A look back at some of AYM’s highlights of 2019

“At Awards for Young Musicians, we know that talent is everywhere but opportunity isn’t: family finances and other obstacles too often get in the way. We’re here to change this.

2019 has been quite a year! We’ve continued to develop and expand our programmes, helping more and more young people across the UK to achieve their musical potential – nearly 500 as I write!  We’ve chosen just some of the year’s highlights for you to read about below.

Many thanks to all our supporters for everything you do to make our work possible. See you in 2020!”

Hester Cockcroft
Chief Executive 

Furthering Talent

We’re now delivering our Furthering Talent programme in partnership with ten Music Education Hubs across England. The programme identifies and supports talented young musicians who, without our intervention, would not otherwise be able to access music education. Over the past 12 months the continued success of the programme, including its ability to influence real change across the sector has helped to further enhance its strong reputation. 

Get Togethers

Here are just some of our musical genres and activities offered through our Get Togethers.

Workforce and sector support

Following the release of our Practical Progression film resources we’ve developed a pilot training programme, led by Furthering Talent music leaders, for other music leaders. We’ve also run regular Music Leaders’ Forums Forums, enabling music leaders to share experiences and support each other to overcome challenges. In November we published a survey, asking colleagues across music education about their CPD needs and the resources available to meet them. The findings will influence our sector support in 2020 and beyond.

We’ve also worked with our partner Hubs on a strategic level, focusing on inclusive recruitment and diversifying their workforces.

Furthering Talent is supported by Youth Music as part of the Alliance for a Musically Inclusive England, made possible by funding from the National Lottery via Arts Council England

The Alliance for a Musically Inclusive England is a movement for change throughout music education. It is a growing network of organisations working together to promote equity in music education and to support others to do the same through advocacy, CPD, resources, and strategic alliances. Are you looking for help to make sure all young people can take part and benefit from music-making? Visit the new AMIE Resource hub for tools and guidance, blogs and case studies. More about AYM’s involvement in the Alliance.

Furthering Talent: explore more


2019 was our 21st Awards year. As well as funding for musical costs, our 2019 cohort have accessed a range of musical opportunities, from watching the BBC Symphony Orchestra in rehearsal, to cross-genre workshops, helping us make our Big Give Christmas Challenge campaign film, working with our Patrons Jess Gillam and Evelyn Glennie and performance opportunities and mentoring. 

Awards Day

A highlight of 2019 was our Awards Day at Royal Birmingham Conservatoire. Award winners from all over the UK came together for an inspiring day of experimental music making with Birmingham Contemporary Music Group. 

On film

To celebrate hitting our Big Give Christmas Challenge target of £60,000 we recently released a new mini documentary, filmed at our 2018 Awards Day, when 100 AYM Award winners spent the day with the BBC Symphony Orchestra at Maida Vale Studios. Presented by AYM Alumna Leaphia Darko, it follows four young musicians’ experience of coming to London to take part in the event. Click to watch.

2020 Awards

We will be accepting applications for our 2020 Awards programme from January 2020. Open to all genres we consider a wide range of musical costs, from tuition, to travel, to computer software and electronic music production equipment. Grants of up to £2,000 are available.

The 2020 closing date is Monday 27 April and Awards will be announced in June/July. Those accepted onto the programme will receive support throughout the 2020-2021 academic year. 

How to apply for an Award

Awards: explore more

Other AYM work

Photo (c) Edward Webb


2019 saw the final two AYM chamber music projects funded by The Elias Fawcett Trust, as they have now closed. We would like to extend our huge thanks to Philippa Fawcett and Natalia Jimenez for their wonderful support of this strand of our work over the last seven years.

We are delighted to announce that our chamber music programme will continue into 2020 and beyond and be developed much further.  Now called Attune, the programme will receive significant support from the Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation, enabling it to expand into the West Midlands. 

More about Attune to follow in the new year.

Talent to Talent 2

This autumn AYM was awarded a substantial Project Grant from Arts Council England to launch the second phase of Talent to Talent, our young musician led mentoring programme, first developed in 2016/17. Talented young people AYM supports, at different stages of their musical journeys – Alumni, Award winners and Furthering Talent participants – mentor each other.

Projects will be supported by expert partners in four of our partner Music Education Hubs, and AYM Patron Jess Gillam, herself a participant in the first phase, will be returning to inspire the next generation of young musicians. We’re delighted that Naomi Wellings has joined AYM as Mentoring Manager and we’ll of course keep you updated in the coming months.

Our supporters

We would like to say a huge thanks to all the Trusts and Foundations and to all our AYM Angels and Champions who have supported our work this year, alongside our generous public funders. We’ve also received fantastic support from individuals, families, clubs, ensembles and organisations who have put on events or taken on challenges to raise funds for AYM. Find out more about our fundraisers.

If you or your club or organisation would like to support AYM in 2020, please get in touch with Sanpreet Janjua.

In memory of David Kaye

Since 2016, Louise and David Kaye have organised regular concerts in aid of AYM, raising over £80,000! This astonishing amount has made a huge impact on our organisation and directly supported over 100 young musicians. On behalf of those young people, we offer our heartfelt thanks to the Kayes. David Kaye suffered from Parkinson’s Disease for many years and tragically on 25 September 2019 died from complications relating to his illness. He was a profoundly musical man and took a deep interest in emerging young musicians.  


We are immensely grateful to all those who have donated their time and expertise for AYM. Volunteers are involved in all areas of work, from supporting communications and fundraising, to making all our events possible. We simply could not to do all we do without you. Meet some of our volunteers.

New faces at AYM

Caius LeeTrustee
I know first hand how vital it is to create musical opportunities for young people. I am living proof of this; as a recently diagnosed neuro-diverse student with dyspraxia, dyslexia, ADHD, and possibly on the autistic spectrum. My involvement with music throughout secondary school helped me focus and subsequently engage educationally. I hope my perspective as a former Awards recipient will be valuable to the Board.

Naomi WellingsProgramme Manager, Talent to Talent 2 (part time)
I’m really excited to be beginning work on AYM’s Arts Council England funded peer mentoring programme, Talent to Talent 2.  When not at AYM, I project manage Birmingham Contemporary Music Group’s Schools’ programme and teach flute and recorder. I also love nothing more than finding a quiet corner of a coffee shop with a good book and a cappuccino! 

Angharad Thomas-FrenchTeam Administrator (part time)
I am delighted to be a part of the AYM team, supporting young people on their musical journeys. As Team Administrator at AYM, I play a key supporting role in the day-to-day management of the charity’s programmes and events. 
Meet more of our team.

Thank you for giving talent a chance in 2019

Share this post