Youth Music Chair Andy Parfitt: "I worry that young people have never had it so uncertain."
A former Controller of Popular Music across all BBC platforms, Andy is best known for leading a highly successful period of regeneration at Radio 1 from 1998-2011, including overseeing the launch of Radio 1Xtra. In his first blog as Chair of Youth Music, Andy speaks out about the pressure placed on today’s young people and why nurturing their love of music is so important.
The creativity of British young people is admired around the world
Today the UK has an ageing population. It’s hard to believe that there are only about 7.5 million 15-24s in a population of over 60 million.
And yet to a significant extent, what the UK is famous for around the world is created by our young people, through fashion, TV, film, design and of course, music.
Adele has topped the US charts for ages and sold 9 million albums, and One Direction are creating a storm unseen since Beatle-mania. Last summer's Olympic Opening Ceremony showcased Britain's youthful musical history to the world, including that joyful performance from Dizzee Rascal.
At best, young people, no matter where they are from or what their circumstances, are creative, boisterous, rebellious and unique.
Being a young person today is tougher than ever
At the same time being young is highly pressurised. I know this both professionally and personally. Whatever you read, on the ground the exam system is very tough.
The employment prospects for the young are really challenging and the new paradigm of social media - although bringing much joy and opportunity - also presents dilemmas and pressures that previous generations just didn’t know.
And if that weren't enough the older media are first to vilify the young. Newspapers say "their exams are too easy, they eat and drink all the wrong things, we have one of the highest teen pregnancy rates in Europe and they're too lazy to hold down a job."
I worry that young people have never had it so uncertain.
Despite this, young people's passion for music remains strong; and for some grows even stronger during difficult times.
Music is increasingly important for young people
80% of 15-24s cite music as a passion. More music is consumed, enjoyed or shared than ever before in the UK. There’s more participation too, as the cost for the tools of music making fall, and distribution is either free or very low cost.
The power of music to create communities of friends, fuel passion, develop skills and generally increase happiness is real.
I know first-hand the amazing things that music making can do for young people and those around them. My former career at the BBC certainly exposed me to some of this but today I possibly live in the most musical household in the UK. Or at least it feels that way!
Youth Music wants to bring music-making to children with least opportunity
Youth Music understands the power of music and this is why it wants to do more for young people.
But providing musical opportunities costs money, and the money Youth Music does have can only go so far. Many of the young people they want to help are slipping through the net.
To help Youth Music bring life-changing music-making opportunities to more young lives, donate today.