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I’ve been working a lot recently on problems; not challenges; problems. Things that need fixing. Take, for example, the fact that there are a great deal of opportunities for young people to make music and realise their musical potential. On the matrix of music (don’t ask me to draw it, please) they range from the super-formal, to the mega-zany and include lots of examples of stuff that is in more than one place on the continuum at the same time (which is why I don’t want to draw it). One very significant problem is that there is next to nothing for musically-inclined young people (yeah, I know they pretty much all are) who have a special educational need and/or are disabled. Sure, there is some stuff. Some organisations do really good stuff. But, on the grand scheme of things, it’s just stuff. If the funding stops, so does the stuff. 

Every child has the potential to one day lead an orchestra or win an Oscar, but exclusion starts at a young age. A pro-active approach is needed for change to occur.

  • by AdamJ

    Wed 27 Jan 2016 - 2 comments

One of the things I really rate about the wider 'music education' landscape in this country is the that through the kind of projects and organisations funded by Youth Music and the likes; lots of young people from all walks of life have the opportunity to learn about and make the music that they love, on their own terms.
But every now and again I come across forces that would oppose this approach arguing that although young people have tastes in music, they are wrong when it comes to 'real music' because they haven't been enlightened yet.  

A response to Drake Music's 'Top 10' needs for SEN/D music

Exploring the value of authentic young-people centred music provision.

Matt Griffiths said at the Inclusive Excellence Conference at the Fast Forward Festival in July 2015 at Colston Hall:

“Inclusion should be something we don’t just do on a Tuesday afternoon.”

I have been thinking about this a lot and, of course, I agree but I was wondering about what this means in practice.

I feel somewhat vulnerable writing this as what I’m about to explain might make it seem like, before my soon to be explained ‘light bulb’ moment occurred, I was ignorant of what I now so clearly see. But, if the lightbulb has illuminated this new truth to me, then I think that, whilst in the dimness of my ignorance, I was still aware of this thing’s existence, albeit murkily.

It seems that over the last 6 months all I have been doing, whether in conversation, email, or any other form of communication, is try to articulate exactly what it is A New Ambition is and what it aims to achieve. I like to think that, each time I do so, I get a little bit better at it. Lately I have found myself wondering why, in a sector that has an overabundance of skill, knowledge and experience, we seem to keep coming back round to the same old issue of how to explain what a top notch, inclusive music education offer is. Well, I think that we know what it is, we are just crap at explaining it.

We're now three years into the National Plan for Music Education. Here's my thoughts on what needs to happen in the next phase.

The survey results are in, and give some interesting insights into the way hubs work, with respect to community music. But above all it provides some thought-provoking comments that encourage a re-evaluation of what hubs are there to do (what should their purpose be?), how to best achieve those aims, and the reasons why some appear to function better than others. There's also a hope that by having open debate, hubs might be encouraged to share good practice, and that the elements that combine to make an effective hub might become clearer.

What do music hubs look like from the perspective of community music organisations and freelancers? How are the cultural differences between the formal/non-formal music sectors being addressed to encourage collaboration and partnership work? And to what extent have the goals of the National Plan for Music Education been reached - to get music organisations working together to plug the gaps and make sure musical opportunities are open to all?

We're really excited to be delivering our Think2020 work - here's a brief introduction to the 'what, why and who' of this very strategic project.