THE frontman of Glasgow band Belle and Sebastian has urged the public to back a petition calling for free music tuition to be safeguarded in Scotland's schools.

Stuart Murdock said Scots were “punching above their weight” in music but said this might not have been the case if music lessons weren’t freely available to all, regardless of background.

A petition has been lodged on highlighting "catastrophic" cuts to music services in schools and charges of up to £524 per child) being introduced and has the backing of teaching union, the EIS.

Stuart Murdoch said: “I think it's fair to say that the Scots punch above their weights when it comes to music.

"We have the reputation for players in all different styles, great orchestras and bands.

"I'm not sure if this would be the situation if so many folk didn't get their start at school - handed a fiddle, a guitar, a trumpet at an early age, and encouraged to play.

"To me, music is as fundamental as sport (and I really like sport!). If we can get behind sport at school, we should really get behind music."

Matt Carmichael, a young jazz player who is studying at the Royal Scottish Conservatoire said:“I am currently studying and working as a jazz musician in Glasgow and can’t imagine what I would be doing if it wasn’t for the exciting letter I received in primary school offering saxophone lessons.

"It really changed my life and I was lucky that my local council had an amazing instrumental service that really encouraged me and that made a huge difference.

"Music is one of the most powerful ways we can express ourselves and it would be a real shame if only those who can afford it are able to do this.”

To sign the petition go to