Like educators, we care passionately that ALL children have the opportunity to access quality music education provision. The Covid pandemic has only widened the gap of children who do have access to music and those that don't. The words "levelling-up" are not political soundbites - they represent thousands of children across the UK and worldwide who need government, education and commercial organisations to come together to ensure inclusion and accessibility are at the heart of our music education strategies.
Working with our friends at Back Chat Brass, we were delighted to sponsor a project in early 2020 for over 190 children in Year 6 and Year 7 to help them with the stressful and complicated transition from primary to secondary school. The results of this project, In2 Music, funded by Darlington Borough Council and UKRI, sit within a larger three-year study that seeks to uncover how the arts and sport help school transition for disadvantaged pupils.
The results were quite simply amazing and a formal independent impact assessment into the project has reported the tremendous impact:
"The In2 music project enabled pupils experiencing socio-economic deprivation to enjoy the benefits of fellowship through group-based music (Langston and Barrett, 2008), and to begin to develop the sense of “belonging” upon which social capital is built (Wright 2012; Diener, Oishi, & Lucas, 2003). Previously shy pupils began to contribute more in class, and anxious children overcame their fear to perform on stage. Teachers commented on how much their pupils enjoyed the project, and said that it had developed their pupils’ self-confidence. One teacher described pupils as ‘buzzing’, and another said they were ‘braver’."
"Staff commented that it has shown them how fun it can be to play brass instruments."
"Did you see the parents at the back of school hall during the performance? They were so excited about it and they were beaming. You just think that's lovely that the parents feel proud and in return, the children feel proud because they're making the parents smile. And it's just that big cycle, isn't it? Everybody's proud and then they feel good…It’s not just something that you’re doing at school – the family can get involved as well."
But of course, the best way to see and hear the benefits is to listen to the children themselves: