HUNDREDS of primary school pupils are to receive free weekly music lessons and voice coaching sessions from next month thanks to a £125,000 investment.
All children in primaries five, six and seven have been offered the lessons and around 650 have taken up the invitation.
The pupils will receive them in singing and a choice of guitar, recorder and a range of wind and brass instruments from December 2.
They will take place on Friday afternoons at one of 11 “Sounds Like Friday” centres being established in schools across the Capital.
The group sessions – funded through creative Scotland’s Youth Music Initiative – are designed to get youngsters making music together in a “stimulating, uplifting atmosphere”.
All pupils signed up to the initiative will be given between 20 and 40 hours of free tuition, depending on their choice of instrument and voice coaching.
They will also be able to borrow instruments and repertoire books and will work towards performance opportunities in various schools.
The young people will be taught in groups by around 70 music tutors and will also be able to take part in Saturday sessions, which are being planned for the start of next year.
David McDonald, youth arts manager at Creative Scotland, said: “The Youth Music Initiative has given thousands of young people the opportunity to learn about and enjoy making music, either in school, or away from school.
“Sounds Like Friday is a fantastic programme that will provide many of Edinburgh’s school children with an opportunity to learn a musical instrument or develop their vocal skills.
“Creativity plays a vital role in children and young people’s development, it builds confidence and communication skills and develops our future musicians.”
The 11 centres where pupils will gather for their weekly sessions are Craigroyston Community High School, Dalry Primary School, Forrester High School, Forthview Primary School, Gracemount High School, Hillwood Primary School, Lorne Primary School, Newcraighall Primary School, Oxgangs Primary School, South Morningside Primary School and Wester Hailes Education Centre.
The Creative Scotland investment has been welcomed by council chiefs. City education leader Councillor Marilyne MacLaren said: “I’m personally committed to supporting continued free music tuition and to enhancing the musical experience in schools.
“This expansion of the service will play a big part in helping to ensure that young people get a rounded educational experience in our schools.
“We’re one of the few councils who provide a music support at this level because we want music to stay with our pupils forever.”
Council leader Jenny Dawe added: “Children across the city will benefit with voice, guitar, and recorder and a further instrument is offered to primary seven pupils which varies across the venues.
“Thus, on Friday afternoons, many of the city’s youngsters will be busy making music, socialising in a stimulating, uplifting atmosphere and sharing a love of music.”