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A networked approach to inclusion: Sound Connections events round-up
Over the past year Sound Connections has delivered three events celebrating musical inclusion; one focused on early years, one on working with young people in challenging circumstances, and one co-produced by Wired4Music with Sound Connections championing youth voice and participation. All three areas of practice still fight for their place in music education practice and policy and it remains important to shine a light on the best work happening in these fields.
Here are the highlights from this year.
Early Years conference
“With Open Arms: investigating musically inclusive practice in early years”, brought together over 50 early years practitioners, arts and cultural organisations and Music Education Hubs for a day of debate, case studies and conversation around equitable access and inclusivity. Kicked off by Dr Carolyn Blackburn, whose keynote addressed the current socio, cultural and political context, delegates also heard from organisation delivering extraordinary work with isolated families, children with Special Education Needs and Disabilities (SEND) and speech and language therapists. Clear themes from the day were around entrepreneurship, the benefits of multi-agency working and the importance and value of music and play for its own sake. We also explored bringing children’s voices to the foreground and the importance of reflective practice.
Challenging Circumstances conference
This year’s conference provocation was that “by 2020 we will no longer need to use the phrase ‘challenging circumstances’ in our work breaking down barriers to music opportunities for London’s children and young people, as the music education sector will have inclusion at its heart”.
With around 60 delegates in attendance, there was representation from specialist music practitioners and charities, Music Education Hubs, funders, the youth sector, venues and orchestras. Speakers demonstrated the powerful and important practice that is happening in youth and community centres and for young people outside the mainstream education system. There was much debate around targeted work with those facing barriers to access versus programmes that aim to be open and accessible to all. Discussions and feedback suggest that priorities for organisations and practitioners include:
- Skills for better measuring and evidencing impact
- Exploring alternative and diverse funding streams
- Working as a collective voice to ensure that music projects for young people in challenging circumstances are supported equally and fairly and don’t fall to the periphery of music education
The conference was featured in a Music Teacher magazine editorial, where it was recognised that music opportunities for young people in challenging circumstances are kept alive by music teachers and leaders delivering projects on a shoestring “reaching places where even social workers could not reach” and that it is “hard to argue that the money they had begged and borrowed was not well spent.”
Rising Futures, Wired4Music
Delivered in partnership with Roundhouse, this year’s event was more youth-led than ever with members of Wired4Music planning, programming and facilitating the day. The event questioned how we can make diversity and inclusion a reality through presentations, panel discussions and workshops, led by Londoners aged 16-25 with the support of leading music organisations representing a range of projects and initiatives.
Watch this powerful film to find out more:
The day-time event was followed by an open mic session and a gig produced by Springboard Live and members of Wired4Music in the evening.
Our thanks to the National Foundation for Youth Music for funding and supporting all three events.
Music Excellence London: Webinar - 'A practical guide to composing and arranging music for the KS3 classroom and school ensemble'
Thursday 27 April 2017
4.30pm - 5.30pm
Music Excellence London: TeachMeet - 'Building a department from the bottom-up: a musical vision'
Thursday 4 May 2017
5.00pm - 7.00pm
Samba Drumming and Body Percussion
Wednesday 24 May 2017
2.00pm - 5.00pm
What’s That Noise? - Encouraging child-initiated musicality with John Webb
Wednesday 21 June 2017
9.15am - 3.30pm
- Did you see the @SConnections newsletter this week? Exciting #Innovate2017 + workshop announcements. Read it here: https://t.co/JqrOJ77mAm,
- Experience hands on child-initiated music making with John Webb @KintorewayNS on 21 June #LEYMN #earlyyears… https://t.co/z1dLeVpoIZ,
- Next @MusicExLondon TeachMeet, May 4 'Building a dept from the bottom up: A musical vision' thanks @listermusicdept… https://t.co/66RHCEPzrn,
- Uniqueness of three orgs coming together on one project. @Seriouslive @lsostlukes Discovery and @hackneymusic Shari… https://t.co/Vo3riyQGEC,
- Chris Mackin from Ickburgh School - working w @hmdtmusic @lsostlukes @hackneymusic - just finished project for… https://t.co/amvFPJi8e5,
- "Take the risk to put young people in driving seat - they will always surprise you & create brilliant projects" #YouthVoice @hackneymusic,
- Great #YouthVoice presentation from Kenia, Takiyah, Caitlin @hackneymusic #YouthMusicForum. Young people must have… https://t.co/Qwc4oUbV0r,
- "Collaboration is vital defence to reduction of our provision as music educators. Think about schools,… https://t.co/s71tsbVMum,
- Great to be at this @hackneymusic event this evening. A brilliant network doing fantastic partnership work with sch… https://t.co/oGEqGvW3Eb,
- MT @sfhannan Gr8 to hear from a music coord @hackneymusic event that theirHT sees music key to curriculum & focus not just on maths/literacy,