Your new hub: change for the best for children and young people

We’ve been working through some massive changes here at Gloucestershire Music over the last few months. Although some hard decisions have had to be made, such as the loss of many of our valued peripatetic teachers, we are firm in our belief that the changes will allow us to develop a better music offer for more children and young people in Gloucestershire.

From August 1st, we’ll be working as part of a new music education hub, with partners who are involved in music or in services for young people across Gloucestershire. Together we will make sure that all children and young people can access opportunities in music that are right for them: from learning an instrument or singing, to joining a band, group or ensemble, to taking part in workshops or other experiences. As we’ve said in our bid:

“We want all children and young people in Gloucestershire to take part in music making activities that excite and challenge them, raise their aspirations and give them the opportunity to develop their talents as well as to develop as people.”

There are already lots of activities out there, but we’re aware that we all need to signpost them better. Working together will help us to do this, as well as make better use of our resources. We’re also aware that in some cases we need to transform what we do and how we do it. We need to make sure we are relevant to young people and those who work with them, now and in the future.

To help us in this process, we’ll be finding out just what is available to young people, what’s needed, and how to encourage more young people to get involved. We’ve already been asking lots of questions – of teachers, parents and organisations working with young people, and we’ve developed our plans around what they’ve told us, and will continue to do so.

Below, I’ve outlined in summary (as a ‘five minute guide’), what we’ve heard and how we’ve responded. You can also download the five-minute guide. There’ll be more information on our website which will be transformed over the next few months to contain all the information you need about music-making for young people in Gloucestershire. If you’d like to keep in touch with developments then please email and we will let you know when there’s more news.

Malcolm Pollock, Head of Gloucestershire Music, lead organisation for the county’s new music education hub.


LESSONS: School teachers have told us that affordable instrumental and vocal teaching for pupils is critically important in opening doors to the possibilities in music, but many parents simply can’t afford lessons and so children miss out.

  • We’ll be working with schools to deliver whole-class instrumental lessons in primary school for at least a term each year (hopefully more) with no cost to parents. Initially these will be in string, woodwind, brass and percussion – but in time and according to demand, we will extend the range of genres and styles. We will no longer be employing peripatetic instrumental teachers to provide one-to-one lessons in schools: instead, these tutors will be directly contracted by schools.

PLAYING AND PERFORMING IN GROUPS OUTSIDE OF SCHOOL: Young people, parents and teachers have said that they value our groups and ensembles, but many also want to be able to make music in a wider range of genres and styles.

  • We’ll be continuing to run our music centres, and the groups, bands and ensembles that are based there, as well as our ‘county’ music ensembles. We’ll also promote opportunities provided by other people for young people to play and perform, from parent and baby groups, to rock and urban activities, through our website and other means.  Also, over time, we will introduce a wider range of genres and styles to our own work, and will work to promote these widely so that we attract more children and young people.

SINGING: School teachers have told us what a difference singing, for example through the Sing Up initiative, has made in their school. They want support to continue to develop singing in their schools.

  • In collaboration with Gloucestershire Music Makers, we’ll continue to help schools with their singing work by providing teacher training, singing projects, choirs at our music centres, and specialist vocal teachers delivering projects in schools. We’ll also extend our work to encompass other genres such as rap and beatboxing.

TEACHER TRAINING: Headteachers tell us there’s a need for training in music teaching for non-specialist primary school class teachers, and specialist music teachers in primary and secondary schools need to be supported in developing their practice.

  • We’ll be running training sessions for schools to support music in and out of the classroom, including singing.

VULNERABLE YOUNG PEOPLE: Professionals working in pupil referral units, foster care, special schools, and with those not in employment, education or training, have told us they are keen to use music in their work with young people.

  • We have commissioned Gloucestershire Music Makers to develop programmes of work specifically targeted at particular groups of vulnerable young people. We will also be working with other organisations, and developing our own work, to be more accessible to a wider range of children and young people.

HIRING INSTRUMENTS: Parents have told us that hiring instruments is expensive and can be off-putting.

  • We’ll continue to hire out, repair and maintain instruments and will offer these services at a lower than commercial rate, and free to families that are eligible for free school meals.

INFORMATION AND SIGN-POSTING: Young people, parents and teachers have shown us that we all need to work harder at sharing information with them about all types of music-making opportunities, as well places to create, perform, rehearse and record music.

  • We will be finding ways to communicate more effectively about what we, and all our partners do. We’ll work together to make sure that there is suitable information and signposting for young people at each step of their musical journey. Our main website will be transformed over the next few months to help with this process.

EXCITING MUSICAL EXPERIENCES: We know that, as well as all this, children and young people’s feelings and aspirations can be transformed by seeing and being involved with great musicians, as audience members or participants, and by taking part in competitions and performances.  

  • We’ll continue to work with orchestras, soloists, bands, and other musicians and organisations to provide exciting musical experiences for all young people in the county, in and out of school.

FINDING OUT WHAT YOU WANT AND NEED:  We’ll make sure that we keep talking to young people, parents, teachers, and musicians, keep learning from what you tell us, and adapting.


Posted on July 17, 2012, in Music Education and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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