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At the end of our first year of Open School Orchestras (OSO) in Cornwall, we've been thinking about next steps, and how to create progression routes for young SEN/D musicians. We created a short pilot project to explore the idea of inviting mainstream musicians to join the OSO in creative music workshops - integration following on from inclusion work. The short films below show the final performance, and discussion around how to build on the pilot, creating pathways through creative ensembles for those wanting to take their music further, beyond the classroom.

The Open School Orchestra (OSO) programme has been well-thought-out, having been developed by OpenUp Music over many years. There are aspects to this which mean it has sustainability and ongoing development built in from the start. Having worked on some inclusion projects where lots of good work happens, but it fizzles out in the setting after the end of the project, it's worth noting and learning from how the OSO format increases the chances for sustainability.

The film below gives an idea of the impact that the Open School Orchestra project has had in Cornwall. It has been a turning point in raising aspirations for the participants, the schools, and for what young disabled musicians in Cornwall can achieve, by giving their music a platform on Cornwall's biggest stage in front of an audience of almost 1,000.

As we reach the end of the first year of Open School Orchestras in Cornwall, its time for some reflection on the journey so far. The project has seen the first Open School Orchestras (OSO) start in Cornwall for young people with special educational needs or disabilities. The short film below gives some insight into the effect the project has had on one individual - a remarkable musician with autism who has found a voice through music.

After three years of construction, The Carpenter’s Road Lock in The Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park is opening and the Canal and River Trust will be celebrating with the East London Waterways Festival on Monday 28 August (Bank Holiday).   Newham Music is looking to recruit 200 young singers aged 7-18 to work with local Choral Director, Luke Speirsm to rehearse and perform three songs throughout the day-long festival, while also enjoying this celebration of East London culture and heritage. This is an excellent chance for young people to develop their singing skills, to experience a unique performance opportunity at a large-scale event and to make new friends within their local community.   There is no cost to participate and no experience necessary, just the willingness to learn and love for singing! For more information and to register, email by July 31st or go to the Newham Music website.   Have a look at the attached e-flyer for more information.

During a particularly productive Music session the aim was to continue collaborative work on a track which started a couple of weeks before. To get things going at the start we decided what direction to take the loops we had, so divided up the roles into song writing, loop editing and sound finding (from outdoor recordings). Its worth noting that the participants all had little or no experience with recording or production of music, but they all love music in their own way across all sorts of styles.

Doctors and healthcare professionals need to listen to young people and open up to the health and wellbeing benefits that the arts can bring. 
"When I perform as Samantics, I release so much energy that it becomes very cathartic"

To help us learn more about the impact of music making in hospitals on our team of musicians, the healthcare professionals they work with and the children and families they support we commissioned an evaluation from Dr Anneli Haake. Dr Haake carried out a thematic analysis of the reports that the Musicians write up as part of their reflective practice as Musicians in Healthcare.

Oxfordshire County Music Service have been leading 'Musical Pathways', an Early Years music project, in 6 nursery / school / children's centre settings, over two years. Here Early Years specialist teacher Danielle Ballantine-Drake gives a breakdown of the approach taken to ensure that staff in the settings were upskilled and empowered to deliver more music in their own teaching, through a range of targeted CPD approaches.

Laygate Primary School - journey towards Youth Music funding 

  • by Daisi

    Mon 17 Jul 2017

As part of Daisi’s MusicStart project, funded by Youth Music, we produced resources in the form of a series of 18 short film clips:

This piece is written by Sound Connections Programme Manager Julia Roderick