Musical Progressions Roundtable

2009 – 2014

Advocating for the musical needs of young people across the sector has always been a priority for AYM. From 2009 to 2014, in partnership with Ben Sanbrook, and with Youth Music funding, we ran a series of influential Musical Progressions Roundtables (MPR).

The MPR was a network of organisations and individuals involved in music education across the UK totalling nearly 300 participants. Many children and young people took part too, working alongside music education professionals.

Together we addressed the call by the National Plan for Music Education to ensure that progression is available and affordable to all young people. We looked at how to most effectively support the musical progression of all children and young people: enabling them to fulfill their potential, whatever kind of music they make and whatever their background.

The MPR generated ideas, explored complex issues and had a focus on action. It found that the following principles were essential:

  • Young people must be given the agency to lead their own, individual, musical journeys.
  • A holistic music education environment is crucial to support these journeys, with many organisations and individuals together providing the key ingredients for children to progress: no one can do this on their own.
  • There are many ‘excellences’ and ‘progressions’ in music: we must not get stuck on singular or narrow definitions of either.
  • Inspiring and enriching the journeys of today’s young musicians should be our focus: we should not determine their destinations for them.
  • Musical adults take many forms: not just performers.

Participating organisations included:

ABRSM, Arts Council England, Artswork, Association of British Orchestras, Awards for Young Musicians, BBC Performing Arts Fund, Birmingham City University, Bolton Hub, Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, Brighter Sound, Bristol University, Cape UK Culture, Warrington Durham and Darlington Hub, English Folk Dance and Song Society, Glyndebourne, Goldsmiths College, Greenwich Hub, Hampshire Music Service, In Harmony, Institute of Education, Kent Music Service, Kinetico, Kuumba, Mayors Fund for Young Musicians, Mighty Creatives, Milapfest, Musicians Union, Music for Youth, Music, Mark Musical Futures, NAME, National Children’s Orchestra, National Youth Jazz Collective NYMAZ NYO, Oxford University, Philharmonia, Orchestra, RLPO, RNCM, Royal Academy of Music, Royal Scottish National Orchestra Society, RWCMD, Salford Primary Head, Sound and Music, Sound Connections, SoundLincs Square 1 Studios, Surrey Music Service, Sussex University, SWMS, Teeside Musical Inclusion, The Change Co The Garage, The Sage Gateshead, Town Hall, Symphony Hall Birmingham, Trinity College, Wigan Music Service, Youth Music.

The findings of the MPR fed into the development of our Furthering Talent programme, through which we now support more than 400 young musicians a year and the teachers working with them.

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