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Minister strikes up the band

St Margaret's Academy in Livingston is to play host next Friday (February 27) to an unusual musical event organised by the unlikely duo of the Scottish Office and the Musicians' Union.

It is intended to be a celebration of music in schools coupled with a discussion on the way forward for music tuition as cash-strapped councils are forced to charge. A survey last year showed more than half of the 32 education authorities had started charging.

Next week's initiative follows a meeting last autumn between the union and Brian Wilson, the Education Minister, who expressed concern at instrument tuition becoming the preserve of "a financial elite".

Mr Wilson pointed this week to huge disparities in funding and said he hoped the best options would become generally accepted. "It is very important that existing provision is maintained and developed," he told The TES Scotland.

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