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Hub applications now open to join AYM Furthering Talent programme

17th October 2019

Applications are now open to become one of five new Hubs joining Awards for Young Musicians (AYM) Furthering Talent programme in 2020. AYM have been developing Furthering Talent since 2009 and it’s currently being delivered in partnership with ten Hubs: Bradford, Brighton & Hove, Manchester City, Greater Manchester, Hull, Leicestershire, The Music Partnership (North West Midlands), Nottinghamshire, Sheffield and Wiltshire. Nationally, the programme has already supported over 450 talented children from low income families.

This is a wonderful opportunity for Hubs to get involved with an innovative programme that has inclusive practice at its heart, develops the workforce’s toolkit and gives individual support to young people who face substantial barriers to their musical progression.

The programme’s main funder is Youth Music who, along with AYM and 12 other Fund C organisations, make up the founder members of the Alliance for a Musically Inclusive England (AMIE)

Furthering Talent’s continued evolution has drawn on findings from the Musical Progressions Roundtable (MPR), hosted by AYM and involving over 300 colleagues and young people working across music education. The MPR identified a series of key principles needed for a successful progression environment which the Furthering Talent model addresses in a range of ways including:

Personalised learning: each young person has an Individual Learning Plan (ILP). Technical goals are taken as a given, so the ILP focuses on musical and personal development, widening musical horizons and identifying diverse progression opportunities. The young person and their instrumental teacher collaborate to set three goals per school term, giving the student more ownership of their own musical journey. AYM will fund 2 years, individual tuition for 30 students joining the programme.

  • Personal progression budget: each child has a bursary of £150 per year to use to help them achieve their goals. It could be used for gig tickets, exam books or a visit to a recording studio for example.
  • Building communities of support: each Hub holds a termly Get Together which is an opportunity for all Furthering Talent students and their parents or carers to come together for a performance, workshop or other musical opportunity. This really helps families to become involved with their child’s music making and helps to encourage ongoing support outside lessons. Teachers’ Forums are also held termly where Furthering Talent teachers are paid to come together to discuss their students’ progress and develop their inclusive practice, supported by external speakers and facilitators.
  • Diverse musical journeys: AYM fund a Local Furthering Talent Coordinator in each Hub who liaises with the learners, families, teachers and wider Hub network to maximise the musical opportunities in each area and make best possible use of the richness of Hub partners’ musical resources to support and sustain each student’s progress

This holistic approach to support and engagement led to a continuation rate of 83% in the previous phase of the programme. However probably the best way to demonstrate the impact that Furthering Talent can have is by sharing one of it’s success stories:

Kacey (12), piano

Kacey is 12 years old and is learning the piano through our Furthering Talent programme in Nottinghamshire. She was nominated to join the programme in March 2018 by her school music teacher after showing exemplary musical potential in whole class music lessons.

Since joining the programme Kacey has shown a great level of commitment to her piano lessons and musical development. Her instrumental teacher says: “Kacey is the most engaged and conscientious pupil I have ever had the pleasure to teach. She has had 100% attendance and always arrives totally prepared and eager to learn the next stage. In the short time she’s been having lessons she has prepared all sections for the Prep test and has already done some of the work for Grade 1. In lessons she is always polite and keen to achieve the result required, and more.

As well as the weekly instrumental lessons, Kacey has also attended a number of Get Together events with other Furthering Talent students; for example, an event at the Nottingham Playhouse as well as a workshop lead by Sinfonia Viva. Kacey has never had experiences like these before and has loved the opportunity to join in with them.

When asked about how she was finding the programme, Kacey said; “in lessons, it’s really good when you know it’s just you playing, but you’re creating this fantastic sound. My hand-eye coordination has improved, I enjoy every part of it, particularly learning to read music. Music makes a big difference to my life and it’s a great stress relief!”

Kacey’s mum says “the Furthering Talent programme has enabled Kacey to take piano lessons that we wouldn’t otherwise have been able to afford. We’d looked into it before, but the cost was too much.” Kacey’s dad says, “it just puts her in a happy place, when she’s upstairs on the keyboard, she’s just so happy.” As well as all the benefits already mentioned, her mum said “it helps with her depth perception, with only having sight in one eye. It also builds her confidence.”

Kacey’s classroom music teacher has a number of thoughts about the impact that the Furthering Talent programme is making for Kacey. She said Kacey has:

  • Increased confidence in classroom lessons
  • Increased motivation in learning to play an instrument
  • Is achieving top band in classroom assessments
  • Is demonstrating leadership skills – teaching other students
  • Is taking music as an option next year (RSL Level 2)
  • Playing in the school Samba band, so learning the piano may have helped with her coordination and confidence in this too.

One of AYM’s current Hub partners also had this to say:

“We’re delighted to be part of the Furthering Talent programme – it is so closely aligned to our vision to support young people in Manchester with a coherent and high-quality musical journey. It’s exciting to have the opportunity to plan personalised learning for a cohort of students which will have a lifelong impact on several areas of their life. Working with AYM has been a very positive partnership experience so far – the Identifying Talent training was the springboard to getting full staff involvement and ready to nominate pupils in the remainder of the term. Appointing a Local Co-ordinator was also an important, collaborative part of this process and has enabled our bespoke programme to be ready to go this September.”

Lindsay Thomas, Head of Music, One Education, MYHub Manchester.

AYM would like to offer all Music Education Hubs the opportunity to apply to be part of this exciting next phase of Furthering Talent. Applications close on Friday 31 January 2020. For an application pack or to find out more please contact Programme Manager Neil Phillips on 07711953866 or