National charity Youth Music has today announced the formation of the Alliance for a Musically Inclusive England, a collective of leading music organisations working together to promote diversity and cultural democracy in music education.
The Alliance aims to transform music education in England by challenging policymakers, education providers and arts organisations to ensure that all children and young people can access music-making which is suitable for their needs and relevant to their interests. This means diversifying the genres of music on offer, giving young people ownership of their musical learning, removing the structural barriers which prevent participation, and forming strong links locally, nationally and with the music industry to support future generations of musicians.
The 13 partners in the Alliance have received funding from Youth Music, a national charity investing in music-making projects for children and young people experiencing challenging circumstances. Youth Music invests in more than 350 projects each year, with around 75,000 children and young people taking part in music-making activities. The projects mostly take place outside school, and they help participants to develop personal and social skills as well as musical ones.
Alliance members will deliver a variety of innovative activities, working locally to support the progression of young people from all backgrounds – particularly those who wouldn’t normally get the opportunity. In the North East, funding will be provided to support young people to run their own music projects to create social change. In the South East, new community-based music spaces will be created for, by, and with young people living in areas of economic deprivation. In the North West, young people from all backgrounds will learn from professionals working in a diversity of styles including rap and electronic music – genres which are often neglected in mainstream music education. And five alliance partners will work together on a national initiative supporting disabled young musicians to directly shape the music industry around their needs, with support from music industry and higher education partners.
These programmes will be underpinned by a strong workforce development element, designed to ensure that the music-making activities on offer for children and young people are of the highest quality. This will help music educators from all backgrounds and at all career stages with training, networking, accreditation and peer support.
Future activity will also include supporting all Music Education Hubs to develop their music-making practice to become more inclusive.
Matt Griffiths, CEO of Youth Music (pictured right), says: “Inclusion is central to everything we do. The Alliance will work with the wider music education sector, extending the reach of musically inclusive practice and driving change. We have a strong evidence base which demonstrates the wide ranging social benefits of music, and we want that to be at the heart of music education practice. We hope that, with our influence, music education of the future will look very different.”
Hannah Fouracre, Director of Music Education, Arts Council England, says: “The potential for creativity is everywhere and every young person should have the opportunity to participate and progress in the arts. We welcome the launch of the Alliance for a Musically Inclusive England which will help ensure that all young people are able to make the music they want to make.”
The work commenced on 1 April 2018 and will run for four years. The work has been made possible by funding from the National Lottery via Arts Council England.
Each project is united in a common purpose to get more inclusive music-making taking place across the country by forming partnerships with local organisations and providing advice, championing the benefits of inclusive practice, and delivering activities for and with children and young people in their local area.
Main photo: Young Performers at Brighter Sound project in Manchester