Music4U’s Creativity Project Results now available

Constructive Support for Young Composers - Music4U Publishes the results of ‘The Creativity Project’

Music provision for young people between the age of eleven to eighteen years old in York and the Humber Region is the subject of a report published recently by Music4U. The Creativity Project Report ( has been funded by Youth Music and makes an important contribution to the debate on the issues surrounding young people’s pathways in to composing.

The Creativity Project began as a programme of workshops and short courses, delivered across the York and Humber Region, designed to support young people and those who work with them in creating new music. More than 100 young people aged 11 to 18, in communities where engagement in music is low, were given the opportunity to work with professional musicians and composers to learn the skills and gain the confidence they needed to create their own music.

Nine groups of young people were established. Each group was supported by an experienced music leader, who offered the young people access to a breadth of musical styles, genres and instruments. The young people were invited to compose new music, which responded to the theme of place.

Richard Hallam MBE, Music Education Consultant, says of the report: “Much of the recent focus of the National Plan for Music Education has been on active music making through instrumental and vocal ensemble work, including frequent opportunities for performing. Whilst composing and performing are present in best practice, this is not always the case. This is one of several reasons why this report is so important. It is impossible to make music without someone composing or improvising!

“The Creativity Project has resulted in a rich resource for everyone. There is much good advice on composing and improvising, in and out of school. There are helpful conclusions and strategic and practical recommendations as well as 37 new pieces that can be listened to on-line.

This resource complements the 2013 Listen Imagine Compose report to which readers and listeners are also directed. Finally and most importantly, as every music educator should remember, “creative music making is central to developing a young person’s musical identity.”

Delma Tomlin, Director of the NCEM adds: “Our aim was to bring together young people - living in challenging circumstances, supporting adults - including teachers, youth workers and pastoral staff - and professional composers/creative musicians in practical music-making sessions.  The outcomes have been tremendously varied and inspiring. They have ranged from ukulele players in Goole writing pop songs, young people with special needs in York and Hull improvising and developing new gamelan pieces, special school students in Scunthorpe producing dubstep and electronica music to young bands in Immingham writing rock songs. The young composers have also made music videos and Pupil Support Units and schools across the region have experimented with technology and different instruments. We wanted to build confidence and give freedom to young people to create music in their own time, with groups of friends and in community and youth centres.”

While hands-on musical exploration and development were at its heart, The Creativity Project was also a research project. The musicians leading the practical work were asked to document the experiences, approaches, successes and challenges used and encountered by each group in order to gather information about the ways in which young people approach the composition of new music and how their development as musical creators can be best supported.  The learning collected by the music leaders forms the basis of the report, which is intended as a summary of the project and its findings, as well as a springboard for the development of further work on creativity within the region.

The report is available for download from:

For more information about Music4U’s Creativity research or to share your experience in this area of music provision, please contact Annabel Hanson, Creativity Research Co-ordinator, at

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anita holford's picture

This looks fascinating and a really valuable piece of work, particularly as creative music making and composing does appear to be a gap in the National Plan for Music Education and the Core & Extension Roles required of hubs.

Thanks for sharing it. I'm interested to know how you identified and attracted the young people, and how you defined challenging circumstances for this particular project ... that may well be in the report so I will read it to find out!

I'd also be interested to hear from other Musical Inclusion projects, what percentage of your Musical Inclusion work is about young people creating their own music (at a rough guess)?

What do people think about this as a selling point when you're advocating your musical inclusion work as part of the Hub - ie both that your work is generating music created by young people, and that you have the skills to offer to the Hub in being able to facilitate/lead this?