National charity Youth Music has 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 for a Musically Inclusive England 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. Workforce development will help music educators from all backgrounds and at all career stages with training, networking, accreditation and peer support.
In North Yorkshire, NYMAZ will be delivering Play it Loud, a comprehensive programme which prioritises the rurally isolated, the under-fives, and those with physical and learning disabilities. NYMAZ will be bringing together a wide range of partners to offer high quality, developmental music projects for each strand as well as delivering training for music leaders and professionals working with children and young people. NYMAZ will also be helping Music Hubs operating in remote areas across England to make use of digital music learning in order to increase the number of children accessing instrumental tuition and enrichment opportunities.
Matt Griffiths, CEO of Youth Music, 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.”
Sarah McWatt, Director of NYMAZ, comments: “The Alliance will play a critical role in opening up more music opportunities for children and young people, whatever their location or circumstance. NYMAZ is delighted to be contributing particular expertise in rural isolation and digital technology and to have the chance to embed innovation across music education thinking and future policy.”
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 commences on 1 April 2018 and will run for four years. The programme 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.