Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Youth Music charity invests £1.2m in new approaches to music in schools


23RD April, 2014






Ten pioneering ‘Exhanging Notes’ projects 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 new partnerships between schools and music education providers who normally work in out-of-school settings.  Investment of up to £120,000 is being made available to music projects delivered by these new partnerships.


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.


The ‘Exchanging Notes’ initiative aims to establish if this collaborative approach brings additional benefits for young people at risk of low attainment, disengagement or educational exclusion. Over a four year period, Birmingham City University will be undertaking a rigorous study of the ten projects to evaluate the educational, musical and other outcomes of these new models of partnerships for the pupils involved. It will also examine how the distinctive educational approaches used in schools and out-of-school settings might be combined to improve young people’s educational outcomes and encourage the exchange of ideas, practice and understanding of effective music teaching techniques between practitioners working in these different settings.


This action research project follows publication of Youth Music’s ‘Communities of Music Education’ pilot study which highlighted some of the key differences in music education experienced outside and inside the classroom. The study noted that the teaching style used in the out-of-school music projects placed an equal focus on personal and social outcomes as well as musical outcomes. The findings also indicated that partnership-working between different settings was a positive and valuable process with practitioners recognising strengths in different methods of delivery.


Derbyshire Music Education Hub, in partnership with Derbyshire ‘Virtual School’ and delivery partner organisation Baby People, was 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. 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.”


Opera North and Winifred Holtby Academy, located on the Bransholme estate north of Hull, have been awarded a grant of £120,000 to work with pupils who suffer socio-economic disadvantage and face low attainment.  Opera North's approach will use the voice as a way into musical learning, with a focus on classical music styles although folk, gospel, jazz and popular genres will also be included.


Kinetika Bloco, in partnership with Sound Connections and Lambeth Music Education Hub, was awarded a grant of £120,000 to work with Saint Gabriel’s College in Lambeth, London to deliver a programme of music and leadership opportunities. Participants will receive tuition on percussion, steel pan, woodwind and brass instruments and over 600 young people will be involved. The aim of the project is to develop a Bloco in-school model which joins up formal and non-formal music-making to empower young people through activities that develop their creative life skills and transform their educational attainment.


Matt Griffith 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 stimulate fresh thinking in music education and support the aspirations set out in the National Plan for Music Education.”



Further details about the grants awarded under the  ‘Exchanging Notes’ programme can be found at


 PIC ATTACHEDCaption:  Kinetika Bloco musicians lead TeamGB in the Greatest Team Parade, London 2012 Olympics





·         Youth Music believes that music-making is life-changing and the charity wants the opportunity for music-making to be available to all children.   Every year, Youth Music provides more than 90,000 young people with the chance to take part in a local music project. 


·         Many of these children and young people face challenges in their lives including coping with disability, homelessness or living in care.  Others simply need help to develop their full musical talent and potential.


·         In addition to developing musical skills, Youth Music projects help young people to develop their creative and social skills, make positive contributions to their community and live happy, successful lives. Youth Music projects work across all music genres.


·         Youth Music currently supports over 400 music projects around the country.


·         The charity knows that many more young people still need its help and continues to fundraise to realise its mission to ensure that all children and young people have access to life-changing music-making opportunities.


·         Find out more about the work of Youth Music by visiting


For enquiries about Youth Music please contact:


David O’Keeffe,

Media and PR Consultant,

Youth Music



T:   0207 902 1096

M:  07977 067576.


For the projects mentioned please contact:

1.Kinetika Bloco:


Tamzyn French

Bloco Manager

Kinetika Bloco


T: 07795142535 


2. Derbyshire Music Education Hub

Jayne Briggs

School Improvement Adviser

with responsibility for the

Derby & Derbyshire Music Partnership  -  Leading the Music Education Hub for Derbyshire

T: 01629 532871


3. Opera North

Rebecca Walsh,

Education Director

Opera North

Tel:  0113 243 9999




David O’Keeffe
Media and PR Consultant
National Foundation for Youth Music

T 020 7902 1096

M :07977 067576

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