Report reveals positive impact of Youth Music Initiative

Published: 08 Oct 2015

Young people across every local authority take part in 300 projects each year, an estimated 150,000 young people engage in school based music making, and 76,000 in activity out of school.

A new report published today reveals the positive and wide reaching impact on young people of the nationwide Youth Music Initiative (YMI).

Funded by the Scottish Government and administered by Creative Scotland, the YMI was established in 2003 in response to the What’s Going On? report - a national audit of youth music in Scotland – to “put music at the heart of young people’s lives and learning”.

Key findings from the evaluation show that since then, the programme has:

  • enabled young people across every local authority to take part in 300 projects each year covering all musical genres and teaching methods
  • engaged an estimated 150,000 young people in school based music making, and 76,000 in activity out of school (2014/15)
  • created over 1,000 jobs and more than 1,000 trainee opportunities (2014/15)
  • supported 2,200 people through training or career long personal development (2014/15)

Leonie Bell, Director, Arts and Engagement at Creative Scotland said: “Creative Scotland is committed to creative learning and ensuring everyone can access and enjoy artistic creative experiences. This evaluation provides positive confirmation of the special contribution the YMI programme is making by putting music at the heart of young people’s lives and learning.

“YMI provides valuable opportunities for Scotland’s young people to express themselves and achieve their potential in or through music making. Particular thanks and credit should be given to the committed, expert and passionate teachers and practitioners who skilfully and energetically support young people in their music making every day across the country.

“Our continuing strong partnership with all thirty two of Scotland’s local authorities enables the YMI to have a truly national reach. We look forward to working with YMIs many partners to share learning from this evaluation, build upon the success and to continually improve the programme for the benefit of Scotland’s young people.”

The report, commissioned by Creative Scotland to explore the impact of the YMI programme to date, was undertaken by ODS Consulting. The evaluation explored outcomes of the YMI through 12 project case studies including Bookbug, Orkney; Coco Music, Polmont; Drake Music Scotland, Aberdeenshire; Edinburgh Youth Music Forum, Edinburgh; Gorbals Youth Brass Band, Glasgow; Hot Chocolate Trust, Dundee; Music Plus, Glasgow; Primary Music Programme, East Renfrewshire; Mull Music Makers, Mull; The Big Drum Adventure, Scottish Borders; Traditional Music in Schools, Highlands; and Young Music Makers, Edinburgh – and discussions with young people and practitioners; survey responses from over 700 teachers and over 200 funded organisations; in depth interviews with over 30 funded organisations, and a review of reported outcomes through end of project forms submitted by funded projects.

A young participant from the Gorbals Youth Brass Band in Glasgow commented: “I used to be really shy and not do anything in front of others but the tutors just encouraged me and told me that no-one would laugh and everyone is the same, and it boosted my confidence.”

Kelsey Jubin, Creative Learning Manager at Scottish Borders Council commented on The Big Drum Adventure: “The Scottish Borders Council team are delighted that YMI has been able to support the provision of a wide range of engaging and creative music learning and experiences for primary pupils, pupils with additional needs and those at risk of disengagement from education across the Scottish Borders.”

A spokesperson from the Traditional Music in Schools project, delivered by Fèis Rois said: “There is such great reward in witnessing shy individual’s blossom into confident youngsters... their pride in what they have achieved in six short weeks can be humbling.”

With an annual budget of £10 million, by the end of 2015/16, Scottish Government funding support for the programme will be £117.5 million.

Cabinet Secretary for Culture and External Affairs Fiona Hyslop said: “The Scottish Government is committed to widening access and participation in the arts to everyone in Scotland. This evaluation shows that YMI is doing that, bringing music to a wider audience and helping to create a Fairer Scotland.

“This evaluation shows that YMI has an incredible reach, engaging with over 225,000 young people in and out of school over the last year, and engaging with groups which might otherwise only have limited opportunities to get involved in music making.

“It’s already supported a number of work opportunities and potential career pathways, with over 1,000 jobs and 1,000 trainee and volunteering opportunities supported over the last year, and over 2,200 people benefiting from training or career development.”

Read the full evaluation and find out more about the funding available via the Youth Music Initiative.

Youth Music Initiative Musicians with Cabinet Secretary Fiona Hyslop. Photo: Drew Farrell.

Fiona Hyslop, The Cabinet Secretary for Culture & Europe External Affairs pictured with L-R back row: Gus Harrower singer songwriter, piper Greg Norris, rapper Thomas Murray of Tinderbox Project and front row Amy Moar (with Harp) and Rhona Smith both from The Drake Music Scotland. Photo: Drew Farrell


Media enquiries

Helen Sim
Media Relations & PR Assistant
Creative Scotland
T: 0131 523 0019
M: 07801 226605

Notes to Editors

Youth Music Initiative (YMI) was established in 2003 to put music at the heart of young people’s lives and learning, in response to the ‘What’s Going On?’ evaluation, a national audit of youth music in Scotland. Creative Scotland administers the Scottish Government’s Youth Music Initiative (YMI) programme which works to: Create access to high quality music making opportunities for young people aged 0 – 25, particularly for those that would not normally have the chance to participate; enable young people to achieve their potential in or through music making; support the development of the youth music sector for the benefit of young people.

Find out more on our Youth Music Initiative page.

Creative Scotland is the public body that supports the arts, screen and creative industries across all parts of Scotland on behalf of everyone who lives, works or visits here. We enable people and organisations to work in and experience the arts, screen and creative industries in Scotland by helping others to develop great ideas and bring them to life. We distribute funding provided by the Scottish Government and the National Lottery. For further information about Creative Scotland please visit Follow us @creativescots and

ODS Consulting ODS provides consultancy and support to improve policy and strengthen communities. To find out more contact Katy MacMillan on 0141 424 3765, email: or visit