Sound Sense, the UK professional association for community music, has published an exploration of music education hubs in the quarterly journal of community music, Sounding Board.
The article looks at the opportunities and challenges facing community music organisations in becoming partners with formal music education organisations such as music services. Keys to success are an existing positive relationship and a hub that strategically plans together to play to the different strengths of the partners, the article written by Kevin Stephens finds.
In Gloucestershire, Sound Sense member Forest of Dean Music Makers and the music service have been collaborating for some time, and understand each other’s strengths. "FDMM has a particularly good track record with NEET groups and recently did a very good project with looked after children for instance," says head of Gloucestershire Music Malcolm Pollock.
In Lancashire Peter Moser, artistic director of Sound Sense member More Music, is working with Lancashire music service and has experienced "very positive forward thinking with a sense of wanting to work together. We are lucky that in Lancashire we have a forward-looking service.”
But there are still challenges to overcome, say Sound Sense members in the article. SoundLINCS CEO Nikki-Kate Heyes points to the different values of the formal and non-formal sectors: “We would like to engage with a hub which collectively believes that removing barriers to participation is the starting point.” And Paul Wilson, music director of Wren Music working throughout Devon, says “We have to learn to trust each other.”