Out of the Shadows

Wednesday, 2 February 2022

New funding for Awards for Young Musicians' Identifying Musical Talent and Potential programme

Identifying Musical Talent and Potential training session in Brighton (Photo Edward Webb)
Identifying Musical Talent and Potential training session in Brighton (Photo Edward Webb)

For over 20 years, the charity Awards for Young Musicians (AYM) has supported talented young people from low-income families, helping them to overcome financial and social obstacles and support their musical progress whatever the genre, whatever the style. However AYM has identified a significant obstacle to encouraging young people's progress, identifying the talent in the first place.

As AYM's website explains, "Many teachers have limited experience of how to identify musical potential in the first place. Primary school class teachers generally have very little musical training, so their limited confidence can be a stumbling block; this inevitably affects their ability to identify young people’s musical potential in their classes. Alongside this, instrumental teachers working as part of the wider Music Education Hub partnerships can focus too much on instrumental proficiency, which can get in the way of them spotting early potential in a child who has never had the opportunity to play an instrument."

To help with this problem AYM has created its Identifying Musical Talent and Potential programme. This aims to support teachers in identifying talent in the first place. There are two strands to the programme, direct training (either face-to-face or online) and a series of online film resources. The idea is to show how some commonly used group musical activities can challenge what teachers believe they are learning about their group from doing them. 

Identifying Musical Talent and Potential programme in Worcester (Photo snaprockandpop)
Identifying Musical Talent and Potential programme in Worcester (Photo snaprockandpop)

AYM has received funding from Arts Council England to expand the programme. So far, the programme has worked with over 1,500 music educators and 17 Music Education Hubs across England, developing the skills they need to spot the next generation of musical talent. The new funding will support over 1,000 teachers in Music Education Hubs across England, and allow for the recruitment of ten new staff to help with the expansion of the programme.

Full details from the AYM website.

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