Pound notes to hit the right note

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Here’s a top tip for talented young musicians living in rural areas of Scotland, such as the Borders – apply by March 31 to the Agar Trust for a valuable grant.

The Agar Trust, a Strathpeffer-based charity, gives grants of £100 to £1,000 to support young people with their musical education and career development. It helps to overcome the challenges they face living in rural areas, particularly travelling long distances to participate in tuition, courses, performances, rehearsals and auditions.

You must be aged between eight and 21, show proven musical skills and potential, and live in rural Scotland.

Residency is defined by a Scottish Government map, accessible on the trust’s website, and includes much of the Highlands and Islands, Argyll and Bute, Dumfries and Galloway, the Borders, rural Aberdeenshire and Moray.

In 2014, The Agar Trust made awards to 15 musicians aged between 11 and 20.

Sarah Johnson, 17, a trumpeter from Fort William, was helped to attend a part-time course at the Royal Scottish Conservatoire.

“The difficulties of living a distance from Glasgow have prevented me from attending Junior Conservatoire in recent years,” she said. “I believe this course will provide me with a great opportunity to help me bridge the gap between school and higher education study.”

Rachel Spence, 15, from Fortrose, received a travel bursary for viola lessons in Edinburgh and said: “This will be a huge help to me and my family and I know my teacher will be pleased as more frequent lessons may be possible.”

The Agar Trust was set up in 2014 by Dr Janet Macdonald, from the estate of her father, Alan Agar. Janet spent many years supporting rural students and staff when she worked at the Open University, and has first-hand experience of both the privileges and challenges of rural living.

Visit www.agar-trust.org.uk for further information and details of how to apply.

Educational opportunities for young musicians are also advertised on the trust’s Facebook site. Young instrumentalists, singers, and composers from all musical genres are invited to apply.