Kevin Buckle: Here's why plan to close City of Edinburgh Music School was a non-starter

The council's plan to close the City of Edinburgh Music School at Broughton High should have been a non-starter because of the profound effect music can have on people.

Saturday, 4th November 2017, 6:00 am
Updated Tuesday, 12th December 2017, 8:35 am
Edinburgh Northern and Leith MSP Ben Macpherson met pupils when they took their campaign to save the music school to Holyrood

After recently being asked by Edinburgh council to help publicise today’s open day at the City of Edinburgh Music School, I was more than a little surprised to see there was a possible plan to close it.

Yes they can spread everybody about and make out it will actually be an improvement but nobody is really buying that and while not wanting to be complacent it already looks very unlikely that the threat to the school, based at Broughton High, will last beyond the next council meeting.

As a centre of excellence, the clue really is in the name. It is a centre and all the talk of how the students feed off each other’s enthusiasm and learn from each other is of course completely true and common sense.

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What is worrying is that somebody somewhere thought they could slip this through, summarised in a sentence, and nobody was going to notice. I appreciate that those who know more about these things understand it was just a proposal, and not as such a recommendation, but even so it doesn’t reflect well that it was even put forward for consideration.

Social media may have its faults, but one thing it is perfect for is protesting about stuff and, even with less than 24 hours’ notice, there was already a groundswell of opinion against the closure before the council meeting began.

Sensibly a decision was made to delay things and also ask for other options. Certainly cuts have to be made and there may very well be little fat left to be trimmed.

But the savings on the music school closure were, by council standards, very small indeed and can be found elsewhere.

I may be biased but of all the arts I think music is the most valuable to people’s wellbeing and these days that is a very important factor.

While artists perhaps benefit equally from actually creating art, the impact the various types have on the public is quite different.

A song has the ability to remind you of happier times, help you get through the sad times and often reassure you that what you are feeling others have been through too.

Music is also, as I know all too well, easily available.

Yes I am aware that art has different purposes but, as I say, in these times when mental health is quite rightfully so high on the agenda and the wellbeing of people has a real financial value, I just think music can play a very important part in improving people’s lives. And so back to what is basically just a bloody daft idea – hopefully all those involved with the City of Edinburgh Music School can soon get back to normal and stop worrying about a closure that just makes no sense at all. Somebody should write a song about it!