments. Music was a celebrated part of culture, not a sideline. I wondered why we didn’t do the same.

Studies now show that learning music from an early age helps develop brain structures. Music also helps with concentration and working together as part of a group. The social benefits of music carry on throughout life – singing in a choir is highly recommended in regards to maintaining mental health and well-being. It’s not just being around people, it’s the act of creating music and being enriched in a further dimension. Music comforts and heals, and music therapy is a burgeoning field. Then, of course, there is the pure pleasure of listening to music.

For all these reasons and more, we need to keep our music services alive and well-funded. Music is part of the woven tapestry of our lives, and children must have access to training early on.

A gain in Bolton for us:

* Kirsten Johnson was the PPC for Oxford East in the 2017 General Election. She is a pianist and composer at

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This entry was posted in Op-eds.


  • OnceALibDem 3rd May '18 - 3:19pm

    Praising the Enver Hoxha regime. Lets not do that.

  • Sean Hyland 3rd May '18 - 4:13pm

    Unfortunately we have an education system that values parroting endless lists of facts,names,dates etc. We are in danger of sending legions of children into the world totally ill equipped to deal with a changing world. We should be developing skills in creativity,teamwork, problem solving etc. Music is an important part of a cultural curriculum including art design etc that has benefits on individuals and society. We should also be developing practical life skills and the opportunity for those with practical skills to follow a curriculum more suited to their skills.
    We have to learn again to value the artists, creaters, engineers etc. These could be the driving force behind future prosperity of the nation.

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