MUSICIANS have held a demonstration in Glasgow’s George Square to protest over cuts to free tuition in schools across the country.

The impromptu orchestra of professional musicians and students played a funeral march to highlight the ongoing battle to stop councils cutting or charging for tuition.

The protest was also held to publicise a Scottish Parliament petition on the issue which has attracted more than 6,500 signatures.

Eleven local authorities across Scotland have increased their music tuition rates in recent times with some families expected to pay more than £500 a year.

East Lothian Council has become the latest to introduce charges with parents now facing annual fees of £280. Glasgow does not charge families.

The increasing fees have promoted campaigners to warn that music tuition in schools will become the preserve of the well off in future.

John Wallace, chairman of the Music Education Partnership Group, who conducted the orchestra, said there would be a significant impact on the whole of Scotland.

“We are here to highlight the fact that Scottish state schools have a world class system.

“There is a great deal of support for the petition from professional musicians because this is the route that we all took and if it slides back any more then we all fear for the future.

“This is something that Scotland currently does very well and we have evidence in schools across the land with pupil orchestras, but if we continue down the path of cuts and charges then they become very difficult to run.”

The Scottish Government has recently agreed to broker talks between campaigners and councils to seek a solution to the issue.