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Music charity to help schoolchildren

By Sue Austin | Oswestry | Music | Published:

A new charity has been launched to help children in the Oswestry area enjoy music lessons as schools cut budgets for the subject.

Mike Coppock and Sue Turner

Music MOB has just been given its first donation of musical instruments and is planning its launch concert in June.

Its aim is to provide funding for music lessons and hopes to also set up a youth choir.

The project, Music Matters in Oswestry and the Borderland, was the brainchild of town councillor and business owner, Mike Coppock.

Mike, who is a music composer and chorister is also on the committee for the Oswestry Youth Music Festival.

"I started to notice that the proportion of entries in the festival from children in local State Schools was diminishing year on year. Sadly it is widely accepted that art and music departments are much more likely than sports departments to have their importance questioned, and their budgets

limited. However there is much research which points to the fact that whilst sport and music share many benefits, studies suggest that if stronger educational outcomes are your goal, music is the better choice. It should, at the very least, be on an equal footing with sport."

He said that, in years gone by, peripatetic music teachers were a common sight in schools, offering lessons on a variety of instruments.

"Many of us will have had a first experience of learning an instrument and then playing it alongside other people in a band or orchestra in the school environment. Along with choirs in schools, this is another disappearing opportunity."

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Mike and a group of like-minded people say they are determined to provide the funds to make this possible once again in local State Schools.

He said children in Oswestry who had benefited from instrumental or vocal lessons funded by their families had talked about how important music had become in their lives.

But he said lessons could be expensive and, if there were two, three or more children in a family the cost could be prohibitive.

"Music MOB would like to redress this balance and remove the potential financial barrier from a child’s choice to learn an instrument or have singing lessons. Our constitutional aim is to support free instrumental and vocal lessons for children whose families may not have the means to provide them. Although the lessons would take place in school, there will be no cost to schools or families for either the teaching or the instruments."

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Music MOB, a team of committed local music makers and its Board of Trustees includes Sue Turner, organiser of Oswestry Youth Music Festival and a respected peripatetic instrumental and vocal teacher. The Charity hopes the scheme will begin in schools in September 2020.

"There are charities with the same aims in other parts of the country, with growing numbers of children benefitting. The largest of these is in the South East and is supported by the Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation. OFSTED is now looking

more widely for evidence of Arts provision in schools, so we hope that our initiative will be of interest to schools and parents in this area."

The launch concert for the charity will be held on June 20 at the Marches School in Oswestry.

"It will include music from youth choir, the Clef Hangers, rock band, Red Mist, The Orthopaedic Male Voice Choir, Porthywaen Silver Band and, hopefully, the winners from the Youth Music Festival."

An appeal for second hand string or woodwind instruments no longer needed or wanted has also been make by Music MOB.

"We have the capacity to service and/or mend instruments, so people should not worry about the condition."

Sue Austin

By Sue Austin
Chief Reporter

Chief reporter of the Oswestry/Mid Wales office. Keen to hear your news.

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