Youth Music’s impact in 2011-2012: what difference did we make?

Posted: 07 January 2013

Each year, the hundreds of projects we fund across the country report back to us about how Youth Music's funding has transformed the lives of children and young people they work with.

We use this information to identify the biggest issues facing kids and those working with them, to spot the areas in England that are most in need of help, and to prove that music making matters.

Supporting music projects across England

We’ve worked hard to make sure that we are able to identify and support the music projects that can have the biggest impact on young people’s lives. This year we have supported more projects than ever before, but there's still more to be done.

We were only able to fund 23% of the projects who applied to us in 2011-2012, and there were many more excellent projects we would have given money to if we had the resources. Music making projects have a huge impact on children and teenagers – particularly those in difficult circumstances – and your donations help us to create more of these life-changing opportunities.
One of the ways in which we’ve brought our partners' music projects together is with the Youth Music Network online community, which launched in late 2011 and built upon our previous resources and training for music leaders. The online community is fast becoming an essential place for practitioners to make professional connections and to share their learning and experiences with others. It has a growing membership of over 3,300 users.

A legacy of talented young musicians

Summer 2012 saw the culmination of our Youth Music Voices project, with a series of spectacular performances as part of the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad. The vocal ensemble was brought together to provide unique singing opportunities in the lead-up to the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

One hundred young people from all over the UK took part in a choir that performed in several of the country’s most prestigious venues, including the Royal Opera House and Westminster Hall in the Houses of Parliament. We look forward to seeing the legacy of Youth Music Voices next year. One of the benefits to come out of the programme is that we are now encouraging organisations to apply to us for grants to form their own versions of this outstanding vocal ensemble.

How we’ve transformed young lives through music

When we measure our impact at Youth Music, we’re not just looking at the numbers: although we did fund music projects for 111,361 children and young people and 1,046 music leaders this year!

What’s most important to us are the outcomes: ie the ways in which children and teenagers’ lives have been transformed by taking part in a Youth Music funded project. Sometimes these changes are major, like helping a young person to find a job or to stay in school. And sometimes they’re small, like giving a troubled teen a break from their problems for a few hours a week. But they all bring a positive benefit to a child’s life. Making music matters.

Projects report on the impact music making has had on three different groups of children (which often overlap), and on the skills of the adults who work with them.

Here are the main reported outcomes from Youth Music projects in each of these key areas (click on the small image or the gallery at the bottom of the page to see the full-size infographics).

  1. Children and young people facing challenging circumstances

    The most frequently reported outcomes for the young people were personal development, increases in their confidence, and making progress with their musical skills.

    (click to see the full-size infographic)

  2. Babies, toddlers and children aged 0-5

    The most frequently reported outcomes from the projects were workforce development (including giving non-musical teachers and nursery workers increased confidence to lead music sessions), improvement in children's speech and language skills (including helping those learning English as a second language), and increasing children's confidence and social skills.

    (click to see the full-size infographic)

  3. Kids showing musical talent and potential

    The most frequently reported outcomes from the projects were developing children's performance and recording skills, learning to work with and take responsibility for other young people, and gaining inspiration from musical role models.

    (click to see the full-size infographic)

  4. Developing the music-leading workforce

    The most frequently reported outcomes from the projects were collaboration on the design of training sessions and materials, creating networking opportunities, and encouraging young music leaders and students.

    (click to see the full-size infographic)

The report also gathers statistical information about the type of projects funded by Youth Music.

  • Music genres used by projects

    (click to see the full-size infographic)

  • Type of music-making session

    (click to see the full-size infographic)

  • Age of children and young people participating in projects

    (click to see the full-size infographic)
  • Challenging circumstances faced by young participants

    (click to see the full-size infographic)

Award recognising the work of Youth Music projects

We were delighted to be awarded a BeMOBO Award in October 2011 in recognition of our hard work in making a difference via grassroots, educational and community initiatives.

It was particularly fitting that one of our celebrity ambassadors - Myleene Klass - was able to present the award on our behalf to three-time MOBO Nominated duo Rizzle Kicks, who themselves have benefitted from Youth Music funding.

Looking ahead

  • We’ll make sure that we continue to provide high quality music-making projects for children and young people who wouldn’t otherwise have the opportunity
  • We’ll use our national expertise to make sure that project funding gets to the areas of the country that need it most
  • We’ll make sure that adults who run music projects work together and share their knowledge, particularly by extending the reach, influence and usefulness of the Youth Music Network
  • We’ll use our learning to best represent the experiences, perspectives and needs of children and young people, so that we can advocate the benefits of music on their behalf

And perhaps most importantly

  • We’ll step up our fundraising activities to raise more money than ever before, so that we can fund more projects and bring more music-making opportunities to the kids and teenagers who need them most.

Of course, we need your support on this one. Donate today to help us transform the lives of children and young people through music.

Read Youth Music’s Impact Report

You can read the full Impact Report 2011-2012 here.