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At Sound Connections we believe that every child and young person should be able to access and enjoy high quality music, and progress musically should they wish to.

Some children and young people face challenging or different circumstances in life and they have varying needs and interests. Sometimes this means specialist skills and approaches are needed to help children and young people who would otherwise struggle to take part in music-making. That’s why one of our areas of work is focused on enabling children and young people facing challenging circumstances to overcome barriers that they might face.

We define challenging circumstances as any barrier to accessing music.

Different circumstances include but are not limited to Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEN/D); Not in Education, Employment or Training (NEET); refugees, asylum seekers and migrants; homelessness; Looked After Children; youth justice and working in detention settings; mental health, and other health-related settings (such as hospitals); Pupil Referral Units; socio-economic deprivation.

The National Foundation for Youth Music describes the different challenges within four categories:

  • Economic difficulties
  • Life conditions
  • Life circumstances
  • Behavioural issues

Music and Social Justice Network

Since 2012, we have established a network of music practitioners who specialise in working with young people in challenging circumstances. The Music and Social justice network is made up of around 30 core members, meets on a regular basis to share practice and expertise, and to problem-solve around specific themes relevant to working within this complex field. Learn more >

Challenging Circumstances Music Network

Annual conference

Sound Connections host an annual conference which draws together network members and representatives of the wider music community to share current thinking and advocate for the importance of musical inclusion across music education.

Challenging Circumstances Music Network Conference

Taking Off

In 2014, Sound Connections, along with members of the CCMN, launched a dynamic research project – Taking Off – which aims to map the provision of music-making activities for young people facing challenging circumstances. This project aims to discover and enable meaningful progression for participants with barriers to accessing music. Learn more >

Taking-Off research project
Support our work with London's young music makers. Donate Now