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The Music Lab: A Toolkit for Exploring Youth Voice within Music-Making Practices in Classical Music

In 2019 Dr Anna Bull (University of York) and Jennifer Raven (Deputy Director, Sound Connections) were reflecting on their respective work in music education. They both identified a clear need for more understanding about what Youth Voice looks like within musical practice – from how ensembles and projects are conceptualised to the skills and methods music educators need to work with young people in a more democratic way. And so the idea for an action research project, The Music Lab, was born.

With generous funding support from Agrigento, Jennifer Raven and Dr Anna Bull were able to bring The Music Lab project to life with a team including nineteen 11-16 year-old young people, Keith Sykes, Charly Richardson and the wider team at Lewisham Music Hub, Isabella Mayne as Musical Facilitator and Lead Author, and Jacob Sakil as Youth Worker.

The Music Lab team (participants and practitioners) explored classical music education through both practical activities and discussion; with participants reflecting on their own experiences of classical music education and how they thought it could be more inclusive and youth-led.

The output of this research is a toolkit, which aims to provide practical tools for practitioners to explore and/or enhance Youth Voice engagement within their practice. The toolkit comprises ideas and activities used during The Music Lab course, and seeks to provide inspiration and resources for instrumental teachers, class music teachers, ensemble leaders and other musicians and teachers working in the classical music education sector.

You can download the toolkit here. We’ll also be running training based on the toolkit later in 2022, so sign up to our newsletter for more information, share the toolkit with colleagues far and wide, and let us know how you get on with it!

By Liz Coomb, Programme Manager – Sound Connections.

April 2022.


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