An opinion written piece by Tyler Edwards, an artist, producer and member of Wired4Music.
As a creative young person, I’ve found it ever more important to have the courage to express my ideas, thoughts and goals. But not everything can be done on our own.
Being given a platform and an opportunity to take responsibility for the things I want to achieve has been vital for my first steps towards being an adult and a professional.
The trust and belief that Wired4Music has had in me to take charge of roles that I would otherwise not have seen myself suitable for because I’m “young” or “might not be ready” has had a profound effect on the way I approach the challenges I’m faced with. The meetings and drop-ins that they hold have helped to foster a great working culture that inspires open collaboration and a way for us to manage projects ourselves, with a helping hand whenever we might need it.
I’ve had the chance to contribute ideas and facilitate events like the Wired4Music Rising Futures symposium at the Roundhouse, which is focused on empowering young people in their own music making. I’ve taken part in the Leadership Programme where we pitch our own music projects to be funded and brought to life and through the rest of my time at Wired4Music, I’ve been given the opportunity to guide workshop discussions and share my opinions with people who have the power to make change in their own organisations.
We’re not asking to be isolated and completely separate from any form of guidance, we just want to know that we can openly discuss and suggest how we are involved with our progress and that we’ll be included in all aspects of our journey.
To me, youth voice is about having a chance to prove to others and most importantly to ourselves that we do have a voice that can make a difference, breaking down the impractical barriers between educators and learners that stop the best work being made.
With these small steps we can work towards the trust and active participation of both teachers and students for true diversity, accessibility and collaboration to flourish in music education.
Tyler’s opinion piece was written for a speech that he co-presented with Sound Connections Programme Manager Jennifer Raven at Music Education Expo 2017. It was part of a panel called “Hear me now: diversity, inclusion and youth voice in national music education policy and practice”, which was chaired by Pete Moser (More Music Morecambe) and also featured Carol Reid (National Foundation for Youth Music), John Kelly and Douglas Noble (Drake Music), Samantha Spence (Ealing Music Service).