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The band plays on

Neil Munro and Willis Pickard report from the research council's annual forum

THE number of pupils receiving instrumental music tuition has not fallen despite a substantial rise in the fees charged by some local authorities. The Scottish Council for Research in Education was asked to conduct a survey last year after the then education minister, Brian Wilson, expressed alarm at the effect on school music.

A survey of council heads of instrumental music showed a variation from between 4 per cent and 15 per cent of the school population receiving tuition. Among the authorities which charged fees there had been a rise in the average from pound;72 in 1996-97 to pound;103 this session.

Although there appeared to have been no effect on the number of pupils playing, charges may still be deterring take-up. "There would be no effect on those from the best-off families or from those who would qualify for fee relief, but there may be a middle band who are put off," John Hall, SCRE researcher, said.

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