East Sussex music service ‘provides kids with confidence’

Jess Johnson's two children
Jess Johnson's two children

A Hastings mum has backed a petition to save the East Sussex Music Instrumental Service.

The county council announced it was looking at closing the service, which delivers music lessons to around 7,000 children across the county, by 2019 as part of its cost-cutting proposals.

The petition has the backing of thousands of parents and students, including Hastings mum Jess Johnson.

She said: “My two children both learn the violin through the East Sussex Music Service.

“My son Zack is 10 years old and has been learning the violin through the service since he was in year 2.

“Zack is one of the youngest pupils in his class and suffers with dyslexia. Despite the amazing support we have from his school and his perseverance, this makes Zack’s daily learning in those academic subjects a struggle. He’s at the age now where he does compare himself to his classmates and it does have an impact on his confidence. Musically, Zack has an amazing ear and sense of rhythm, Zack becomes a different boy when it comes down to music and the arts.

“Last term his violin teacher put on a small concert for the school. Both of my children took part and I was bursting with pride as any mum would. However, my proudest moment was when Zack closed the concert with a solo accompanied by his violin teacher on the piano. I looked around the school and could see the staff’s faces also full of pride and encouragement for my son. Zack was beaming with confidence and pride sharing his love for music and performing something he felt he was good at and loved doing. It’s a moment that will stay with me for years and years to come.

“The East Sussex Music Service doesn’t just provide excellent music lessons for children, it provides kids like my little lad confidence.”

A council spokesperson said: “We totally appreciate how valued the music service is by children and parents across the county.

“This is not a decision we want to take but, at a time when the council is having to make cuts to services such as libraries and adult social care, we just can’t afford to continue to provide the music service in its current format.

“We’ve already significantly reduced the cost of the service through restructuring and efficiency savings, but it’s not been possible to find a viable way of continuing with the service as it is.

“If this proposal is approved, we will explore all options over the coming months to try and ensure pupils can still have opportunities to learn to play an instrument, and will be asking people to give us

their views on how we can achieve this.”

To sign the petition, go to https://bit.ly/2HjgxcH.