A Decade with Youth Music – Farewell and thank you!

I leave Bristol Plays Music (BPM) tomorrow after 10 years since joining Colston Hall to take up the post of Director of Music Leader South West. During all those years I have worked on programmes funded by Youth Music (YM) and have been involved in and observed the evolution of both YM, BPM and music education generally

I have had the privilege of working together with individuals and organisations across the UK who’ve positively changed the lives of both children and young people, and the musicians who work with them. We have contributed to building a sector that is able to articulate pedagogy and reflect on practice with confidence. There is a greater understanding of the value of training and developing skills amongst these music leaders who play a crucial role in an inclusive music education.

I have observed in Bristol, a core of music leaders who have displayed similar characteristics when building their careers.

  • They are a first in line to take up CPD, 
  • They grasp opportunities offered
  • They are committed to their work
  • They have a great work ethic
  • They have great communication skills

and

  • They are a pleasure to work with!

As a result they get offered work both in and outside school settings. Further still I have watched as some have developed into mentors and facilitators for their peers having moved full circle.

I was there at the birth of Music Education Hubs (MEC’s) a positive move I feel. It has been gratifying to weave in the learning gained through Music Leader and later Fund C research into longer term projects which are merging into sustainable delivery by MEC’s across the country.

To enable this to happen has taken an immense amount of work and dedication from everyone involved - from planning, through delivery and reflection, sharing learning and partnership working. It has taken creativity, vision and hard work as well as disagreements and frustration!

I‘ve been very fortunate to have been a small part of this music education revolution! I am proud to have worked with such hugely talented people who keep this work going. When I read and hear about the positive impact music has on people through the media I think “Yes, we told you so!”

I’d like to thank all those at YM who supported me through my time at Music Leader. I gained so much by working with people from Land’s End to the North of England including developing a working knowledge of both the road and rail systems across the UK! Closer to home I’d also like to thank everyone who I have worked with on both ‘Sound Splash’ and ‘A New Ambition’ through BPM.

We need our artists and creativity now more than ever. They have a valuable contribution to make in ensuring everyone gets the opportunity to make music, making life better in these times of austerity. I will be looking through the papers and listening to the news to hear how you are changing the world! Carry on the good work everyone!

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