by Author Carol Reid

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Exchanging Notes projects announced

Ten pioneering ‘Exchanging Notes’ projects have been awarded grants to explore new collaborative approaches to music education in schools for young people at risk.

The National Foundation for Youth Music today announced grants totalling £1,195,308 to support 10 Exchanging Notes projects across England.

Download the list of organisations awarded grants. (right click and 'save target as' to save to your computer)

Each project (a partnership between a school and specialist music provider) will work with young people at risk of low attainment, disengagement or educational exclusion to see how participation in regular music-making activities can enable achievement of musical, educational and wider outcomes. Over a four year period, Birmingham City University will be undertaking a longitudinal evaluation of the work and supporting the projects using an action research approach.

Youth Music’s Executive Director Matt Griffiths says:  “In designing the Exchanging Notes programme, we encouraged schools, music organisations and local music education hubs to work together. The range of applications we received has shown us how vibrant our music education system can be with, in many cases, very creative ideas for partnership working. We look forward to the outcome of this action research project with great excitement as it is the first time such a rigorous study of combined approaches between schools and music providers, who normally work in out-of-school settings, has been done. The results may well turn out to be of enormous significance to music education sector to stimulate fresh thinking in music education and support the aspirations set out in the National Plan for Music Education”.

The 10 projects comprise a wide range of proposals that are ambitious and innovative in their approach, working with a variety of different musical approaches and styles – incorporating music technology, learning an instrument, singing, group percussion, song-writing, music mentoring, production and performance.  All projects have a strong youth-led ethos and offer opportunities for young people to take on a variety of leadership roles, with the approach to teaching and learning influenced by Youth Music’s Quality Framework.

Projects benefiting from funding include Leeds based charity, Opera North working in Winifred Holtby Academy in Hull, Kinetika Bloco working in St Gabriel’s College, Lambeth, London, and Derbyshire Music Education Hub, which will work across the Virtual Schools Network in Derbyshire.

Derbyshire Music Education Hub, in partnership with Derbyshire ‘Virtual School’ and delivery partner organisation Baby People, has been awarded a grant of £120,000 to bring care and education professionals together with specialist music providers to support children in care. The programme will use music education to improve social and emotional resilience amongst the young participants from twenty schools across the county and increase their academic achievement.  There will also be a focus group for music leaders, teachers and supporters to share learning and a toolkit with case studies, practice notes, impact, evidence and signposts will be produced.

Jayne Briggs, School Improvement Adviser, Derbyshire Music Education Hub says: “We are delighted that Youth Music is providing this opportunity for us to work with our Virtual School in an action research study, using music-making to engage and motivate young people in challenging circumstances. Narrowing the gap between the attainment of children in care and all young people is a high priority for Derbyshire. Our approach will be for our delivery partners, Baby People, to use music to harness the interests and personal passion of the young people to help drive their learning and show improvements in their attainment across the curriculum.”

Competition for funding for Exchanging Notes was particularly high, with only 20% of applicants awarded funding (against an average figure of 33% across Youth Music’s funding programme overall).  Matt Griffiths says “Choosing the final 10 was a difficult task and we would like to thank all of those organisations that put time and effort into making their Exchanging Notes applications. We were amazed at the appetite for the work and at the range and scale of the partnerships that had been developed for the proposals. Although we were limited by the number of projects we could fund on this occasion, we received a high number of quality applications and would encourage unsuccessful applicants to see how they could build on their ideas through Youth Music or other funding”.

Delivery of Exchanging Notes will commence in September 2014.  For further information, contact Youth Music’s Programme Manager Carol Reid.