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‘Future Music Makers’ – Exploring Beatboxing and Rap in the NPME

29th February 2024

Two school children stood holding microphones with a rapper in front of a group of children sat watching.

Photo credits: Helen White

FUTURE MUSIC MAKERS was a ‘Test and Learn’ project for BACE (Bedford Arts and Cultural Education) taking place during Spring 2023. The project, developed and delivered in partnership with Bedford Music Hub and produced by Glow Training, explored how beatboxing and rap can be used to deliver the new National Plan for Music Education.

In the first in a series of three blogs, Glow Training Sarah Golding talks to Tamsin Lodder, Bedford Music Service Manager about the development of ‘Future Music Makers’.


Can you tell us a bit more about your organisation and your role?

My organisation ‘Music for Bedford Borough’ is the music service that sits within Bedford council. We’re also the lead organisation of the Bedford Music Hub, so with a remit of working with lots of other local music organisations to enhance provision across Bedford.


What are the main priorities for you as Manager of the Music Service heading forward?

Inclusion as a whole is a big drive for us, and we’ve made great steps. I just feel locally with arts and culture and education, demand for music provision coming out of the pandemic has just rocketed.

A big thing for us as part of our inclusion strategy is to forge, find, and develop links with local musicians and we have a particularly strong contingent locally within rap and R&B genres, which our workforce doesn’t represent.

It’s a massive issue across music hubs in the country. We needed someone to be the bridge – to support and find these artists in Bedford and to begin to develop and nurture these people. Because I didn’t know where they were before the project started!

Bedford is massively diverse – 100 different languages are spoken – and really diverse in terms of ethnicity. It’s such a huge thing for us to diversify our workforce and find those local voices. I’m so driven to do this in our local community.


What would you say you were hoping for the outcomes of this project was going to be?

It’s very multi-layered, there’s not just one big outcome, there were many strands of it:

The nurturing of the three Bedford emerging artists and finding a way for us to effectively work with them and to support them in the future was a key factor. They all seem to have a really strong drive to work in education and young people and find a way of using their music and their creativity as a stronger aspect of what they do with younger people.

Similarly, we wanted to work out with young people what they want from rap and beatbox music provision, exploring what sorts of activities might they be interested in pursuing in or out of school.

Five school children are sat on the floor talking, a rapper is crouching down speaking to them.

Photo credits: Helen White

We also wanted to raise awareness with schools as to how inclusive and creative rap and beatboxing can be for young people in schools as part of the curriculum. Trialling teacher CPD, having a package of resources and a pilot project that we can start to deliver once the project was over was important to the project’s legacy.



And have you already begun to look at those legacy aspects beyond this ‘Test and Learn’ phase?

Yes, we’re starting to plan that we’re going to put some projects in place for the summer term, then put an application together for some funding, so that we can develop that further, so we’re not only piloting this project but also have the opportunity to consult further with young people as we develop the activity.


The project also aims to explore how music making can support the notion of transition from primary and secondary school, can you talk a bit about this aspect of the Test and Learn process?

Part of the transition theme was about breaking down barriers between the different musical styles, so that those who play instruments don’t see themselves as different and that they can be incorporated into something a bit wider, more diverse, and inclusive.

So many young people give up their musical interests as they transition from primary to secondary school. We hope that projects like this will mean that young people see taking part in music making as something that gives them a sense of belonging as they transition to secondary school.

Alongside that, there’s another area around transition: it’s about seeing all music-making as an equal path, putting beatboxing and rap on a par with other musical genres and styles.


What needs to change do you think to start to break down the barriers?

I think many music educators develop value judgements based on their personal experience and different styles of music can be perceived as being of higher value. It’s natural to feel challenged because of new and unfamiliar things and also by change.

So we see our role as to support teachers to develop a better understanding of musical genres that they feel less familiar with – particularly the kinds of genres that we know lots of children are listening to at home. We hope that this will help create music departments where all musical genres are welcomed and equally valued.

What we want to happen is that when children transition, if they are into beatboxing or rapping, this is seen as legitimate; that they feel what they’re doing is musically strong, authentic, and respectable.


Is there anything that stands out from the project that you want to remember, to replicate that really works (or that really doesn’t work!)?

Having an artist like Conrad coming in and motivating people I think is, for me, an eye-opener, that I will look to replicate if we do other things. To have someone like Conrad working with our three local artists, to see how his career is going, his trajectory, is so inspiring, if they want to venture into that area.

The most surprising thing to me has been your mentorship and guidance through this process, which has inspired us and given us this confidence, not just in this project, but also in pulling other schools or tutors together so we have a much bigger project moving forward. It’s inspiring us in terms of other things moving forward.

This project has really helped us shape our vision; we had some ideas, but you’ve allowed us to develop concrete plans for our contemporary music provision with a real local focus, and in a way that feels personal and individual to our needs.


Tamsin Lodder is Manager of Bedford Music Service. She has had 30 years’ experience of teaching in schools from KS2 to KS5, leading Music and Creative Arts departments, and teacher training and consultancy.

Sarah Golding is Associate Producer with Glow Training, a learning and development consultancy supporting UK-wide organisations to co-create arts, culture, and heritage activity in partnership with their communities. Contact for more information about this project and how Glow can support beatboxing and rap in your schools.

‘Future Music Makers’ was commissioned by Bedford Arts and Cultural Education (BACE) with funding from Royal Opera House Bridge, produced by Glow Training in partnership with Bedford Music Hub.