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Challenging Circumstances Music Network

Development Needs Analysis (DNA) sessions

Sound Connections has been offering one to one careers and project advice and guidance for the last 10 years via its Development Needs Analysis (DNA) service. A DNA is a unique opportunity for anyone working in music education to reflect on their career and think through how they can develop new skills, areas of work or plan new projects. Attendees complete a DNA preparation form which asks them why they feel a DNA would be useful, what activity or area of their work they would like to develop, what the challenges are and what the ideal outcome would be. The completed form is passed onto the Sound Connections Senior Management team who review the information and decide which member of staff would be most appropriate and qualified to meet with. For example, if someone wanted to find out more about working in Early Years then Julia Roderick, who leads on our Early Years strand, would be the best person to talk to.

The advisor then draws up a list of questions, based on the preparation form, which will be used as the basis of the session. All advisors are qualified to give advice and guidance and have undertaken peer training and support  based upon the Matrix Standard. The Matrix Standard is a unique quality framework for organisations to assess and measure their information, advice and  guidance services, which ultimately supports individuals in their choice of career, learning, work and life goals. Sound Connections, with support from Youth Music, achieved the standard in 2013.

A DNA lasts around 90 minutes and working together the attendee and advisor identify a variety of short, medium and long term goals which are then agreed. Examples of these include: contacting the local Music Education Hub lead organisation to find out more about what they do and/or offer; identifying a work shadowing opportunity; considering applying for funding  to Arts Council England or the PRS for Music Foundation; finding out more about a particular pedagogical approach such as Kodaly method; or revising your CV. After the session the advisor completes a Personal Development Plan (PDP) and sends this to the attendee within one week of the session. The PDP captures the main points of the discussion, lists the short, medium and long term agreed goals and sets a timeframe for these to be completed. The advisor also makes a note to contact the attendee in three month’s to check on progress and see how things are going more generally. Attendees are also encouraged to attend future Sound Connections events such as our ever popular ‘Would Like to Meet…’ music education networking opportunity.


The cost of a DNA is £75, however this is heavily subsidised with the true cost of the service, taking into account preparation, the session itself and follow up, coming in at £150. If you would like to apply for a DNA then please contact


If you want to download and fill out the DNA session form prior to getting in touch you can do so here >



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