Students band together to protest over funding axe at Gwent Music Support Service

PROTEST: Lloyd Pearce and Ben Teague

PROTEST: Lloyd Pearce and Ben Teague

First published in Gwent news South Wales Argus: Photograph of the Author by

A TEAM of students and former students of the Gwent Music Support Service have come together to oppose a proposal by Newport council to axe its funding to the group.

The committee of five is organising a protest concert outside Newport council of students and others outside the civic centre on Wednesday.

At least 1,822 people have now signed a petition against proposals by Newport council to drop its £292,000 funding for the nationally-respected Gwent Music Support Service.

The council, which is currently consulting on proposals for the 2013/14 draft budget, has said that it has to concentrate on frontline education.

GMSS student Ben Teague, secretary of the committee who also set up the anti-cuts petition, said the organisation not only helps people build up their musical skills but gives them life skills as well.

Mr Teague, 20, of Maindee, Newport, said: "People may say its a non essential service but for people that are affected by it, it is an essential service.

"GMSS has provided so many top musicians, it needs to continue. It brings so much culture not only to the city but Wales as well."

He said he could have to consider dropping his own clarinet tuition if charges rose as a result of the move, and said many students would likely have to give up lessons.

The committee hopes the council would reconsider and see how much GMSS is worth, he said, considering to to continue to contribute to the body.

A number of students and others will take part in a protest against the move outside Newport Civic Centre at around 12.20pm on Wednesday.

The petition can be found at http://chn.ge/UWKosC, while the committee's facebook group is at http://on.fb.me/TuIIHI.

For more information on Newport council's budget consultation visit: http://www.newport.gov.uk/budget

Comments (12)

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6:40pm Sun 30 Dec 12

and bee says...

Having seen various children benefit from GMSS. It would certainly be cruel cut to make.

So often today young people are told to find something to do and this is great chance for them to learn an instument that will give them many hours of pleasure, even if they do not go on to become a professional musician, in the future.

Councillors need to find different ways of looking at things and not just going for cuts as the instant reaction.
Having seen various children benefit from GMSS. It would certainly be cruel cut to make. So often today young people are told to find something to do and this is great chance for them to learn an instument that will give them many hours of pleasure, even if they do not go on to become a professional musician, in the future. Councillors need to find different ways of looking at things and not just going for cuts as the instant reaction. and bee
  • Score: 0

9:24am Mon 31 Dec 12

areyour4real says...

No point doing a protest concert on Wednesday, none of the councillors or the officers will be back from the New Year break till next week.

It's a nice idea though, I might pop up there if it isn't raining.

If they are doing requests I would like an orchestral version of something by Rage Against The Machine please.
No point doing a protest concert on Wednesday, none of the councillors or the officers will be back from the New Year break till next week. It's a nice idea though, I might pop up there if it isn't raining. If they are doing requests I would like an orchestral version of something by Rage Against The Machine please. areyour4real
  • Score: 0

10:51am Mon 31 Dec 12

sarahjackson says...

Why is a 20 year old man receiving clarinet lessons paid for by the tax payer? I totally appreciate the benefits of providing music lessons and performing opportunities to children but if they are continuing to receive lessons free-of-charge once they become adults it's only right that somebody have a long, hard look at the amount of funding being received by GMSS.
Why is a 20 year old man receiving clarinet lessons paid for by the tax payer? I totally appreciate the benefits of providing music lessons and performing opportunities to children but if they are continuing to receive lessons free-of-charge once they become adults it's only right that somebody have a long, hard look at the amount of funding being received by GMSS. sarahjackson
  • Score: 0

1:46pm Mon 31 Dec 12

Mister_Man says...

sarahjackson wrote:
Why is a 20 year old man receiving clarinet lessons paid for by the tax payer? I totally appreciate the benefits of providing music lessons and performing opportunities to children but if they are continuing to receive lessons free-of-charge once they become adults it's only right that somebody have a long, hard look at the amount of funding being received by GMSS.
Sarah - it should be noted that the 20-year old man is not receiving clarinet lessons at the taxpayer's expense; people can pay for lessons out of their own pocket, as is the case here. The point being made is that if the cuts result in GMSS charging more for lessons, those people paying privately may be priced out of receiving this valuable service.
[quote][p][bold]sarahjackson[/bold] wrote: Why is a 20 year old man receiving clarinet lessons paid for by the tax payer? I totally appreciate the benefits of providing music lessons and performing opportunities to children but if they are continuing to receive lessons free-of-charge once they become adults it's only right that somebody have a long, hard look at the amount of funding being received by GMSS.[/p][/quote]Sarah - it should be noted that the 20-year old man is not receiving clarinet lessons at the taxpayer's expense; people can pay for lessons out of their own pocket, as is the case here. The point being made is that if the cuts result in GMSS charging more for lessons, those people paying privately may be priced out of receiving this valuable service. Mister_Man
  • Score: 0

1:50pm Mon 31 Dec 12

sarahjackson says...

Mister_Man wrote:
sarahjackson wrote:
Why is a 20 year old man receiving clarinet lessons paid for by the tax payer? I totally appreciate the benefits of providing music lessons and performing opportunities to children but if they are continuing to receive lessons free-of-charge once they become adults it's only right that somebody have a long, hard look at the amount of funding being received by GMSS.
Sarah - it should be noted that the 20-year old man is not receiving clarinet lessons at the taxpayer's expense; people can pay for lessons out of their own pocket, as is the case here. The point being made is that if the cuts result in GMSS charging more for lessons, those people paying privately may be priced out of receiving this valuable service.
You have contradicted yourself there. If the lessons are being subsidised by GMSS then the lessons are partly being paid for by the tax payer. I am entirely in support of GMSS and the excellent work it does with youngsters in our counties but revelations such as adults receiving musical benefits at the tax payers' expense will only serve as fuel for those who are in favour of the cuts.
[quote][p][bold]Mister_Man[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]sarahjackson[/bold] wrote: Why is a 20 year old man receiving clarinet lessons paid for by the tax payer? I totally appreciate the benefits of providing music lessons and performing opportunities to children but if they are continuing to receive lessons free-of-charge once they become adults it's only right that somebody have a long, hard look at the amount of funding being received by GMSS.[/p][/quote]Sarah - it should be noted that the 20-year old man is not receiving clarinet lessons at the taxpayer's expense; people can pay for lessons out of their own pocket, as is the case here. The point being made is that if the cuts result in GMSS charging more for lessons, those people paying privately may be priced out of receiving this valuable service.[/p][/quote]You have contradicted yourself there. If the lessons are being subsidised by GMSS then the lessons are partly being paid for by the tax payer. I am entirely in support of GMSS and the excellent work it does with youngsters in our counties but revelations such as adults receiving musical benefits at the tax payers' expense will only serve as fuel for those who are in favour of the cuts. sarahjackson
  • Score: 0

2:11pm Mon 31 Dec 12

Desmond Tutu says...

There is no magic money tree, why do some people have difficulty in accepting this, cuts have to be made. Instead of the futile gesture of a protest concert their efforts would be better spent trying to get sponsorship from a local buisness and be proactive. I'm not diminishing what this group does but I don't doubt that there are far more worthy schemes that have to secure funding........good luck.
There is no magic money tree, why do some people have difficulty in accepting this, cuts have to be made. Instead of the futile gesture of a protest concert their efforts would be better spent trying to get sponsorship from a local buisness and be proactive. I'm not diminishing what this group does but I don't doubt that there are far more worthy schemes that have to secure funding........good luck. Desmond Tutu
  • Score: 0

2:11pm Mon 31 Dec 12

and bee says...

sarahjackson wrote:
Mister_Man wrote:
sarahjackson wrote:
Why is a 20 year old man receiving clarinet lessons paid for by the tax payer? I totally appreciate the benefits of providing music lessons and performing opportunities to children but if they are continuing to receive lessons free-of-charge once they become adults it's only right that somebody have a long, hard look at the amount of funding being received by GMSS.
Sarah - it should be noted that the 20-year old man is not receiving clarinet lessons at the taxpayer's expense; people can pay for lessons out of their own pocket, as is the case here. The point being made is that if the cuts result in GMSS charging more for lessons, those people paying privately may be priced out of receiving this valuable service.
You have contradicted yourself there. If the lessons are being subsidised by GMSS then the lessons are partly being paid for by the tax payer. I am entirely in support of GMSS and the excellent work it does with youngsters in our counties but revelations such as adults receiving musical benefits at the tax payers' expense will only serve as fuel for those who are in favour of the cuts.
Clarification on the issue here is required.

Children in education including 6th Form pay a fee which is subsidised. Once they leave education if they still wish to have tuition then they have to pay for it.

They can continue to play in GMS various groups until they are in their early 20's at which time they have to leave.

We need to remember that many parents would not be able to afford the full fees particually if they have 2 children.

Newport need to think long and hard before they cut out our children from this amazing experience.
[quote][p][bold]sarahjackson[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Mister_Man[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]sarahjackson[/bold] wrote: Why is a 20 year old man receiving clarinet lessons paid for by the tax payer? I totally appreciate the benefits of providing music lessons and performing opportunities to children but if they are continuing to receive lessons free-of-charge once they become adults it's only right that somebody have a long, hard look at the amount of funding being received by GMSS.[/p][/quote]Sarah - it should be noted that the 20-year old man is not receiving clarinet lessons at the taxpayer's expense; people can pay for lessons out of their own pocket, as is the case here. The point being made is that if the cuts result in GMSS charging more for lessons, those people paying privately may be priced out of receiving this valuable service.[/p][/quote]You have contradicted yourself there. If the lessons are being subsidised by GMSS then the lessons are partly being paid for by the tax payer. I am entirely in support of GMSS and the excellent work it does with youngsters in our counties but revelations such as adults receiving musical benefits at the tax payers' expense will only serve as fuel for those who are in favour of the cuts.[/p][/quote]Clarification on the issue here is required. Children in education including 6th Form pay a fee which is subsidised. Once they leave education if they still wish to have tuition then they have to pay for it. They can continue to play in GMS various groups until they are in their early 20's at which time they have to leave. We need to remember that many parents would not be able to afford the full fees particually if they have 2 children. Newport need to think long and hard before they cut out our children from this amazing experience. and bee
  • Score: 0

2:28pm Mon 31 Dec 12

Mister_Man says...

sarahjackson wrote:
Mister_Man wrote:
sarahjackson wrote:
Why is a 20 year old man receiving clarinet lessons paid for by the tax payer? I totally appreciate the benefits of providing music lessons and performing opportunities to children but if they are continuing to receive lessons free-of-charge once they become adults it's only right that somebody have a long, hard look at the amount of funding being received by GMSS.
Sarah - it should be noted that the 20-year old man is not receiving clarinet lessons at the taxpayer's expense; people can pay for lessons out of their own pocket, as is the case here. The point being made is that if the cuts result in GMSS charging more for lessons, those people paying privately may be priced out of receiving this valuable service.
You have contradicted yourself there. If the lessons are being subsidised by GMSS then the lessons are partly being paid for by the tax payer. I am entirely in support of GMSS and the excellent work it does with youngsters in our counties but revelations such as adults receiving musical benefits at the tax payers' expense will only serve as fuel for those who are in favour of the cuts.
At the risk of being pedantic, I was responding more to your comment that "they are continuing to receive lessons free-of-charge once they become adults” as free tuition is not being provided here. One assumes that the private payments go directly to GMSS who can then use this income to continue to provide and improve the service. If the Council's plan for GMSS to become completely self-financing goes ahead, then it seems likely that the charges could increase possibly resulting in a downward spiral of fewer students/less income/poorer quality service. GMSS has achieved so much in the musical world, it would be a true shame if this occurs – let's hope it does not.
[quote][p][bold]sarahjackson[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Mister_Man[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]sarahjackson[/bold] wrote: Why is a 20 year old man receiving clarinet lessons paid for by the tax payer? I totally appreciate the benefits of providing music lessons and performing opportunities to children but if they are continuing to receive lessons free-of-charge once they become adults it's only right that somebody have a long, hard look at the amount of funding being received by GMSS.[/p][/quote]Sarah - it should be noted that the 20-year old man is not receiving clarinet lessons at the taxpayer's expense; people can pay for lessons out of their own pocket, as is the case here. The point being made is that if the cuts result in GMSS charging more for lessons, those people paying privately may be priced out of receiving this valuable service.[/p][/quote]You have contradicted yourself there. If the lessons are being subsidised by GMSS then the lessons are partly being paid for by the tax payer. I am entirely in support of GMSS and the excellent work it does with youngsters in our counties but revelations such as adults receiving musical benefits at the tax payers' expense will only serve as fuel for those who are in favour of the cuts.[/p][/quote]At the risk of being pedantic, I was responding more to your comment that "they are continuing to receive lessons free-of-charge once they become adults” as free tuition is not being provided here. One assumes that the private payments go directly to GMSS who can then use this income to continue to provide and improve the service. If the Council's plan for GMSS to become completely self-financing goes ahead, then it seems likely that the charges could increase possibly resulting in a downward spiral of fewer students/less income/poorer quality service. GMSS has achieved so much in the musical world, it would be a true shame if this occurs – let's hope it does not. Mister_Man
  • Score: 0

2:47pm Mon 31 Dec 12

drewdan says...

For some reason everyone is looking at this issue from one angle, and there are a lot more angles to look at than that. The big one everyone is looking at is: it costs too much money and cuts need to be made". Has anyone actually thought of what this service actually does to our economy?
Your person joins GMSS, gets an instrument they would not otherwise be able to get due to them being very expensive. Every week they and hundreds of other children get taken by their parents to a rehearsal, they are probably taken in a car, cars need petrol, there are now several hundred parents using local petrol stations more as they require more fuel (good for the local economy). Little Jim wants to take his grade 1 cornet exam, mr teacher tells him he needs to go out and buy some music books, so he does, another benefit, keeping the local music stores alive, local businesses pay business rates, money is fed back into council.
GMSS puts on there Christmas show in Newport Centre, thousands turn up to see it, all traveling, using petrol, maybe getting a taxi, benefiting local business, walk through Newport, probably grab a coffee because Dad made us leave far to early and we have plenty of time.

No GMSS, local music shops go under, no increase in trade during concerts, kids wandering around with nothing to do...I could go on for hours. There is a lot more to GMSS than everyone thinks, but people are not bothered to actually look into the massive benefits it produces. Instead people just demand there tax money goes to emptying their bins 40 times a week and complains about kids causing trouble..!
For some reason everyone is looking at this issue from one angle, and there are a lot more angles to look at than that. The big one everyone is looking at is: it costs too much money and cuts need to be made". Has anyone actually thought of what this service actually does to our economy? Your person joins GMSS, gets an instrument they would not otherwise be able to get due to them being very expensive. Every week they and hundreds of other children get taken by their parents to a rehearsal, they are probably taken in a car, cars need petrol, there are now several hundred parents using local petrol stations more as they require more fuel (good for the local economy). Little Jim wants to take his grade 1 cornet exam, mr teacher tells him he needs to go out and buy some music books, so he does, another benefit, keeping the local music stores alive, local businesses pay business rates, money is fed back into council. GMSS puts on there Christmas show in Newport Centre, thousands turn up to see it, all traveling, using petrol, maybe getting a taxi, benefiting local business, walk through Newport, probably grab a coffee because Dad made us leave far to early and we have plenty of time. No GMSS, local music shops go under, no increase in trade during concerts, kids wandering around with nothing to do...I could go on for hours. There is a lot more to GMSS than everyone thinks, but people are not bothered to actually look into the massive benefits it produces. Instead people just demand there tax money goes to emptying their bins 40 times a week and complains about kids causing trouble..! drewdan
  • Score: 0

5:15pm Mon 31 Dec 12

nolongergullible says...

Now, if it was tuition for golf lessons it would not be an issue. The council has millions of pounds to spend so that a long lasting legacy of excellence may be created for the good of the city and its residents. And that is fact! Or am I mistaken about one or two points?
Now, if it was tuition for golf lessons it would not be an issue. The council has millions of pounds to spend so that a long lasting legacy of excellence may be created for the good of the city and its residents. And that is fact! Or am I mistaken about one or two points? nolongergullible
  • Score: 0

6:54pm Mon 31 Dec 12

Bobevans says...

Mister_Man wrote:
sarahjackson wrote:
Why is a 20 year old man receiving clarinet lessons paid for by the tax payer? I totally appreciate the benefits of providing music lessons and performing opportunities to children but if they are continuing to receive lessons free-of-charge once they become adults it's only right that somebody have a long, hard look at the amount of funding being received by GMSS.
Sarah - it should be noted that the 20-year old man is not receiving clarinet lessons at the taxpayer's expense; people can pay for lessons out of their own pocket, as is the case here. The point being made is that if the cuts result in GMSS charging more for lessons, those people paying privately may be priced out of receiving this valuable service.
You are contridicting yourself. You first say the taxpayers are not subsidising them then you say they are


Almost all these organisations operately very inefficiently and should be able to cut costs considerable and that is what they need to do
[quote][p][bold]Mister_Man[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]sarahjackson[/bold] wrote: Why is a 20 year old man receiving clarinet lessons paid for by the tax payer? I totally appreciate the benefits of providing music lessons and performing opportunities to children but if they are continuing to receive lessons free-of-charge once they become adults it's only right that somebody have a long, hard look at the amount of funding being received by GMSS.[/p][/quote]Sarah - it should be noted that the 20-year old man is not receiving clarinet lessons at the taxpayer's expense; people can pay for lessons out of their own pocket, as is the case here. The point being made is that if the cuts result in GMSS charging more for lessons, those people paying privately may be priced out of receiving this valuable service.[/p][/quote]You are contridicting yourself. You first say the taxpayers are not subsidising them then you say they are Almost all these organisations operately very inefficiently and should be able to cut costs considerable and that is what they need to do Bobevans
  • Score: 0

9:36am Tue 1 Jan 13

Bobevans says...

There is clearly a need for this organisation to operate more cost effectively. THe Newport funding is only a tiny part of its total funding

A lot of its function appears to be providing music lessons to schools. This should be charged out to the schools.

Concerts etc they do should be charge ticket prices to enable them to break even. on the event

Other teaching should also be charged out even if not covering the full costs.

If so many people are keen on this organisation and signing petitions perhaps they should dip into their pockets and say each give £10 a year to this organisation

Somehow I suspect therir support goes no more than signing a petition and it will not extend to donating money
There is clearly a need for this organisation to operate more cost effectively. THe Newport funding is only a tiny part of its total funding A lot of its function appears to be providing music lessons to schools. This should be charged out to the schools. Concerts etc they do should be charge ticket prices to enable them to break even. on the event Other teaching should also be charged out even if not covering the full costs. If so many people are keen on this organisation and signing petitions perhaps they should dip into their pockets and say each give £10 a year to this organisation Somehow I suspect therir support goes no more than signing a petition and it will not extend to donating money Bobevans
  • Score: 0

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