Posted by Theo Foulds
Extra funding is being made available by the government to support music education.
Some £18 million is to be provided, bringing the total invested by the government in music education to around £390 million since 2012.
Part of the investment will be made in national music hubs, which were established in 2012 under the National Plan for Music Education. These hubs gave almost half a million youngsters the opportunity to learn an instrument during their first year of operation.
The extra funding will enable music hubs to purchase tens of thousands more instruments and means thousands more disadvantaged children will have access to music lessons.
Education minister Nick Gibb said: "Music hubs have made a very encouraging start - and now we want to build on that. That is why we are increasing funding by £18 million. No children should miss out on the inspiration and excitement that music can bring to their lives."
Mr Gibb added that music has been reformed to reflect pupils' experiences and make it more aspirational.
Designed to ensure all pupils receive a high-quality music education, music hubs offer whole class free instrumental tuition and the opportunity to perform in orchestras and ensembles.
Data released by the Arts Council England reveals nearly 80,000 disadvantaged pupils and more than 30,000 pupils with special educational needs took part in instrumental ensembles and choirs in the 2012 to 2013 academic year.
One of the primary objectives of music hubs is to give every child between the ages of five and 18 the opportunity to play a musical instrument for at least a term.
They are also helping to ensure pupils' backgrounds do not prevent them from learning music by subsidising instrument hire for those on low incomes. In Brighton, for example, instruments can be hired for £37 a term, but families on low incomes are able to hire them for free.
Darren Henley, managing director of Classic FM, who developed the National Plan for Music Education, welcomed the news. "Music can have a huge impact on a child’s life, nurturing creative thinking and opening them up to new experiences," he said.