The number of kids learning to play instruments in East Renfrewshire has fallen following a price increase.

New figures show that, since August 2016, uptake of paid tuition has dropped by 16 per cent.

That followed a sharp rise in fees, which went from £200 per year in 2014 to £300 two years later.

Education chiefs have warned against a further price increase, despite plans to strip £138,000 from the instrumental music scheme by 2021.

Scott McMillan, of Barrhead Burgh Band, admitted he has seen a drop-off in the number of kids playing brass instruments.

He said: “This is concerning. It’s difficult for some families to justify paying £300 a year.

“This is especially the case from a brass band perspective and we’re seeing less and less young people coming through the doors. It’s a shame.”

In February, the council agreed to stall plans to make cuts to the instrumental music scheme.

Those cuts, totalling £138,000, were put back and are expected to be included as part of next year’s budget plans.

Despite that, director of education, Mhairi Shaw, has recommended there should be no price rise next year.

She added: “Charges for instrumental music were maintained at £300 per annum during 2018/19. However, since charges were increased to this level from August 2016, uptake from pupils who are eligible to pay has dropped by around 16 per cent.

“The current charge of £300, or £20 per hour, places East Renfrewshire as the fourth most expensive amongst those local authorities who do charge. Taking this into account and recognising there has been a significant drop in the uptake of the service, it is not recommended any further increase be applied at this stage.”

She did, however, recommend membership of choral groups goes from £65 to £75, while attendance at singing, games and rhymes groups for P2 and P3 pupils could go from £104 to £130 per year.

Earlier this year it was revealed nine East Renfrewshire pupils were playing in the junior section of the National Youth Orchestra of Scotland. There were also six East Renfrewshire players in the senior orchestra and six in the symphony orchestra.