NYMAZ Launches Young People, Music & Rural Isolation Report

NYMAZ calls for rounded approach to out-of-school music education to ensure children in rural England have equal life chances


NYMAZ, the youth music development charity operating in North Yorkshire, has today warned that children in rural areas risk further isolation if the benefits of out-of-school music activities remain undervalued in England.

At the ‘Young People, Music and Rural Isolation Symposium’ in Thirsk today, NYMAZ is set to launch its new research report Gone in the Air with advisory consultant François Matarasso. It will outline the challenges faced by young people living in rural areas and the enormous benefits that participatory music can offer to their life chances, such as enhanced social and personal skills which influence their future employability.

The report also explains the difficulties faced by those organisations providing informal music activities outside of school in rural areas, as Heidi Johnson, Director of NYMAZ, explains: “We share the same principal barrier: limited transport options which curtail young people’s access to music opportunities, alongside the prohibitive travel costs for specialist music leaders going to these isolated areas. Gone in the Air is intended to offer robust guidance to funders and delivery organisations about how music projects in rural areas are supported and managed – after all, EVERY child should have the right to take part in out of hours music and to reap the rewards it brings, no matter where they live.”

Johnson also comments on the political landscape, saying “We are disappointed that there seems to be a stronger emphasis on Music Education Hubs focusing their work in backing music teaching in formal education settings. In rural areas we can evidence the absolute importance of out-of-school, informal provision and call for it to be more highly valued and better supported.”

The report makes a series of policy and practice recommendations which it is intended will influence the way in which non-formal, inclusive music provision is funded and delivered:

1. We call upon Arts Council England and youth music organisations to value and support the role of non-formal, inclusive music provision as part
 of a rounded music education in rural areas.
2. We call upon youth music organisations and Music Education Hubs to invest in workforce development in rural areas and make young people aware of employment opportunities within the creative industries.
3. We call upon youth music organisations and Music Education Hubs to test and invest in appropriate digital technology solutions.
4. We call upon more funders and stakeholders
 to take account of higher-than-average per unit costs for activities in rural areas, have the confidence to invest in less attractive elements like transport
 and offer multi-annual funding agreements.
5. We call upon all music leaders and youth music organisations working under the umbrella of Music Education Hubs in rural areas to take responsibility for signposting children, young people and parent/carers to quality musical progression opportunities.
6. We call upon youth music organisations
 to enhance parental engagement in activities and advocate about the benefits of participatory music for children and young people in rural areas to more parents and carers.

Gone in the Air is funded by the National Foundation for Youth Music as part of the Musical Inclusion programme for North Yorkshire. The full report features detailed case study material from the following organisations: SoundWave (Cumbria), CYMAZ (Cornwall), Remarkable Theatre (Music4U,
East Riding of Yorkshire), B Sharp (Dorset),
RAM Jam (NYMAZ, North Yorkshire), Wren Music (Devon) and The Music Pool (Herefordshire).

The full report can be viewed here:

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