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Creativity Project supports young composers

21 July 2014

A report has been published by Music4U which examines music provision for young people between the ages of eleven and eighteen in York and the Humber Region.

Funded by Youth Music, the ‘Creativity Project’ is based on hands-on musical exploration as well as research. The report focuses on the issues surrounding young people starting out in the field of composition.

The project began as a series of workshops and short courses which were attended by over 100 young people. All the participants came from communities that have low levels of engagement with music. Professional musicians and composers worked with the young musicians, helping them learn the skills and gain the confidence required to create their own music.

The musicians leading the workshops were asked to document their experiences, recording their successes as well the challenges they encountered. This first-hand evaluation was collected and used as the basis of the report, which contains a summary of the project alongside ideas for the development of further creative work in the region.

Delma Tomlin, director of the National Centre For Early Music (NCEM), commented: ‘Our aim was to bring together young people, teachers, youth workers and pastoral staff, and professional composers/creative musicians in practical music-making sessions.  The outcomes have been tremendously varied and inspiring. They have ranged from ukulele players in Goole writing pop songs, young people with special needs in York and Hull improvising and developing new gamelan pieces, special school students in Scunthorpe producing dubstep and electronica music to young bands in Immingham writing rock songs. The young composers have also made music videos and Pupil Support Units and schools across the region have experimented with technology and different instruments. We wanted to build confidence and give freedom to young people to create music in their own time, with groups of friends and in community and youth centres.’

Richard Hallam MBE, music education consultant, said of the report: ‘Much of the recent focus of the National Plan for Music Education has been on active music-making through instrumental and vocal ensemble work. Whilst composing and performing are present in best practice, this is not always the case. This is one of several reasons why this report is so important. It is impossible to make music without someone composing or improvising!

 ‘The Creativity Project has resulted in a rich resource for everyone. There is much good advice on composing and improvising, in and out of school. There are helpful conclusions and strategic and practical recommendations, as well as 37 new pieces that can be listened to online.’

The report is available to download from the NCEM website.

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