Patrick Doyle Calls for Free Music Lessons to Be Protected in Scotland

Patrick Doyle, the composer for the score of Harry Potter and Goblet of Fire, is criticizing proposals made by Scottish local authorities that would cut into the music budgets of schools. The proposed cuts could affect specialist music classes and instead impose tuition fees on students, pricing many out of the chance to play and follow in Doyle’s footsteps.

Doyle grew up in a musically inclined family, but it wasn’t until he was 12 years old that he first picked up an instrument, taking tuba lessons provided by his school. Swiftly adding the piano and singing to his repertoire, Doyle later accepted a place at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama in Glasgow.

After teaching music for a year at Hillhead High, Doyle entered into the theater and it was in the theater that he first began working with Sir Kenneth Branagh (Gilderoy Lockhart). Doyle’s partnership with Branagh has lasted over 30 years and has led to their collaboration on blockbuster projects such as ThorCinderella, and Murder on the Orient Express. Doyle has also reached critical acclaim, having been nominated to win two Oscars and two Golden Globes.

Doyle credits much of the success he’s achieved throughout his career to the opportunity he had to study music without cost at school and is calling for these lessons to be given protected status from budget cuts.

Playing and competing with the Lanarkshire Youth Orchestra and the Our Lady’s High brass band gave the foundation for everything that I have achieved throughout my life. […] It was a huge thing in my life. It was the musical education I had in Lanarkshire that set me on my road.

Furthermore, despite working with the likes of Dame Judi Dench, Al Pacino, and Robbie Coltrane (Rubeus Hagrid), Doyle singled out his music teachers from school as key influences.

My teacher Edith Ferguson transformed my life. She instilled such confidence in you. Nothing was impossible.

Crucially, Doyle believes not only that safeguarding music lessons is a way to create future musicians and composers but also that music is a powerful tool that can help shape the lives of young people throughout Scotland.

I can only urge the education authorities not to underestimate the power of music tuition. Not only does it add something unique to your general education, [but] it [also] helps to build your confidence.