Skip to navigation Skip to main content

Taking OffTaking Off

A networked approach to promoting meaningful musical pathways for young Londoners facing challenging circumstances.

What is Taking Off?

Taking Off is about musical progression for young Londoners facing challenging circumstances. It aims to enable more pathways for vulnerable children and young people in London across the full diversity of the offer and at every level of participation and excellence. This website, a subset of the Sound Connections website, is an interactive research report that maps the musical journeys young people in London are making currently; shares tools and ideas for how projects can enable more progression routes; profiles case studies of effective practice; and provides examples of what progression means to young people. Taking Off is for anyone working with disadvantaged young people or those interested in reaching more vulnerable young people.

What is Taking Off?

What do we mean by 'challenging circumstances?'

The Sound Connections Challenging Circumstances Music Network defines challenging circumstances as any barrier to accessing music-making opportunities. In Taking Off we talk about two types of organisation:

  • Majority Challenging Circumstances - those working in a targeted way with a specific remit to meet particular needs including, but not limited to, Looked After children; young refugees, asylum seekers, vulnerable migrants, and immigrant detainees; homelessness and risk of homelessness; mental health illness; Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEN/D); Pupil Referral Units (PRUs); youth justice; young people Not in Education, Employment or Training (NEET); socioeconomic deprivation.
  • Minority Challenging Circumstances - organisations with a broader, open access remit who are either:
    • Delivering projects targeted at particular challenging circumstances as one part of their offer.
    • Seeking to increase inclusion, accessibility and wider representation within ‘open access’ projects that have no defined target group.

Through Taking Off research, we received responses from a wide range of music education organisations including grassroots/community projects, Music Education Hubs, orchestral outreach projects, venues, PRUs, and an academy network.

Discussing Challenging Circumstances


The research we've done through Taking Off has resulted in 5 key findings and recommendations. Follow the link below to find out more.

Key Findings & Recommendations ›

Pathfinders Diagram

What does the future hold?

'Progression routes' is a vast and complex topic but Taking Off has pinpointed specific practical solutions, frameworks, approaches and ideas, and provided next step recommendations to the sector. We hope that this is the beginning of a new journey that enables more organisations to develop musical pathways for young musicians from all backgrounds and circumstances, across a complete spectrum of genres and musical aspirations. If you'd like to talk to us more about how the tools and approaches could support your project or organisation, please contact

Taking Off is just one piece of the progression routes puzzle. If you'd like to find out about other research, take a look at:

We believe that if varied pathways that together represent all backgrounds, circumstances, interests and needs are supported we're more likely to achieve inclusion and diversity across music-making in London.

Ethical Pledges

Key Stats

Share This

Definition of Indices of Multiple Deprivation

The Indices of Deprivation 2015 provide a set of relative measures of deprivation for small areas (Lower-layer Super Output Areas) across England, based on seven different domains of deprivation:

For more information see: - 2015 Statistical Release (PDF 1.5MB)