Guidance for Young People on Finding and Choosing Opportunities to Make Music

  • by Anonymous (not verified)

    Wednesday, 16 September, 2015 - 16:02

Finding opportunities to make or learn music can often be difficult for young people, and sometimes choosing which opportunities to go for can be equally difficult.

The visual below offers guidance for young people about some of the things they should consider, or do, or look for when they’re trying to work out how to find and choose opportunities for music-making -- building on their achievements to date, on what’s realistically available, in a direction that makes sense for them.

We've produced this guidance for five different groups of people who have a role in supporting young people's music making: for young people; for their parents and families; for schools; for music organisations; and for music teachers and music leaders. Click on the pink dots for more information.

Waypointwaypoint/nurturing-individual-journeys-2Nurturing individual journeys486.0463.3""#0000002
Waypointwaypoint/nurturing-individual-journeys-2Nurturing individual journeys486.0463.3""#0000002
Waypointwaypoint/inspiration-2Inspiration625.0156.1""#0000002
Waypointwaypoint/inspiration-2Inspiration625.0156.1""#0000002
Waypointwaypoint/identifying-personal-goals-1Identifying personal goals500.0393.1""#0000002
Waypointwaypoint/identifying-personal-goals-1Identifying personal goals500.0393.1""#0000002
Waypointwaypoint/sustaining-motivation-and-commitment-1Sustaining motivation and commitment574.0227.7""#0000002
Waypointwaypoint/sustaining-motivation-and-commitment-1Sustaining motivation and commitment574.0227.7""#0000002
Waypointwaypoint/guiding-journeys-and-managing-transitions-1Guiding journeys and managing transitions528.0303.2""#0000002
Waypointwaypoint/guiding-journeys-and-managing-transitions-1Guiding journeys and managing transitions528.0303.2""#0000002
Waypointwaypoint/making-informed-choices-2Making informed choices309.0376.1""#0000002
Waypointwaypoint/making-informed-choices-2Making informed choices309.0376.1""#0000002
Waypointwaypoint/exploring-discovering-and-making-mistakes-2Exploring, discovering and making mistakes356.0371.7""#0000002
Waypointwaypoint/exploring-discovering-and-making-mistakes-2Exploring, discovering and making mistakes356.0371.7""#0000002
Waypointwaypoint/progressive-focussed-development-1Progressive, focussed development396.0362.4""#0000002
Waypointwaypoint/progressive-focussed-development-1Progressive, focussed development396.0362.4""#0000002
Waypointwaypoint/experiencing-diversity-and-excellence-1Experiencing diversity and excellence34.0265.4""#0000002
Waypointwaypoint/experiencing-diversity-and-excellence-1Experiencing diversity and excellence34.0265.4""#0000002
Waypointwaypoint/accessing-creative-spaces-1Accessing creative spaces89.0275.8""#0000002
Waypointwaypoint/accessing-creative-spaces-1Accessing creative spaces89.0275.8""#0000002
Waypointwaypoint/performance-and-showcasing-opportunities-2Performance and showcasing opportunities169.0286.4""#0000002
Waypointwaypoint/performance-and-showcasing-opportunities-2Performance and showcasing opportunities169.0286.4""#0000002
Waypointwaypoint/group-and-individual-experiences-2Group and individual experiences235.0301.9""#0000002
Waypointwaypoint/group-and-individual-experiences-2Group and individual experiences235.0301.9""#0000002
Waypointwaypoint/enabling-young-people-support-themselves-and-each-other-3Enabling young people to support themselves and each other634.0326.8""#0000002
Waypointwaypoint/enabling-young-people-support-themselves-and-each-other-3Enabling young people to support themselves and each other634.0326.8""#0000002
Waypointwaypoint/personal-support-3Personal support665.0317.3""#0000002
Waypointwaypoint/personal-support-3Personal support665.0317.3""#0000002
Waypointwaypoint/long-term-sustained-support-3Long-term sustained support690.0302.1""#0000002
Waypointwaypoint/long-term-sustained-support-3Long-term sustained support690.0302.1""#0000002
Waypointwaypoint/making-most-financial-and-other-resources-1Making the most of financial and other resources720.0293.2""#0000002
Waypointwaypoint/making-most-financial-and-other-resources-1Making the most of financial and other resources720.0293.2""#0000002
Waypointwaypoint/support-and-encouragement-friends-and-families-1Support and encouragement from friends and families750.0285.2""#0000002
Waypointwaypoint/support-and-encouragement-friends-and-families-1Support and encouragement from friends and families750.0285.2""#0000002
Waypointwaypoint/embracing-whole-child-development-1Embracing whole-child development824.0279.4""#0000002
Waypointwaypoint/embracing-whole-child-development-1Embracing whole-child development824.0279.4""#0000002
Waypointwaypoint/identifying-strengths-and-weaknesses-2Identifying strengths and weaknesses853.0265.2""#0000002
Waypointwaypoint/identifying-strengths-and-weaknesses-2Identifying strengths and weaknesses853.0265.2""#0000002
Waypointwaypoint/developing-appropriate-skills-and-abilities-1Developing appropriate skills and abilities883.0251.4""#0000002
Waypointwaypoint/developing-appropriate-skills-and-abilities-1Developing appropriate skills and abilities883.0251.4""#0000002
Waypointwaypoint/celebrating-progress-and-achievement-1Celebrating progress and achievement913.0242.9""#0000002
Waypointwaypoint/celebrating-progress-and-achievement-1Celebrating progress and achievement913.0242.9""#0000002

Finding opportunities to make or learn music can often be difficult for young people, and sometimes choosing which opportunities to go for can be equally difficult.

The visual below offers guidance for young people about some of the things they should consider, or do, or look for when they’re trying to work out how to find and choose opportunities for music-making -- building on their achievements to date, on what’s realistically available, in a direction that makes sense for them.

We've produced this guidance for five different groups of people who have a role in supporting young people's music making: for young people; for their parents and families; for schools; for music organisations; and for music teachers and music leaders. Click on the pink dots for more information.

This guidance is based around the ‘ingredients to create an environment for musical progression’ that a wide range of people in and around music education have identified as being some of the key things to consider, if young people are to fulfil their musical potential.


Click here for a text version of this visualisation

Nurturing individual journeys

Your musical journey is unique to you. Your journey’s likely to be most successful and fulfilling if it really works for you, rather than working for other people.

That doesn’t mean, of course, that you’re suddenly the centre of everything, and collaborating with other musicians is likely to be essential. But you’re an individual – not part of a machine. You need to try to find musical opportunities that make sense for you, and people that can help you make those decisions.

When looking for opportunities, ask yourself ‘does this opportunity make sense for me, and have I got the support I need to make the decision about whether to go for it?’

Inspiration

Think back to the very first thing that inspired you to make music. It may have been a teacher, a place, a performance or a performer you watched on the Internet.

It is inspiration that drives a musician and it is the job of a musician to inspire the rest of the world.

  • Look all around for inspiration listen to interviews of your favourite artists and find out what inspired them.
  • Learn from the people around you that do inspire you, try to understand what it was that turned on the light for you, this is the key to inspiring others.

Identifying personal goals

Having a good idea of what you’d like to achieve with music can be really useful:

‘I want to be…’, ‘I want to get really good at…’.

It’s not essential to know where you’re going to end up (it changes for most people anyway) but it’s helpful to have some guiding goals and these can help you to look for and choose musical opportunities.

Role models are often important  influences on people’s personal goals – favourite musicians, artists, composers etc. or perhaps friends, family, teachers etc. Don’t let your role models over-influence you though – remember that you’re an individual, and that everyone’s different. If we all tried to be exactly the same as someone else, we’d be missing out on what’s actually special about ourselves!

Sustaining motivation and commitment

To become a successful musician you will need lots of motivation and persistence. There will be many other competing things in your life that could take you away form music making.

  • You will need to be committed to making music and have a great deal of self-discipline to stick at it.
  • Keep reminding yourself of your achievements and the benefits of music making.
  • Talk to your family and friends about how important music making is.
  • Keep talking to other musicians and sharing ideas and stories…
  • Always look for new opportunities and possibilities to keep your creative self-fresh and enthusiastic about what you’re doing.

Guiding journeys and managing transitions

There will be times during your journey that it is right to move on to a different organisation, teacher or situation. This could be for many reasons but it is important that when it does happen it happens smoothly.

  • It is not always your responsibility to spot these times of transition and you should trust your teacher, mentor, worker, music leader when they advise you to move on.
  • Never fear asking for advice or guidance during times of transition.
  • If you feel ‘stuck’ or frustrated with the place you’re in then talk to someone about it. Maybe a family member can help you identify which direction you need to move in.

Making informed choices

Sometimes, when you have to make choices about musical opportunities (should I do this, or should I do that?) it’s easiest to go for the one that you know most about – the safest option.

So before you make choices about musical opportunities and experiences, try to get a sense of what those choices involve, what they will be like, and what you might get out of them. You might end up going for the one you knew most about but at least you’d have made an informed decision.

Exploring, discovering and making mistakes

During your musical journey you will make hundreds of decisions, some small some large and not all of these decisions will be right for you.

Making mistakes is an important part of learning and you should never feel that you can’t take risks through fear of making mistakes.

If you work with around supportive people you will feel more confident to explore and discover your own lessons.

All of the greatest musicians have made mistakes…they wouldn’t be where they are without them!

Progressive, focussed development

Becoming a ‘better’musician is not just about doing more music. You need to identify specific skills that you need to improve and find supported ways to achieve the improvement.

Your development doesn’t always have to be ‘goal’ based; sometimes development comes from being exploratory.

Experiencing diversity and excellence

One of the things that music educators and professional musicians almost always say is particularly important is getting a broad variety of experiences.

Did you know, for instance, that only about 10% of the people in musical careers are performers on stage? There are technicians, agents, school and instrumental teachers, workshop leaders, composers, producers, engineers, sound designers...

You may have a good idea about the kind of music you want to play or make, or the kind of music you like, but it’s really important sometimes to stray beyond your comfort zone and try something new.

For example, there are loads of different ways of learning about music – working it out yourself, getting individual or small group lessons, working with a friend, going to workshops, going to performances, listening to a wide range of music, finding a buddy or mentor etc.

Obviously you can’t look for something if you don’t know it exists so check out interviews with musicians to find out what made a difference in their musical journey, or ask friends how they get better at music, or ask your teachers at school.

So when you’re looking for musical opportunities, think carefully about what you’re looking for – is it just what you already know exists? Take some risks, try something new, and keep an open mind.

Accessing creative spaces

Music making is at it’s richest when it happens in a safe and supported environment. Usually in these types of places there is access to equipment and help on hand should you need it?  Ask locally and at school to find out if there are any such places that you could attend locally.

It isn’t always practical to rehearse or practise at home so ask at school/college if there are spaces available for this.

Performance and showcasing opportunities

It’s important that you get a chance to showcase the musical achievements you’ve worked hard to make. Performing and showcasing, even if it doesn’t go as well as you’d hoped, is a vital learning experience, and it takes practice to get good at it.

So try to find opportunities to perform and showcase your work. This might be on stage, online, in front of friends and family.

Another way of making good use of your musical achievements it to try to find opportunities to support other musicians, maybe younger or older than yourself. Often a group of younger students at school, for example, can be an encouraging audience who’ll look up to you immediately!

Group and individual experiences

 
  • Look for opportunities to play with other musicians as well as on your own. Go to your local library, youth club, and school notice board to find them.
  • Playing and performing with other musicians will build your teamwork skills as well as your listening, composing, improvising and performing skills.
  • Hatch up ways of forming a small group yourself that you can lead. Ask at school/college if there’s a space you can use to rehearse.

Enabling young people to support themselves and each other

Education, learning and development aren’t just about teachers showing you how to do stuff or filling your head with information.

You might want to Try to find opportunities where you can develop your creative ideas and abilities, or where you can learn from and perhaps lead other young musicians.

Personal support

Try to find opportunities where you can get some one-to-one support with your music making. This might be from a friend, or family member, as well as from a professional music teacher of music leader.

Long-term sustained support

Try to look for musical opportunities in places that have been established for a while or with musicians that are part of a wider network of musical activity.

Sometimes tutors and organisations move on or close down and this can sometimes feel that the door has been shut of your musical journey.

It is important to understand that you are the centre of your journey and there will always be help and support elsewhere if you look.

As you develop musically, keep a diary or notebook and write down all of the contacts, musicians and teachers that you meet and all of the organisations and opportunities you come across.

Making the most of financial and other resources

There are a variety of sources of funding to support individual, group and project music-making opportunities. Your school or local authority (council) music service may well be able to help you identify them, or you check out the Youth Music Website for some sources of funding.

It’s also worthwhile looking for support in other, non-financial, ways, like asking a musician friend, or looking on the web, in books in libraries, or in music magazines. Ask your teacher, you may be amazed at the opportunities they open up for you.

Try Googling ‘funding for young musicians’ or ‘financial support for music learning’

Support and encouragement from friends and families

Sometimes it’s hard to share your musical creativity with friends and family, but the chances are they will love what you’re doing and will be very supportive. Friends and family can play an important role in your development and they can act as your first audience for new music or be a sounding board for ideas.

Embracing whole-child development

Being a musician isn’t just about playing notes – to be a successful musician, you often need many other skills, including team work, self-discipline and self-confidence.

So perhaps you could try to find opportunities that you think will do more than just develop your purely musical skills and abilities. For example, putting on events, helping a friend or brother/sister with their music learning, and supporting music making in your community can all be really useful.

Identifying strengths and weaknesses

Sometimes you may be encouraged to follow a journey that is not best suited to you. You may have hidden talents that haven’t been found by you or anyone else yet.

Look at your strengths and compare them to what you are doing musically. Ask yourself questions like; Am I enjoying what I am doing? are there things I know I can do but am not doing?

Trust the specialist people around you that encourage you to do new things. It could be that they’ve spotted a talent in you that you haven’t.

Talk to your family and friends about the musical activities you are doing and ask them to be honest about your strengths and weaknesses

Developing appropriate skills and abilities

You may have set your goals based on the skills you have or you may be learning new skills to reach the goals you want or it may be both of these. You may also be learning new skills that help you reach other people’s goals for example your music leader or teacher. It is really important that you have a balance of all of these things in relative order so you leave the most options open for the future.

  • Think about your goals and write a lost of all the skills needed to reach those goals, then prioritise the list into which skills are the most important to reach the goal. Then compare that to the skills you have and look at which your are more competent at and which need more work.
  • If you are clear in your mind what skills you need for your future then you will be able to recognise peripheral skills that you learn and may be useful in the future.
  • Talk with your music teacher or leader about this and remember that you should always be open-minded and always listen to specialist advice but it is your journey and you are at the centre of it.

Celebrating progress and achievement

You need to be able to understand and assess the progress and achievements you have made.

This will give you confidence to keep doing what you’re doing and make you focus your efforts to the next stage.

  • You need to talk with your teacher, music leader or worker about how they think you’re progressing.
  • Talk with your parents and family/ carers  and ask them how well they think you are doing and what milestones they thing you’ve reached.
  • Spend time on your own assessing where you think you are up to and how much you think you have achieved.
  • Progress and attainment may be recognised by others in the shape of a certificate or a medal but it can also be something that gives you a glowing ‘fulfilled’ feeling inside. Throughout your musical journey it is really important to understand how you are progressing and give your self a pat on the back for achieving it .
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