£1.6million to support young people’s access to music making

Published: 08 Mar 2018

Youth Music Initiative - Fiona Hyslop launches 2018-19 fund

Over £1.6 million has been awarded to 48 organisations from across Scotland to enable young people to access music making.

Through the Youth Music Initiative (YMI) Access to Music-Making fund, individual awards of between £4,500 and £90,000 are helping 0-25 year olds who wouldn’t ordinarily have the chance to take part in music-making activities, develop music skills for life, learning and work, and benefit their happiness and well-being.

It gave me the chance to perform in a number of situations that wouldn’t otherwise have been possible. YMI has helped shape what I do massively.- YMI participant Robbie

Among the awards, in Glasgow The Glad Foundation will deliver a two-year, after school drumming project, offering bespoke music making opportunities for marginalised young people in Govanhill.

In the Scottish Borders, Escape Youth Services received funding to support Hawick Music Initiative, a music making programme of activity aimed at 9-18 year olds in Teviot and Liddesdale, offering specialist led music workshops, a rehearsal space and taster/outreach sessions to engage young people and especially those most vulnerable in the community.

Sian Snowdon, Voluntary Youth Work Services Manager (Teviot) at Escape Youth Services said: “This grant allows us to grow on the initial work we carried out last year in developing the skills of those already involved further but also to engage new young people in a wide range of new and exciting experiences. Other than music in school, many of our young people do not participate in any music related activity and can face additional barriers to participation such as cost and travel, the project enables us to overcome these challenges and encourage continued involvement as well as establishing our own kit and upskilling staff so work can continue the work beyond the length of the grant.”

Youth Community Support Agency

In the Highlands, Hands on Studios has received funding to offer young musicians from the rural Highlands and Islands their first experience in a professional recording studio to make a demo, create new work, and/or develop their skills.

Hector MacInnes, Creative Director, Hands on Studios said: "We're delighted to be able to provide this opportunity to young musicians in the Highlands and Islands. Being able to explore the possibilities that a studio space provides can be extremely challenging when you are based in an area such as this, but over the last few years we've seen that young music makers here are as courageous, talented and technologically adventurous as they are everywhere in the country. We can't wait to hear who comes through the studio door and are lookingforward to learning as much from them as they do from us!".

In Tarbert, Templar Arts and Leisure Centre has received funding to deliver Soundjects and Resonant Spaces, a project designed to give access to contemporary ways of music making and to develop skills of young people in electronic music and sound.

Behind The Noise

Sistema Scotland has received funding to deliver the next phase in the Big Noise Programme, enabling a new generation of children in Raploch, Govanhill and Douglas to access Big Noise, offering an inclusive, immersive and intensive programme of high quality, out of school music making.

Nicola Killean, CEO of Sistema Scotland said: "We are delighted Creative Scotland has awarded Youth Music Initiative funding to Sistema Scotland, enabling us to extend our Big Noise programmes to a new generation of children who will be accessing the inclusive, immersive and intensive programmes of high quality, out of school music making for the first time. This is an important transition point for the children as independent evaluation shows long term engagement with the Big Noise programme has the potential to transform lives."


Sense Scotland have received funding to support their Sensatronic Sessions, a project which builds upon and expands their successful Sensatronic Lab Project. Sensatronic Sessions aims to increase access to digital music sessions across Scotland for young people who have additional support needs and other barriers, the project will also include unique CPD training sessions for professionals and carers.

David McCluskey, Music Tutor at Sense Scotland said:

“This funding gives us a fabulous opportunity to inspire more young person led musical innovation and embrace diversity in this recognised Year of Young People with focus on areas of Scotland, which currently lack such opportunities.”


YMI Access to Music Making Awards 2017-18

Download the 2017-18 list of YMI Access to Music Making Awards, in Excel format.

The funding announced coincides with the publication of a new report revealing the positive and wide-reaching impact on young people of the nationwide Youth Music Initiative during 2016-17.

The report was launched by Cabinet Secretary Fiona Hyslop as she visited Longstone Primary School’s Music from Scratch project in Edinburgh.

Music from Scratch has been developed in Edinburgh schools through the YMI and combines music and technology. The project helps young people to play and make musical games and have fun with coding.

Music From Scratch - Fiona Hyslop Launches Youth Music Initiative

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 recent impact report show that over the past year:

  • Approximately 244,000 young people took part in YMI activity in 2016/17.
  • At least 202,000 took part in school-based activity and at least 42,000 in out of school activity.
  • All 32 local authorities (and Jordanhill School) had achieved the P6 target of offering all pupils a year’s free music tuition by the end of primary six.
  • The breakdown of participants in out of school projects was broadly split between young men (52%) and young women (48%). A high number of out of school projects proactively targeted young people living in deprived areas and young people with additional support needs.
  • The YMI supported more than 1,200 jobs in 2015/16, most of which were temporary, part time jobs.
  • The YMI provided 250 volunteering opportunities and 300 traineeships.
  • Over 4,500 individuals were involved in continuing professional development activity over the year.

Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop said:

“The Youth Music Initiative is introducing music to thousands of young people who might otherwise only have limited opportunities to get involved in music making.

“The report provides clear evidence that young people enjoyed their YMI activities, making them feel happy, involved, excited and motivated. It demonstrates the importance of culture in supporting young people to develop their skills for life and learning and building confidence and self-esteem.

“The YMI has already helped ensure every pupil across the whole of Scotland are offered a year’s free music tuition by the end of P6, and as we celebrate Year of Young People, we have committed a further £9 million funding to the initiative in 2018/19. “

Claire Byers, Interim Director of Arts and Engagement at Creative Scotland said:

“We’re delighted to announce this new round of awards alongside a wide-ranging report demonstrating the impact of the Youth Music Initiative. The report by Research Scotland sets out a year’s worth of inspiring music activity taking place across Scotland, in schools and in communities. These new awards to community projects show that this work is continuing in the Year of Young People. YMI achieves its goal of increasing opportunities for young people thanks to thousands of talented and dedicated musicians, class teachers, tutors and coordinators working with young learners and helping to boost their skills and aspirations.”

YMI participant Robbie from East Dunbartonshire said:

“I wanted to improve my skills and have the opportunity to explore different types of music that I wouldn’t have been able to at school. It gave me the chance to perform in a number of situations that wouldn’t otherwise have been possible. YMI has helped shape what I do massively.”

Media Contact

Eilidh Walker, Media Relations and PR Assistant, Creative Scotland
T: 0131 523 0019
M: 07535 402 064