The Courier & Advertiser (Perth and Perthshire Edition)

Sistema – plenty opportunit­y already exists


Sir, – While I fully support the idea behind the Sistema project – that of bringing children out of poverty through music education – and applaud the dedication of those who are campaignin­g to bring it here, I feel this project is unnecessar­y in Dundee.

Surely these people are campaignin­g to provide opportunit­ies which already exist abundantly for kids in Dundee?

The council itself very recently agreed to scrap tuition fees for music lessons in the city, removing financial barriers and making it possible for every child who wants to, to learn a musical instrument.

Anyone who attended the recent Caird Hall concerts could also clearly see that the city is already very well served by a talented and dedicated team of musicians who are providing an excellent education to a huge number of children of all ages and background­s; not to mention an establishe­d programme of African drumming in primary schools and the recently launched ASPIRE project, which matches the aspiration­s of Sistema in attempting to make a lasting difference to children’s lives through the arts.

I wonder if the prominent supporters of Sistema Scotland were in the audience at these Caird Hall concerts to witness the huge breadth of talent and opportunit­y on display? If so, they could only conclude, as I have, that they’re striving to bring something to the city which already exists.

This also leads me to conclude that the councillor­s who’ve approved talks about the initiative are forgetful of their own “music for all” policy and ignorant of the efforts of the city’s music service – or ignoring them, to support a popular campaign, supported by high-profile individual­s.

Either way, it’s a kick in the teeth for the quietly hard-working music staff in Dundee’s schools who strive daily to improve the lives of their pupils through music and whose efforts, so recently displayed, seem to have gone sadly unnoticed. J Robertson. Craigieban­k, Dundee.

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