Music teaching is under serious threat due to austerity budgeting, increased use of charging and under-valuing of the service. Members can play a vital role in defending these services.
Remember that through your Local Association you can get the issue of music provision onto the local negotiating agendas - it is important for IMTs to get involved in their local committees and meetings.
Got 5-15 minutes?
- Email or phone your MSP to raise your concerns – see tips below
- Email or phone your local Councillors to raise your concerns - (or use http://www.writetothem.com)
- Tweet about the issue – tag in @EISUnion / use the hashtag #ChangeTheTune
- Share your concerns on Facebook and ask your friends to share it (check that the privacy of the post is set to public)
- If you’re a parent/carer, email or phone your child’s/children’s school(s) Parent Council(s) Chair(s) and ask them to put music provision on their agenda, and offer to go along if you can
- Write a letter or email to the local Newspaper, highlighting the issues facing IMTs – members can write in a personal capacity or can ask their Local Association to write in a more formal EIS capacity
- Send a letter or email to a national (Scottish) newspaper to highlight your concerns – firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org
- Put up a ‘Change the Tune’ poster in your school (once available)
Got 1-2 hours?
- Visit your local Councillor in person at their surgery and do some face-to- face campaigning
- If feasible, visit your MSP at their surgery and ask them to raise your issues in the Scottish Parliament and with local Councillors
- Set up a local online e-petition – check what your Local Association thinks would be most effective – and publicise this to parents, teachers, partner organisations and pupils
- Find out what events around related issues (child poverty, equality, raising attainment) are coming up in your area and make a plan for getting music onto the agenda
- Attend your local EIS Annual Business Meeting (or similar)
Got a bit more time?
- Arrange a local demonstration, perhaps outside the Council offices or in a civic square or local High Street – think about placards, banners, instruments, chants, etc, and invite the local papers and radio stations
- Arrange a musical ‘flashmob’, perhaps outside the Council offices or in a civic square or local high street, and as above, invite local media
- Develop a postcard campaign targeted at local decision makers, for parents, pupils and teachers to take part in
- Start to gather a bank of social media clips of pupils playing their instrumental, performances and concerts (with relevant consents all obtained) that you can use for campaigning purposes
Keep talking to friends, family and colleagues about the work of IMTs and the issues the service is facing – word of mouth is an important campaigning tool!
Keep sharing research, news and relevant items on music education with your networks
TOP TIPS - Influencing your local MSPs/Councillors
Politicians often say how important it is that campaigners write personal letters to them about local issues. They receive dozens, and often hundreds, of letters & emails each week.
Here are some tips for getting their attention, always bearing in mind your personal and professional standards of conduct when corresponding and in particular maintaining a professional tone when posting online.
- Keep it short - one side for a letter/3-4 paragraphs for an email if possible
- Keep it focused - be specific
- Keep it local - include local examples to back up your points and show how the issue impacts on people within your area/constituency/region
- Suggest an action – be clear about what you want and how they can help
- Above all, make it personal – standard/template letters are much less effective – tell your story, make the issue real to them
- Keep a connection - if you've contacted them before, mention it, and if the result was positive, include that and thank them
- Follow up - if you don't like the reply, follow up asking them to reconsider their position and highlight why you disagree.