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Ten things you need to know about the Youth Music Initiative (YMI)

This morning, a major report by the name of What’s Going On Now? (WGON) was released.

WGON is a once-in-a-generation examination of music education and youth music-making in Scotland, which explores how the joy and challenge of learning music is an integral part of the lives of hundreds of thousands of young people in Scotland today. Hurrah!

Youth music access is an important part of our Creative Learning output, as we administer the Scottish Government’s Youth Music Initiative programme (or, YMI if you like).

So, we thought we’d take this opportunity to explore what’s going on with YMI, with ten key facts about this important programme.

1. YMI has an important vision

The vision of the Youth Music Initiative is to put music at the heart of young people’s lives and learning, contributing to Scotland becoming an international leader in youth arts.

2. Hundreds of thousands of young people benefit from YMI

YMI provides funds for more than 240,000 young people each year to access high-quality music-making opportunities. It’s an integral part of Scotland’s music education and youth music ecology.

3. There are three strands

Did you know there are three routes to apply for funding for youth music projects? These fall under the School-Based Music Making (Formula Fund), Access to Music Making, and Strengthening Youth Music.

4. Local authority YMI programmes are in place

The School-Based Music Making (Formula Fund)’s purpose is to deliver the Scottish Government commitment – “every school pupil in Scotland should be offered a year of free music tuition by the time they leave primary school”.

With that in mind, this targeted fund is available for Scotland’s 32 Local Authorities and Jordanhill School.

5. There's support for activity for young people up to the age of 25

Did you know that through the Access to Music Making fund, organisations and individuals can apply for funding between £1k - £40k?

This is available to support high-quality music-making opportunities for young people aged 0-25 outwith school time.

6. YMI strengthens the youth music sector

The Strengthening Youth Music fund supports individuals, organisations and networks to undertake strategic action or training that will strengthen the youth music sector in Scotland for the benefit of young people.

Organisations/individuals can apply for funding between £1k – £20k.

7. We also have a Training and CPD fund

The Scottish Music Centre is currently managing the YMI Training and CPD Fund on behalf of Creative Scotland.

This scheme can support individuals and organisations looking for small amounts of funding (between £100-£750 for individuals; and £500-£5k for organisations). The fund is currently open for applications until the budget is fully allocated. For more information go to the Scottish Music Centre website.

8. It’s in line with Time to Shine

YMI’s aims align fully with Time to Shine, Scotland’s first youth arts strategy. YMI focuses on creating equity in access to high quality music- making opportunities, and strengthening the sector for the benefit of young people.

9. YMI is different to the Instrumental Music Service (IMS)

In Scotland, instrumental music services are locally managed and delivered through schools. Instrumental provision is an important dimension of the music curriculum as it provides progression opportunities for young people to develop their skills.

Instrumental services throughout the country work closely with schools to support learning and provide a wide range of music opportunities for children and young people at primary and secondary level. This includes bands, choirs, orchestras and ensembles.

Currently all 32 local authorities have an Instrumental Music Service (IMS), however this is a discretionary service. In 2017-18, just over 60,000 young people received tuition from the IMS.

10. YMI makes a difference

Research has shown that participants truly value YMI.

In the 2016/17 Impact Report, one tutor said: “YMI breaks down any social barriers, providing a safe, fun, collaborative environment that engages every child no matter what their family and living circumstance."

A parent said: "I am immensely grateful to the choir leaders and helpers for all their hard work. They have not made an issue out of my son’s ASD traits, but have accepted him for who he is; simply a boy who loves to sing. It has given my son opportunities to thrive musically and personally in a setting which could not have been better suited to him; where he felt safe and encouraged to do the very thing he loves most of all.”

And a former YMI participant said: “I am now employed as a music teacher and am a working musician, both of which I can attribute to my participation in YMI programmes. YMI has helped shape what I do in a massive way, and I know that without my experiences in the orchestras and ensembles during my time at school, along with encouragement and enthusiasm from the tutors and other staff I would not be in the type of work I am now. The YMI projects have influenced this path 100%, I would not be doing what I do now if it were not for these programmes.”

To find out more about YMI, including more detailed application guidance, visit creativescotland.com/funding/funding-programmes/targeted-funding/youth-music-initiative. You can also sign up to our YMI newsletter.

This article was published on 26 Feb 2019