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Sound Solutions for the Music Education Sector

Sound Connections officially entered the world of consultancy in January 2015, with the release of the Sound Solutions for the Music Education Sector portfolio of services.  As an organisation that exists to strengthen and connect the sector, consultancy is a logical extension of our skillset and activities.  Organisations who have commissioned Sound Connections projects have identified contracting an external consultant as a way to add specialist skill, capacity and value.  The Sound Connections consultancy approach is about three things that directly reflect our overarching ethos:

  • Understanding, and responding, to need
  • Core values of integrity, quality and commitment, and our core belief that excellent participatory music-making enriches lives and communities
  • Making the most of strong partnerships, networks and communications channels

As we’ve added this new string to our bow, we’ve worked with the DSC and Red Ochre (via funding from the Big Assist), to define our consultancy offer.  Current projects and packages, based upon skills and experience built across Sound Connections’ lifetime since 2002, include:

Youth voice starter package
This lays the foundations for youth voice work through training and development.  It sets organisations up with the skills and knowledge to conduct high quality, relevant needs analysis and put the voice of young people at the heart of provision.  We adjust the package to each partner organisation we deliver this with.

What’s happening now – building on Wired4Music, Sound Connections’ flagship youth voice and leadership project, we are working with Brighton Music Education Hub, Soundcity, to develop city-wide youth consultation and a youth forum.

Surveying & reporting
Our approach to surveying enables organisations to conduct in-depth research across a wide audience. 

  • Our far-reaching networks and expertise as communicators allows us to reach a diverse range of respondents and share the findings with a wide audience.    
  • Our reporting combines thoughtful analysis with our understanding of the music education landscape and a well-balanced perspective.    

What’s happening now – we have been working in partnership with the English Folk Dance and Song Society to map and scope youth folk music activity across the country, and produce a summary of findings.  This follows a folk youth music activity consultation and report we delivered for EFDSS in 2014.

Evaluation
Through delivery of our own projects and programmes we have developed a series of evaluation methods and frameworks, coupled with our considered and reflective approach.  As external evaluators for other organisations we are able to identify the most effective method and respond to the requirements of each project.  We can review or create outcomes frameworks, offer advice about how and what evidence to gather, conduct observations, create reports and offer recommendations.

What’s happening now – we are acting as external evaluators for the Roma Support Group/Newham Music Trust Roma Bridging Sounds Orchestra.

Newsletter production and communications
With our own newsletter and Twitter feeds attracting a consistently growing audience, we know how to communicate with all levels of the sector from teachers to decision makers.  We can create one-off newsletters or publications, or manage the delivery of a series of communications. 

What’s happening now – we edit and distribute the South Riverside Music Partnership (Music Education Hub consortium) newsletter.

Bespoke training programme – Havering Music Education Hub
Based upon delivery of our own training events and through partnership delivery of other programmes such as Sing Up! and Teach Through Music, we understand what’s required to programme effectively, successfully promote training, and recruit participants.

What’s happening now – we are delivering Havering Music Education Hub’s singing training programme.

Project management
Projects sometimes find themselves in need of project management capacity, or individuals feel skilled as music leaders but less sure how to manage effectively.  Our Programme Managers are able to offer a variety of support from one-off troubleshooting to ongoing ‘critical friend’ guidance. 

What’s happening now – we are acting as a project management critical friend for a Newham Music Education Hub project.

 

Get in touch if we might be able to help!  We’re always happy to discuss and scope potential consultancy before any commitment is made, we offer competitive rates, and always tailor our work to each project and its parameters – philip@sound-connections.org.uk 

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