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Instrument amnesty aims to give all children the chance to learn music

Concert pianist James Rhodes believes that music saved his life. Now, he wants to give the same opportunity to primary students around the country.

The Great Instrument Amnesty will encourage the public to donate unused instruments to primary schools across Britain.

Mr Rhodes believes that his own troubled childhood was turned around by his ability to play the piano. But, he says, not enough British schoolchildren have the opportunity to learn a musical instrument, with lessons too often an unaffordable luxury.

His campaign is linked to a three-part documentary series, which will be screened on Channel 4 later this summer. Made by the producers of Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution, the programme will follow Mr Rhodes as he pilots the amnesty at a primary school in Essex and then prepares to extend the campaign across the country.

“Music has an undeniable, proven, positive impact on self-esteem, discipline, teamwork, numeracy, literacy, behavioural problems and confidence,” he said.

“The fact that music has become something of a lottery for children – excellent in some schools and simply inadequate in others – is shocking.”

The Great Instrument Amnesty calls on members of the public to rescue unused instruments from cupboards and attics and donate them to primary schools. Instruments can be dropped off at Oxfam charity shops.

Mr Rhodes is currently calling on primary schools to register their interest in receiving free instruments. He has so far emailed more than 20,000 schools.

Primary schools should register their interest at this dedicated website by 11 July.

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