An Ayr dad is trying to raise £15,000 to make musical instrument tuition free in all of Scotland’s state schools.

Solicitor Ralph Riddiough has started an online campaign to raise legal fees to challenge the lawfulness of tuition fees via a judicial review in the Court of Session.

Musical instrument lessons are now routinely charged for by most local authorities in Scotland. But Ralph, a trombonist and tutor, believes that local authorities are breaking the law by charging for music lessons.

At the time the Advertiser went to print, Ralph’s #changethetune crowd funding campaign had raised over £2,000 towards his £15,000 target.

Ralph, who is involved with the Salvation Army band at the Ayr corps and the Dalmellington Junior Band, said: “I believe that fees have no place in state schools.

“It is not right that an important education service is allowed to fall through the cracks of our public finances. There is now no option but to invoke the judgement of the courts to protect this education service.

“It is time for things to change.

“I believe Scottish councils are breaking the law by charging fees for musical instrument lessons.

“Learning to play a musical instrument at school from specialist tutors has been a distinctive feature of state school education in Scotland for decades. This tuition, coupled with vibrant school bands and school orchestras, has enhanced the education of hundreds of thousands of children, been integral to the delivery of SQA music qualifications, and launched countless professional careers in music. Music as an industry is big business and central to the success of our economy. It is also a defining feature of our culture and our community life.

“The benefits of specialist musical instrument tuition are well known.

“Fees in state schools are wrong. They are divisive. They exclude some children. Children who have access to the specialist tuition in small groups will arrive in fourth year at secondary school with a huge advantage over children who have been priced out.

“SQA music exams assess competence in two musical instruments. This tuition needs to start in primary school. We have known this in Scotland for decades. More than this, there is a strong argument that the fees are unlawful.”

Visit to donate to Ralph’s campaign.