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Trinity Laban's music Learning & Participation team are working in partnership with Ark Evelyn Grace Academy to research how cultural organisations can work in partnership with schools to support young people to progress in their music making, funded by Youth Music.  We are now at the midway point of our funding and are reflecting on the activity of 2017 to inform activities planned for 2018.

Noise Solution's focus on capturing impact and finding a validated means of measuring well-being has led to funding from the Suffolk Clinical Commissioning Group. This is a huge validation for Noise Solution and a recognition that, when properly evidenced community music can be commissioned as a clinical intervention.

Bristol-based arts organisation OpenUp Music was originally founded in 2007 as the MUSE project, and relaunched under its current name in 2014. With Youth Music’s support, OpenUp has helped to transform accessible music-making for young disabled people nationwide with its groundbreaking ‘Open Orchestras’ programme.

Barry Farrimond, OpenUp’s Chief Executive and Technical Director, spoke to us about how Youth Music has supported the organisation over the years.

A perfect storm is rapidly approaching in music education in England. Read on to see how you can help and gain support.

Earlier this year we were excited to award Wired4Music member Jacob Roberts-Mensah a place on our Generate programme, with a bursary and mentoring support to run his own music project.

Fifty thousand pounds has been awarded to Noise Solution to significantly enhance and evolve its impact capture analysis and use of digital storytelling, placing the organisation at the forefront of impact capture in our sector, UK and indeed worldwide. 

As external evaluators of Fund C, we are delighted to share some initial research findings and observations about what needs to be put in place for partnership-working to be effective and about its role in embedding inclusive music-making strategically and at scale.  

In light of Youth Music's refreshed definition for Coldspots projects, I delved into the evaluation data we've received from Coldspots projects since 2014. I wanted to see what they could tell us about improvements in the confidence of participants of our funded projects, and noticed that there were many more instances reported of girls and young women showing improvements in confidence than boys and young men. I picked out some key points that emerged from my research to explore this further.

'Ready for music' - music therapy for vulnerable children was a Youth Music funded project which ran at Broadwaters Children Centre, The Ladder Children Centre (before closure) and South Haringey nursery. The project ran from January 2016 - January 2017 and was led by music therapist, Claire Hope (www.hopemusictherapy.co.uk). The majority of similar early years music therapy work occurring in the UK is funded by both the children's centres and The Primary Care Trust. In Haringey, however, there is limited NHS funding towards therapeutic intervention in early years and a high level of deprivation.
Weekly group and individual music therapy sessions were offered to vulnerable families, children with complex emotional, social and developmental needs and parents and infants on the 2 -year programme (a government childcare initiative offered to parents on low-income). It was agreed that the project would be flexible, allowing Claire to respond to the needs of the service users. Workshops, presentations and meetings with parents were also an important aspect of the project. 
Group sessions involved familiar songs/nursery rhymes, turn-taking, leading, conducting, musical arrangements (playing an instrument in a particular place in the music), improvising/free play, movement with music, imaginary play, stories with sounds, songs and puppets. These were closely monitored by recordings, written summaries, supervision and questionnaires. Staff commented ,and the music therapist observed, children's increase in confidence, listening, awareness of the musical interaction and an increase in using more words in songs and play, particularly for children with English as a second language.
One little boy, who was selective mute, tentatively began to use his voice to express himself in individual music therapy sessions. Through creative musical play (and the use of kazoos!), his confidence in using his voice to communicate developed and he began to talk in nursery. Due to the flexibility of the project, he was then able to join a music therapy group with his peers, further consolidating on his confidence and achievements.
Music therapy is vital in these contexts, where young children are seeking and needing early play experiences. There continues to be growing need and demand for music therapy and Broadwaters Children Centre is thrilled to receive successful funding for a further 2-year music project beginning imminently, entitled: HOPE music therapy. Music therapy for vulnerable children.'
 

If you are not taking impact capture seriously for the projects you are running then I believe you to be looking down the barrel of a funding gun. It amazes me how many organisations don't collect the simplest of data like attendance or any form of 'story' from their participants. Money is scarce and getting scarcer. Commissioner's and grant givers require evidence that what we do is effective. 

Amber (21) is a volunteer and part of the Youth Music Reprezent training programme, has written from the heart about classism, austerity and how grime music's relation to poorer areas has been to some degree weaponised by journalists to belittle tragic loss.

Following the deaths of two young aspiring musicians from South East London, a minority of journalists chose to use these deaths to provide a context for articles that were arguably written to cause controversy, sell papers or bait for clicks.

Reprezent works with a lot of young people from these areas who are aspiring artists and have been a starting point for several high profile careers (Stormzy, Novelist, Lady Leshurr, Section Boys). Whilst grime music has elements of 'realness', it is questionable for a journalist to use one persons aspirations to succeed as a musician as an indicator that they were more likely to die than someone else.

Anyway, this is Ambers story...