What we fund

  • Developmental music-making projects for children and young people

We fund music-making activity that achieves personal, social and musical outcomes for children and young people in challenging circumstances. We invest in projects working with children and young people who live in England, and are aged up to 25 years. 

  • Strategic work to support the development of the workforce, organisations and the wider sector

We invest in projects that achieve positive outcomes for organisations and the workforce to ensure that high-quality sustained music making opportunities exist for young people.

Want to know more? Read case studies of our funded projects.

Children and young people in challenging circumstances

Our work is focused on supporting children and young people who face barriers to music-making as a result of the circumstances they are in. These circumstances might be:

  • Economic - children and young people whose family income restricts or prevents their participation in music-making, because it is unaffordable or inaccessible.
  • Relating to a life condition - children and young people with a condition which makes their participation in music-making more expensive or complex, such as a disability or sensory impairment.
  • Relating to a life circumstance - children and young people who are living in situations which makes their participation in music-making more expensive or complex, such as looked-after children, young carers or those living in rural isolation.
  • Behavioural - children and young people whose behaviour means they need additional support or specialist services in order to be able to participate in music-making, such as young offenders or young people at risk of exclusion.

Credit: Sound Connections’ Challenging Circumstances Network (2014), supported by Youth Music

This is not intended to be an exhaustive list of challenges that young people can face, and we know that they often experience many challenges at the same time. Youth Music’s Outcomes Framework can help you think about the nature of young people’s challenges and how projects should respond to these.



We expect all organisations supported by Youth Music to:

Deliver high quality music-making projects

In assessing quality, we focus on the quality of the participants’ experience, which will be underpinned by musically inclusive practice. This means that the people and organisations running music-making programmes should:

  • identify and work to break down any barriers to music-making that young people face
  • put the voices of children and young people at the heart of the work, relevant to their needs and interests
  • place emphasis on young people’s self-expression and musical creativity
  • support a diversity of high-quality music-making across a wide range of genres and musical activities
  • actively work to create understanding among staff and volunteers of the different approaches to teaching and learning.

In order to help you create the best possible experience, Youth Music has developed ‘Do, Review, Improve’ – a framework identifying the elements of music-making delivery that contribute to a quality experience for both participants and staff. It’s informed by research on Youth Music funded projects, past and present as well as best practice from across the education and cultural sectors. All Youth Music grantholders are expected to embed the framework in their work. We also encourage all Fund A projects, and expect all Fund B projects, to offer training and professional development activities to their project staff.

Support young people’s progression

We will prioritise projects that can help young people progress musically, personally and socially. Applicants should consider how they can provide a supportive and engaging environment that encourages personal progression journeys regardless of a young person’s chosen musical genre or circumstances, both within the project and beyond.

Where appropriate, all Fund B projects should offer Arts Award (or other suitable accreditation), and we ask Fund A projects to consider this in their plans to support progression.

Share practice

We want to invest in projects that commit to sharing their learning and experiences with others. One easy way to do this is through our online community, the Youth Music Network. Free to join, the Youth Music Network is a space for professionals to access and share a huge range of music education resources. All Youth Music grantholders are expected to sign up to and share their practice on the Youth Music Network. Register here.

Other funders

If the Youth Music grants programme is not suitable for you, then download our guide to other funders.

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