SOS for SMMS – saving music provision in Liverpool

We interrupt normal weekly service with a special update. I’ve received word that due to cuts, Liverpool Council is axing its Saturday Morning Music School. So I need your help.

Liverpool has an excellent reputation for music and the arts, and its music hub, Resonate Music, has done great work in bringing music to children across the city. More than 4,000 pupils a year have the opportunity to access instrumental provision (a figure that represents a 62% increase since 2009), and local schools and the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic are all involved in enriching music education. The Resonate Music message is clear: music should be available for all, regardless of financial background.

There are a number of opportunities for which there is a small fee-paying element, but which are heavily subsidised by Resonate Music. Among them is the Saturday Morning Music School, which offers regular ensemble tuition to over 250 young musicians in Liverpool, and is a place where the most talented players in the region can come together to play in wind bands, string orchestras, brass ensembles, choirs, jazz groups and the highly acclaimed Liverpool Youth Orchestra, which has toured Europe, the USA and China. If you are able, you pay a fee for your child to attend; if your child is in receipt of free school meals, there is no charge. It’s that simple.

I’m writing this for two reasons. Firstly, the SMMS clearly offers high-quality tuition to young musicians with real potential, regardless of financial background, and this kind of service is crucial if we want musical talent to flower democratically across the UK. And we all know how beneficial musical training can be across all subjects and skills.

Secondly, and far more importantly, was the message I received from a friend of mine alerting me to this situation, and asking me to write. He is due to begin a music degree at university in the autumn. He is co-principal violist of the National Youth Orchestra, was a finalist for Choir Boy of the Year, has appeared as a singer on national television, and has a fistful of top-mark music exam certificates for piano, violin and viola. This is what he wrote:

SMMS is the primary source of music education in Liverpool that not only provides music lessons but also includes the Liverpool Youth Orchestra, choirs, brass band, jazz band and many more for kids of all ages and it provides so many opportunities for children who would not normally be able to get to play a musical instrument. I was wondering if you would be able to help spread the word about this campaign to help save it? … I can only speak from personal experience that SMMS is an incredible place and it gave me so many opportunities that I would be lost without.

Oh, and by the way… SMMS gave him his first viola.

So I ask with him: If there is anything you can do, we would be so grateful.

Sign the petition here.

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