Jam Buddies: equal access to music

The Youth Music Funding for The Turning Tides ' Jam Buddies' Project began in September. Last week  we had the first Jam Buddies session .... so what have we been doing for the last five months?

I'm a keeper of diairies and notebooks . I like to reflect , to track journey's , to be able to tell stories but actually I'm inclined to  share the stories that are about individual access and group facilitation .  This time i've decided I want to make sure that this first phase isn't lost . The planning phase of any project takes time and thoughtful Project Management: The Planning phase of a project that seeks to include people who are often excluded takes enormous amounts of time and  project management.  I firmly believe that the route to equal access is through the cretion of an enabling environment - and that's about so much more than just what happens during the facilitated sessions.    The first Jam Buddies session ran ( a month behind schedule) with nine young people in the room , two more expected this week ( they were off school, unwell) and a further six showing an interest in coming to an additional monthly session we've decided to set up : I'm really pleased with that!

The Barriers included all the usual things: finding the hard to reach; the assumptions of caring , protective adults about what young peeople would be able to do ; transport ; cost ; attitudes about what a music lesson should look like......

It did take time but it didn't feel like any of the barriers were very big and certianly not insurmountable . I'd put that down to a some of these things:

  • The project had a definite planning phase - we'd invested in the time and resource it gets to get this bit right.
  • We'd dedicated skilled , experienced support worker and music facilitator time to meeting parents , teachers and young people ​ indiivudally and in groups.
  • We'd run a previous , very successful project at the local Senior School and through that had very good links and incredibly active and positive support from the school's Leanring Support Team.
  • We were flexible : we're clear about the Outcomes we're aiming to achieve through  Jam Buddies .... there are a million ways of achieving them , so we give some info , then we listen , question, explore and then agree a way forward.  


It all sounds quite obvious but i do think that doing the ground work is absolutely critical and that if that's done well it conveys a sense of who you are and what you're aiming to do , right from the start - and that's priceless.








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The Turning Tides Project's picture

Sorry, forgot to sign my post!     Jane Williams, Director of The Turning Tides Project - and Music Lead for Jam Buddies



CEDAKelly's picture

Jam Buddies is a brilliant project.

The main thing I love about working for Jam Buddies is that we have young people with and without disability lables. It is a safe yet encouraging place to make music!

It has take a while to get off of the ground and has been brilliantly planned by Jane Williams. Jane has also written a book called Music and the Social Model of Disability which is really worth a read: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Music-Social-Model-Occupational-Disabilities/dp/...

I've recently attended CPD with Phil Mullen and Bristol Plays Music. Our chat about Ground Rules really worked in this group with our young people collating a sense of ownership at the group. So far we have revisited these rules and there is much less distraction!

I'm a believer in sharing skills and resources (like Jane). I have involved young people I work with from CEDA and from the OCRA music project.

The South West is very much alive in terms of making music inclusive and accessible. Soundwaves, Wren Music, Daisi, etc.

We will keep you updated with our progess!

Kelly Young

Music Practitioner





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