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Over the last ten years, East Midlands-based arts organisation OPUS Music has grown to become one of the leading UK providers of music-making in healthcare settings.

OPUS’s musicians are experts at engaging patients, visitors and hospital staff in music-making. OPUS also runs training programmes and apprenticeships for musicians in healthcare, and has been central in building a national network of professionals working in the field.

OPUS co-founder Nick Cutts spoke to us about how Youth Music funding has helped the organisation to develop, and the impact he’s seen first-hand.

Sound Control is an action research project that NMPAT (Northamptonshire Music and Performing Arts Trust) is running in partnership with the Computing Department at Goldsmiths University of London. The goal of the project is to collaborate with children and young people with special needs and disabilities in designing, developing and building bespoke digital musical instruments personalised for their unique needs.

On Thursday 19th October, we ran our first major Musical Inclusion SEN/D Conference scheduled as part of our current Youth Music Fund B project, “Music Forge”. The conference was designed to showcase the full range of our musical inclusion activities along with SEN/D projects being delivered by some of our Hub Delivery Partners. The target audience consisted of school teachers and music/arts specialists working within special schools and DSP units across Northamptonshire and Rutland (NB: NMPAT is the lead organisation for both the Northamptonshire and Rutland Music Education Hubs). 

FAB! is an annual action-packed day for Looked After Children in Lincolnshire ran by soundLINCS, as part of our FundC Fusion programme. 

For the past five years it has combined a presentation ceremony for children and young people from all over Lincolnshire with a huge diversity of music and arts activities based around a chosen theme. There was also a long service Award Ceremony for Foster Carers as well as a Foster Carers Conference giving them the opportunity to learn and liaise with other carers.

Our experience of using free online music video creation software from Rotor Videos as part of the Concept Music Programme

First Notes is soundLINCS’ exciting music resource app for use in Early Years (EY) settings or by parents and carers at home – especially those without any previous experience of music. It’s packed full of exercises and activities designed to suit all ability levels to help with a child’s development in and outside of music.

Tiny Sparks: Improving pre-school language development through music in two deprived areas of Leicester


Project Summary: February-May 2017:

Musicians Arun Ghosh and Dave ‘Stickman’ Higgins were in residence linked to children’s centres in the east and west pre-school clusters, for 2 days over an 11 week period, working with vulnerable children and their families in each location. They worked with 427 participants in either private nurseries or local authority children’s centres. CPD was an important feature of the project with parents and setting staff working alongside both musicians in each session, plus specific cpd sessions for staff. Culminating in a visit by nearly 50 people to see Whoosh a high quality live music performance as part of the Spark Festival specifically created for 1-4 year olds.  3-4 weeks after the end of the project the musicians returned to see how staff and children were progressing. Each setting was left with a selection of relevant musical instruments and also a film resource which captured ideas, schemes of work and provided suggestions for future activities. This was to ensure participants have the tools to continue and the skills/confidence to use them. 

This post is about Northamptonshire Music Education Hub’s "Inclusive Ensemble" initiative - part of our Fund B “Music Forge” programme – developed in partnership with Friar's Academy (SEN/D school, secondary level) in Wellingborough. It describes how our relationship with the school and the young people has developed over time, and draws some conclusions about what’s made the project work so successfully for all involved over the longer term.

Exploring approaches to facilitating Arts Award through creative work.

Leicester music projects - Urban influences