WHEN I was a child growing up on Mull I had this really natural instinct to want to express myself. Writing a song that might end up on an album or played on the radio is fantastic, but ultimately it’s about that experience of creating something, and that’s the same right from the start.
I was about eight years old when I got my first guitar and I just wanted to make something. I was obsessed with these sounds and wanting to express myself.
It’s so important for children to be able to express themselves. TV and games are stimulating but so is music, and music is also emotive – it makes you feel and it makes you think, so to be able to see children getting music lessons that allow them to do that is really important. It can help bring out your personality.
Some children will obviously have an aptitude and might not come from a particularly wealthy background with a lot of resources, so to have that opportunity to learn shouldn’t have to hit parents in the pocket.
We tend to punch above our weight in Scotland with music, we used to do it with football but we don’t do that any more... Wherever I perform or wherever I’m recording in the world I can’t escape where I’m from because it’s in my name, but it’s a nice thing to be able to talk about. There are so many amazing examples of the impact worldwide that Scottish music has had – and in Europe and America you’re respected when you say you’re a Scottish band. People respond really well to it.
Music is part of our DNA in Scotland and we do it well. So we should make it easy to do things that we’re good at. We’re good at expressing ourselves and all children should have the opportunity to do that.
When it comes to free instrumental tuition, even politicians thought it was a good idea at one time. Why is it suddenly not a good idea? Sport and arts are easy to cut – but you have to be careful with that. I’m not a politician, but instrumental music lessons have a good impact on children. That’s it – full stop.
• Colin MacIntyre is a musician who performs under the name Mull Historical Society.
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Wednesday 22 May 2013
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