Sound Connections works on behalf of children and young people to strengthen the music sector, bridge gaps in provision and deliver landmark music programmes to this age group. It has recently published the findings of a consultation with 2,200 children and young people about music and the arts.
The report aims to enable anyone working with young people up to the age of 25 to better understand their needs and interests in relation to music and the arts. Many of the findings echo those of our own research into youth engagement in music.
The report highlights that for young people, “music is highly valued … for its capabilities as an outlet for creativity and self expression”. Young people talked about how music has enriched their lives and enabled them to develop skills, both musical and social, as well as improve their confidence and support their mental health. 85% of 16-19 year olds agreed with the statement, ‘Music is an important part of my life’, and 67% say that music is, ‘something worth paying for regularly’.
The barriers to young people accessing opportunities are almost identical to the barriers identified by our research, such as lack of time and money, and lack of awareness of opportunities. In more rural areas, a lack of transport and local provision were also identified as barriers. The report also noted that once people leave education, it is more difficult for them to find the opportunity to make music.
Music groups can help
The report concludes with a set of recommendations. While some of these are aimed at family behaviours, the education system and the creative industries, there are a number that are directly relevant for music groups.
There is a clear call for groups to ensure that activities are affordable, looking at membership prices and concession schemes. There is also a need for groups to become better at promoting opportunities and sharing information, especially on relevant social media and in places where young people are likely to find them.
For ideas and inspiration on recruiting young people to your music group, visit our resources pages.