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New Funds enable Scotland’s young people to access music-making activities during COVID-19 pandemic

Published: 19 Jun 2020

Guitar Tuition Session - Kate Kyle with mentor Andrea GobbiImage - Tuition Session, Kate Kyle with mentor Andrea Gobbi, courtesy of Scottish Music Centre, Credit: Colin Tennant

Young people across Scotland are set to access a wide range of music making activities and opportunities thanks to £1.3m funding through Creative Scotland with backing from the Scottish Government’s Youth Music Initiative (YMI).

Online concerts, virtual tuition sessions, networking and development opportunities, as well as tailored mentoring programmes are among over 40 projects and activities led by a wide range of groups and individuals, and including professional development and training for core, support staff and trainees, receiving support in the latest round of YMI funding.

The Scottish Music Centre’s Scotland–wide mentoring project, MusicPlus is offering independent music makers aged 14-19 opportunities to gain skills, knowledge and confidence, through working with professional music industry mentors and participating in group music activities with peers.

Responding to COVID-19 restrictions, MusicPlus has transferred mentoring and group sessions, as well as its wide range of instrument and DJ technique tuition, and music production tutorials, onto online platforms.

The popular recording studio sessions will also involve young musicians working collaboratively from different locations. Seminar gatherings, encouraging collaboration and peer-support among like-minded young people and a series of workshops and masterclasses, will also move online.

While schools and colleges are closed, MusicPlus has launched a new digital resource page, covering topics from music production to instrument tuition for all skill levels. An online coursework series on song writing and music production will also be available.

Gill Maxwell, Executive Director, Scottish Music Centre said: “Music and music-making is so important for well-being, even more so given the current restrictions and the sense of isolation particularly affecting young people. Our MusicPlus participants age 14-19, from the Highlands to the Borders and all points in between, are used to face-to face, one-to-one mentoring, tailored to their own ambitions and needs, with an established music mentor supporting and advising them.

“The MusicPlus team and I were determined, from the outset of the Covid-19 restrictions, to establish new ways of keeping our community of young musicians connected with their mentors-and each other-and we’ve used the best available series of online resources as our conduit.”

Music industry events specialists Wide Events CIC will also be rolling out a digital programme of online events and resources designed to support and guide young musicians and budding music industry professionals take their next steps in the industry.

The online events will culminate in Off The Record, a day-long event for 16-25 year olds, planned for Autumn/Winter 2020 featuring seminars, discussions, interactive workshops, networking activities, and a public performance featuring a range of young musicians..

Michael Lambert, Director, Wide Events CIC said: "Off The Record exists to give young musicians and the next generation of industry professionals access to the most relevant, up to date and practical advice to help take their next steps. We're excited to be able to continue the programme in 2020 with support from YMI. Though the coronavirus pandemic has presented a number of new challenges, we plan to use the opportunity to enhance our digital offering helping even more young people across the country gain access to vital information from people currently working in the music sector."

The Scottish Brass Band Association’s year-long programme will focus on developing and supporting Scotland’s  fifty youth brass bands  through youth training and professional development for adults working with young brass players (building on the success of the National Youth Brass Band of Scotland (NYBBS)) and  the establishment of a Transition Brass Band for talented young musicians in further education.

Although the NYBBS summer residential course has been cancelled due to the Covid-19 restrictions, course organisers are collaborating with tutors and conductors to host an online concert featuring performances from students, to be broadcast on YouTube at 3pm Saturday 8 August.

The NYBBS are also hosting online video tutorials, offering encouragement, advice and musical expertise, including composition tutorials featuring Scottish conductor and composer Alan Fernie, who has been commissioned to write a special piece of music for the concert.

Carrie Boax, President, Scottish Brass Band Association, said: “Whilst it has been challenging since March to deliver activities, through the support of staff and seeking to constantly work in innovative ways, we are very grateful to be able to offer young Scottish brass and percussion players an alternative programme of summer activities for NYBBS, as well as  professional development activities for adults, developing new compositions and continuing to progress with our successful start-up and transition projects. None of this would be possible without our YMI funding.”

Creative Scotland’s Youth Music Initiative Manager, Morag Macdonald said: ”YMI funding is an essential part of the youth music ecosystem in Scotland, and is so important to ensuring that young people can access high quality music making opportunities.

“Whilst the current circumstances are immensely challenging, it's fantastic to see the dedication and expertise of Scotland's youth music sector bringing important opportunities to young people in new ways."

Find out more about The Youth Music Initiative

YMI Awards Summary

Download the full details of the awards in Excel spreadsheet format.