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Funding will help Aberdeenshire's young musicians


By Kyle Ritchie

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A philanthropic grant of nearly £230,000 will help create more opportunities for young musicians across Aberdeenshire to access boarding places at St Mary’s Music School – Scotland’s national music school in Edinburgh.

Awarded by the Leverhulme Trust the funds will be used to supplement the School’s existing bursary fund to ensure that gifted young instrumentalists from the region are not held back on financial grounds.

They will also be used to support the expansion of the school’s programmes for all young people with a passion for music, including the popular piano, strings and woodwind summer schools.

St Mary’s Music School is one of nine government funded music and dance Schools in the UK which exist to provide the finest training to gifted young musicians regardless of background or financial circumstances.

It provides academic and music education to children aged nine to 19, and receives support from the Scottish Government through an Aided Places Scheme.

Last year 96 per cent of pupils received some form of financial bursary through the combination of this scheme and the School’s own bursary fund, which is made up of charitable gifts.

Grants from the Leverhulme Trust are awarded to specialist arts training institutions which demonstrate outstanding quality within their field.

Funding will help young musicians across Aberdeenshire to access boarding places at St Mary’s Music School, Scotland’s national music school in Edinburgh.
Funding will help young musicians across Aberdeenshire to access boarding places at St Mary’s Music School, Scotland’s national music school in Edinburgh.

Dr Kenneth Taylor, headteacher at St Mary’s Music School, said: “We have always welcomed young musicians from Aberdeenshire, and this is a wonderful award from the Leverhulme Trust which will open more doors for exceptionally talented pupils to realise their potential.

"Combined with the support we receive from the Scottish Government and from individual donors, over the next four years it will contribute to both our school and outreach programmes, allowing many more to access the world-class education we provide. No young talent should be held back on financial grounds.

“A specialist music education can be a truly life-changing experience, preparing young people with a passion for music to pursue many different career pathways and endowing them with the transferable skills they need to succeed, whether they become a professional musician, work in the creative industries or pursue an alternative career.

“As we recover from the pandemic, the role that music can play in supporting our young people and wider society is becoming widely acknowledged.

"As the headteacher of a specialist music school I see daily how music can create a level playing field for talented young people, regardless of their background or academic abilities.

"That is why grants, such as this from the Leverhulme Trust, which support culture and education are a fantastic endorsement of the school and its activities.”

St Mary’s Music School will be hosting open days online on October 6 and 10 and an on-campus taster day on October 31. For more information visit stmarysmusicschool.co.uk

The school currently supports around 60 young musicians, aged nine to 19, as boarders or day pupils who study all types of instruments from clarsach to trumpet as well as singing and composition and who also follow a rigorous academic curriculum.

Around half of the timetable is dedicated to music and each pupil has one-to-one teaching and an extensive range of performance opportunities.


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