Students, staff and parents at Beacon Academy are adding their voices to the campaign opposing the closure of the East Sussex Instrumental Service and are asking for your support. A petition opposing the closure can be found here.
East Sussex Music, celebrating its 84th year, is a government-funded music provider delivering music lessons to around 7,000 children aged 4 - 18 in schools across the county. Through one-to-one and small group tuition, highly trained and skilled professional musicians provide students with the opportunity to develop confidence and develop specific instrumental skills. The service also offers music enrichment workshops, curriculum support and performance opportunities for young musicians.
Sadly, the instrumental teaching part of the service is now threatened with closure due to a proposal that will be decided on Monday 30 April 2018, a decision that could mean the end of individual and group instrumental lessons for thousands of children and job losses for teachers and administrative staff from September 2019.
A Year 8 Beacon Academy student, Maisie has provided the following statement:
“I started learning the clarinet five years ago, when I was eight years old. Now I am in Year 8 I can see how much of a benefit it has been for me in my life so far. With the supporting, friendly teachers, the East Sussex Music Service has improved my confidence levels massively, both in myself and in front of others. It has allowed me to meet new people, some of whom have become close friends. Learning a musical instrument also opens up many more options for the future. Closing the Music Service would absolutely devastate me and the future generations of musicians.”
Ella also in in Year 8, has commented;
“Music is a big part of my life, I have been playing an instrument since Year 3 and I have enjoyed challenging myself with new pieces. Since being at Beacon Academy, I have begun to learn the cello. My Great-Grandma used to play the viola in BBC Symphony Orchestra, she had a very successful career, having the opportunity to travel the world. Her career was very enjoyable and would not have been able to happen without music lessons. The lessons that I have are enjoyable, interactive and rewarding. Learning an instrument has given me opportunities that I would not otherwise have.”
Former Beacon student, Charlotte, now in her second year studying at Biochemistry and Molecular Medicine at Nottingham University, added;
“I remember ESMS coming into my primary school and encouraging us to learn a musical instrument. I heard Mrs Freeman play “The Simpson’s theme-tune” on her saxophone and was hooked. It become 9-year-old me’s life goal to be able to play that tune! I began playing the clarinet with the help of the ESMS instrument hiring scheme. It didn’t come easily at first - “regular practice” was not a phrase in my vocabulary until a few years later! I remember being incredibly proud of myself for performing “Puff the Magic Dragon” in assembly, and that kick started years of playing in the school orchestra and jazz band, and adding the saxophone to my repertoire. The summer schools and the performances will stick with me for life - the excitement of playing in front of people, on stage, in amazing venues! During Sixth Form, music became more of an escape, relieving the pressure of A Levels. Without Mrs Freeman and the ESMS, I doubt I would have been as successful at school. Taking a Level 3 Music BTEC during Sixth Form would have been impossible without the help and input of Mrs Freeman. At university I play in the concert band and was part of the Medics Musical Orchestra. Being able to play an instrument instantly gave me a whole new set of friends at university, and taught me the persistence and patience needed in my studies. None of this would have been possible without ESMS, and the thought of the closure of this service preventing other children from having even half of the experiences I did does not sit well. I sincerely hope this decision will be reversed - listen to the ESMS staff and teachers, and I am sure a compromise can be reached.”
Teacher of Music at Beacon Academy, Mr Cryle, added;
“East Sussex Music provide an excellent service to local young people, helping children across the county to develop skills and confidence by offering young musicians invaluable one-to-one tuition and exciting opportunities to perform and play alongside others. Thank you to our students and parents for showing their support for this campaign. We hope that we can help to spread the word and help to make a difference before the proposal is decided on Monday.”