The Music Manifesto: May Update

The Music Manifesto: May Update

Published: 03/05/2021

The Music for Scotland Manifesto launched jointly earlier this year by the Music Education Partnership Group (MEPG) and the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland (RCS) makes the case that music education should be an accessible opportunity open to every child at school in Scotland.

Over recent months we have engaged with all political parties, promoting that case.  We are absolutely delighted, in the run-up to the Scottish Elections on Thursday, that a pledge to support music in schools and to eradicate instrumental tuition fees for all pupils has been expressed as a Manifesto commitment by every main political party in Scotland.

The parties have made the following pledges:



Supporting Young People After Covid

‘Abolish fees for music and arts education, including instrumental music tuition in schools. To support this we will accept all recommendations of the Music Education Partnership Group, mainstreaming music as a core subject in Scotland’s education system and ensuring Scotland’s school-based instrumental music teachers receive GTCS registration and accreditation – creating a professionally-recognised national music teaching force.

Expand the successful Youth Music Initiative model across other art forms and we will support children and young people from disadvantaged communities to access music and realise their potential by continuing our annual funding for Sistema Scotland.’

Read more in the SNP Manifesto.


Scottish Conservatives

‘All children should be able to take part in creative subjects and activities such as music and sport both during and after the school day. As a basic right, we must ensure every child has the opportunity to play an instrument, learn a language and play a sport at school:

We would ensure instrumental music teachers can access GTCS registration and accreditation and make music education a core part of the curriculum to ensure lessons are available to all students free of charge’

Read more in the Scottish Conservatives Manifesto.


Scottish Greens

‘Ensure a rounded school experience for all.’

‘Remove charges for instrumental music tuition. We will adequately fund local councils to ensure that there is no need to charge fees for instrumental music education.’

Read more in the Scottish Greens Manifesto.


Scottish Labour

‘Music education is a critical driver of a child’s social development and emotional wellbeing; it can build confidence, promote creativity and help students develop emotional and behavioural awareness and skills. We support the mainstreaming of music education in schools, enhancing equity of access and rolling out the We Make Music schools programme. We will also ensure free instrumental music tuition for all pupils who wish to learn an instrument.’

Read more in the Scottish Labour Manifesto.


Scottish Liberal Democrats

Education for life

‘We want to make sure every young person can achieve their potential, with an education that embeds skills for life. We will:

Make music tuition free in schools in order to encourage participation and equal access.’

Read more in the Scottish Liberal Democrats Manifesto.


We are grateful to you for all the support you have given this mission to date and we would very much welcome your continuing promotion of the cause, to ensure the ambitions expressed cross-party during this campaign become a reality for children and young people throughout Scotland.

We believe music is essential to the creative development of every child. Providing free access to high-quality music teaching and progression pathways is a tremendous step forward with the potential to be life-enhancing and transformative, not just for individual young people but for a nation that puts creativity, equity and well-being at the heart of both its communities and economy.

We look forward to working with you on behalf of children in Scotland to make music education and the wealth of benefits it brings an integral and positive part of the school and life experience of all young people.


Jeffrey Sharkey and John Wallace


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