Youth Music: Exchanging Notes

Researchers
Background

The National Foundation for Youth Music has awarded grants to support 10 Exchanging Notes projects across England. Each project (a partnership between a school and specialist music provider) works with young people at risk of low attainment, disengagement, or educational exclusion to see how participation in regular music-making activities can enable achievement of musical, educational and wider outcomes. Researchers in the School of Education and Social Work are supporting the project over a four-year period through the evaluation of the educational and musical outcomes of these new models.

Aim of research
  • See how participation in regular music-making activities can enable achievement of musical, educational and wider outcomes
  • Explore these benefits across a variety of different musical approaches and styles
  • Stimulate fresh thinking and support the aspirations set out in the National Plan for Music Education.
Method of research

We undertake regular visits to each of the projects to observe what is happening in Exchanging Notes sessions, and talk to those involved in the project, including young people. The perspective of young people is central to this project and thus their voice is important to our research. Alongside these observations, we analyse attainment data provided by schools for these young people to see if engagement in these musical activities is improving their grades. We also ask the young people to fill out surveys on how they feel about their musical identity and whether they try hard in sessions. 

Findings

This project has given us deep insights into effective models of partnerships between organisations, practitioners, and the ways that young people can develop social skills through music making. 

Application of Research

The findings of the research are potentially game changing for partnership provision between schools and external organisations. Youth Music have already used our interim report to raise a call for a new type of music pedagogy. We are excited to pull together all of the data we have gathered over four years and tell the fascinating story of this project.