by Author Hester Cockcroft

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Music-making programme supports children facing tough circumstances to develop their talents

Awards for Young Musicians (AYM), an organisation helping young people from low-income backgrounds to progress musically, has been awarded funding for a new phase of its Furthering Talent programme. Youth Music has invested in Furthering Talent for two more years, enabling AYM to help many more children as well as providing professional development opportunities for music teachers. The new phase sees AYM continuing to partner with local Music Education Hubs in Brighton & Hove, Greater Manchester, and Staffordshire & Stoke on Trent, as well as expanding to two further hub partners in Leicestershire and Nottinghamshire.

Furthering Talent supports young people to shape their own musical journeys, creating individual learning plans and setting progression goals. Each young musician taking part is given weekly instrumental lessons free of charge. Their instrumental teachers are provided with the information, networks and resources to help pupils identify and achieve their ambitions. For example, a child having clarinet lessons may dream of setting up their own jazz collective. Another might want to learn how to compose, record and produce their own track. Another young musician may simply want to build up the confidence needed to play in front of others. A local Furthering Talent co-ordinator then helps the teachers work together with the partner Music Education Hubs in order to make these plans happen.

Additionally, Furthering Talent organises regular get-togethers for children to participate in all kinds of music-making, along with their families and carers. The programme also provides training for teachers to learn about key facets of musical potential so that they can nominate children who would benefit most from taking part. Teachers’ forums provide the space for reflection and sharing practice. In this new phase of the programme AYM will be introducing Practical Progression - a brand new strand of resources and training, created by teachers for teachers. The resources will be published here on the Youth Music Network.