THE withdrawal of council funding could be the nail in the coffin for music tuition in Clackmannanshire, it has been argued.

Part of the proposed budget savings options at the Wee County local authority, academic sessions covering a wide variety of instruments and theory could be reduced to within statutory requirements for a saving worth £196,000.

The topic was the subject of debates at recent budget public consultation meetings, where it was met with opposition from residents.

Hillfoots Music for Youth (HMFY), which has given thousands of youths the opportunity to develop skills their chosen instrument over the past 22 years, is "vehemently" opposed to any cutbacks.

Most importantly, those who are looking to do highers or advanced highers in music need to learn at least two instruments, albeit one could be their very own voice.

Caroline Wilson, secretary for the HMFY Parents Committee, is calling on council chiefs not the take "retrograde steps".

She said: "If this proposal were to go ahead it would have far reaching repercussions, with regard to music as a vital part of our children's education and learning, not only for current students ranging from Primary 2 up to advanced higher level, but for the generations to come."

Caroline was keen to point out Alva Academy has some of the highest levels of pupils passing music at higher or advanced higher level in Scotland, adding that "this level of excellence would undoubtedly not be possible without the dedication of the music staff within our schools, and in particular the tutors deliver the music tuition scheme".

At the public meeting held at the Bowmar Centre in Alloa, chief education officer Anne Pearson explained there is simply no money to keep discretionary services and schemes going, and that the council will have to revert to providing only what is prescribed by law.

She also explained what is being cut is the pot of money for tutors and that music would still be taught in primary by class teachers, though they are not specialists on the subject.

Caroline is calling on council chiefs and elected members to continue to applaud the achievements and opportunities available to the local youth, instead of "proposing to take a retrograde step in denying our students the fundamental right to a full and wide-ranging education".

And while Mrs Pearson pointed out she does not have to provide music tuition, Caroline countered: "We would submit that she has a moral obligation to provide the broadest and complete education that all children in Clackmannanshire deserve and demand."

She concluded by saying: "A withdrawal of music tuition would sign the death knell of music in Clackmannanshire. The Wee County will be the first in Scotland to fall silent."