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Piano has the keys to many futures;Music for the Millennium;Letter

I was delighted to read that the Incorporated Society of Musicians is supporting your excellent campaign in defence of music in primary schools (TES, May 8).

The European Piano Teachers' Association would also like to endorse the campaign since it, too, deplores the consequences for young people's minds of any move to make music optional in the national curriculum.

This, on top of the drastic cuts in instrumental tuition, will leave a great many of the next generation sadly deprived of the benefits uniquely provided by participation in musical activities, as demonstrated in much recent research.

We applaud the Culture Secretary's proposed rescue package for instrumental teaching and our particular concern is for proper keyboard tuition. The acquisition of keyboard skills is especially important in developing an understanding of harmony, and many a composer searching for ideas has resorted to the keyboard, as has many a conductor coming to terms with an unfamiliar score.

Also, the piano has an important role as an accompanying instrument and in a variety of ensembles. It even appears in many 20th-century orchestral scores, so there is a strong case for the keyboard to be included in any forthcoming scheme, and not to be treated as the Cinderella of instruments.

Frank Martin, Chair European Piano Teachers' Association UK. The Mill, Weybourne, Norfolk

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