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Musical inclusion

Youth Music is working towards a musically inclusive England, one in which all children and young people get the opportunity to make music. We believe that challenging circumstances faced by young people shouldn't be barriers to music-making, and that everyone should be able to benefit from the personal and social (as well as musical) outcomes that music-making brings.

This is central to our funding programme.

But we know we can't achieve this alone: we want and need to work together to ensure that musical inclusion is at the heart of the music education sector. To understand musical inclusion and what needs to be done, download our publication Creating a musically inclusive England: a call to action for all music educators.

What is musically inclusive practice?

Musically inclusive practice ensures that all children and young people who want to can make music. True inclusivity can only happen in music education if there are opportunities for all children and young people to be supported as musicians across all genres and styles, by practitioners who understand their needs and worldviews and who are equipped to help them on their individual learning journeys.

A musically inclusive project, hub or school therefore:

  • identifies and works to break down any barriers to music-making that young people face
  • puts the voices of children and young people at the heart of work which is relevant to their needs and interests
  • places emphasis on young people’s self-expression and musical creativity
  • supports a diversity of high-quality music-making across a wide range of genres and musical activities
  • actively works to create understanding among all those involved in music education of the different approaches to teaching and learning
  • does all this through all areas of its work: making inclusion a central factor in funding and resource allocation; strategy and planning; programming/curriculum; staffing and professional development.

About the Musical Inclusion programme

Musical Inclusion was a programme funded by Youth Music, running from April 2012 to March 2015.

Youth Music invested in 26 Musical Inclusion projects, tasked with ensuring that all children and young people in their local areas were able to access music-making opportunities, by working in and through the (new at that point) Music Education Hubs.

Sound Sense led the Musical Inclusion Evaluation and Networking team. Read their report on the project, The Power of Equality 2: Final evaluation of Youth Music's Musical Inclusion programme 2012-2015, published in November 2015.

(The team also published an interim report, The Power of Equality, in June 2014.)

Projects carried out music education work with children in challenging circumstances; workforce development to ensure the quality of the provision; and strategic working to ensure  integration of musically inclusive practice in hubs across England.

Musical inclusion resources

  • For a clear introduction to musical inclusion:

Download Creating a musically inclusive England: a call to action for all music educators

Download Documenting and sharing your musical inclusion practice

Download Working with other adults in your session

Download Collecting information from young people

Download A simple guide to developing a more musically inclusive hub

Download What makes for quality in a music education for all children and young people?

Musical Inclusion case studies and reports

  • 'Making it work...' video series from Musinc in Teesside:


 …in a pupil referral unit

in an area of rural isolation

with young offenders

in a diverse community

to raise aspirations and awareness of routes into the music industry

to improve leadership skills and raise confidence in young women

to support children living in a diverse community raise aspirations in challenging circumstances