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Sound Connections was established as a charity in 2002 to deliver the London Youth Music Action Zone.

The YMAZ brought together eight community music organisations that were delivering high quality work to young people across the capital: ADFED, Bigga Fish, CM, Midi Music Company, Overtones, Raw Material, Urban Development and Weekend Arts College.  The consortium evolved into a single entity with its own unique vision for supporting and empowering the community sector across London, refining its mission as we grew from strength to strength. By 2005, Sound Connections was also delivering MusicLeader London, a national service providing professional development support and guidance to music leaders working with children and young people.

By 2006, Sound Connections’ membership had grown to over 1,000 music organisations and practitioners involved in developing a diverse range of music programmes, accessing training opportunities and seminars and receiving regular newsletters on the flourishing community music sector. Cementing our role as a lead advocate for music education in London, Sound Connections contributed to the development of the Music Manifesto focusing on coordination of the sector and workforce development. Joining forces with the likes of the Music Education Council (MEC), the National Association of Music Educators (NAME) and the National Music Council (NMC), we took a strategic role in debate and policy, engaging our members in the ongoing discussions and programmes.

In 2007, Sound Connections added Youth Music Mentors to its growing portfolio and lead on rolling out the programme in the London region with the aim of targeting music and personal support to young people in the most challenging settings. The Youth Music Action Zone developed further through our Reaching Out and Innovate programmes, incubating a new generation of community music practitioners and organisations to work with young people facing multiple deprivation and barriers to access.

By 2008 membership had doubled as a growing sector accessed our wide range of services and benefits. Sound Connections secured the Sing Up Area Leader London contract and launched a programme of singing training and support to music teachers and musicians in primary schools. With funding from London Councils, we also launched Sounds in the City, a pan-London programme of participatory music projects.

The following year, we established our unique Young Londoners’ Music Council with the aim of increasing young people voice on music-making and policy and putting young people at the heart of Sound Connections’ strategic operations. Officially launched by its young members as Wired4Music in March 2010, the council has become one of our flagship successes and is leading the way for youth participation and leadership in London and beyond.

In 2011, we founded the London Early Years Music Network bringing together practitioners from the field to consult and lead action research around Early Years music-making. The success of the network, led to the establishment of our Challenging Circumstances round tables – a group of music experts working at the cutting edge of provision for young people facing severe and multiple barriers to engagement.

Sound Connections now has a membership of over 4,500 musicians and teachers. Following the end of the Musical Inclusion programme, Sound Connections has a new strategic relationship with Youth Music through securing a Fund C grant. This will enable us to continue to support the music education sector across London and build new partnerships and programmes for the benefit of many more young people right through to 2022.

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Support our work with London's young music makers. Donate Now