Boris Johnson launched The Mayor of London’s Fund for Young Musicians last night in a bid to support the capital's most musically talented kids, especially those from socially disadvantaged backgrounds.
The Fund will provide scholarships which will enable young musicians to get their hands on instruments, tuition, performance opportunities and access to professional musicians through a mentor scheme. The Mayor is keen to emphasise this isn't about hothousing an elite nor giving access to all but a step towards redressing an imbalance in music education:
In independent schools, where cost to parents is a less pressing consideration, 50% of children receive weekly instrumental lessons, mainly on a one to one basis. Despite 80% of children saying they would like to learn an instrument, the equivalent proportion of regular instrumental learners in the state sector is 8.4% and it is safe to assume that amongst socially disadvantaged communities the figures is considerably less.
There is also money to enable partnerships between London’s amazing professional music organisation and local authorities, enhancing music education for thousands of 7-18 year olds with exposure to brilliant pro musicians.
The Fund is an independent registered charity which aims to raise £2m from private sources by March 2012. The Mayor's Education Fund has contributed £250,000. Pledges on launch night exceeded £150,000.
Read some sweet stories of musical kids meeting their heroes at the press launch of the fund yesterday in the Evening Standard.