Youth Music (funded by the National Lottery) has been a key funder of Live Music Now’s work in special schools since 2012, helping us deliver music programmes in over 70 schools across England, benefitting thousands of young people with limited access to musical opportunities. This week we’re thanking National Lottery ticket buyers for making the work we do possible!
Live Music Now (LMN) has a long history of providing music sessions in schools across the UK, particularly for children and young people with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND). For many years we focussed on offering participatory concerts performed by our musicians, introducing pupils to musical styles that were often new to them.
Our work across the country highlighted inconsistencies in special school music provision. For some pupils, LMN concerts were their only opportunity to hear live music. We saw that school staff often lacked confidence to lead musical activities in the classroom, and that there was lack of training opportunities for professional musicians to work in this area.
With support from Youth Music and other funders including MVAT, the Stoller Charitable Trust, Paul Hamlyn Foundation and John Lyons Charity, we have developed longer-term music programmes for special schools, offering more benefits for pupils and more training opportunities for LMN musicians and school staff.
Youth Music funded our first extended “Musicians in Residence” pilot programme, which ran in 21 special schools during 2013-15. We tested ways to develop effective partnerships with schools, and identified the key skills required by LMN musicians to lead high quality music sessions that support young people’s musical, social and personal development.
With support from Youth Music, we used this learning to launch our flagship programme SEND Inspire in 2016. This established a training pathway for LMN musicians to develop as inclusive music leaders, from delivering their first performances in schools through to leading year-long residencies.
This year, a new grant from Youth Music, alongside 4-year funding from the Paul Hamlyn Foundation, has enabled us to provide more support for schools, their staff and Music Education Hubs to improve music provision.
To date, SEND Inspire has trained over 100 LMN musicians and 750 special school staff. This wouldn’t have happened without Youth Music’s support.
We have learnt a lot from our musical journey with special schools over the past eight years, witnessing many significant achievements by individual pupils. We have seen at first-hand that young people with complex needs can flourish as musicians with appropriate support, and that their newly acquired musical skills and experiences can have a massive impact on their learning and wellbeing.
Music provision in special schools is still patchy and we must do more to ensure that all young people have access to regular, high quality music education led by a skilled workforce of specialist music teachers, classroom staff and professional musicians. With Youth Music’s support we are working on this.
So we say a big thank you to Youth Music and the National Lottery!