Education & Skills

All Together Now

How The Commercial Music Industry Is Supporting Routes Into Music Education & Careers For Young People in England

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It is vital for the future of the UK music industry that educated, informed, diverse and talented young people join the sector every year.

That’s why the music industry works closely with Government, education institutions and other organisations to improve access to opportunities for children and young people to develop their skills and knowledge in order to help them build a career in music.

The music industry dedicates a significant contribution every year to supporting the education and career aspirations of young people across the country.

This may take the form of funding to education providers and organisations that support music career development, or it may be forming partnerships with industry, providing knowledge and guidance. It can also be professionals and creators offering their time to appear at events to speak to young people directly or creating resources and guidance for all to access.

The music industry will continue to work with Government, education leaders and other stakeholders to ensure that every young person has access to a high-quality musical education and the skills, training and advice they need to pursue a successful career in the music industry. This should be particularly focused on the most deprived areas of the country, because while talent is everywhere, opportunity is not.

UK Music, the collective voice of the UK’s music industry, represents all sectors of the industry – bringing them together to collaborate, campaign, and champion music.

UK Music’s Director of Education and Skills, engages directly with music education providers and the industry, including UK Music members, to ensure young people get the best and most up-to-date careers advice.

Education resources produced by UK Music are available on the UK Music website, and include the UK Music Careers Pack and dedicated job profiles about the roles available in the sector.

Outreach to meet and inspire the future music industry is also key. As such UK Music also runs a careers fair at BBC Music Introducing LIVE, which reaches 20,000 people interested in careers in the music industry. UK Music also has a significant presence at events such as the Skills Show in Birmingham that sees circa 70,000 young people attend each year.

With its members, UK Music has collated some examples of the support that the music industry provides to three important areas of education; music education institutions, wider education sector organisations and local music education organisations. These are all vital in helping the music industry develop its talent pipeline and the industry recognises their critical role.

Industry Working With Music Education Institutions

Music education institutions are a fantastic way for young people to develop the skills, experience, and knowledge that the industry needs that will place them in a strong position to get their first job in the music industry.

Music industry support can take the form of funding, assisting with course development, teaching the next generation at these institutions, or music industry experts contributing their time to talk to students.

Case Study 1: The BRIT School

The BRIT School, based in Croydon, London, is an example of a dedicated institution supported by the music industry and Government to provide free education for students aged 14-19 intending to pursue a career in the performing arts.

Those attending The BRIT School have access to a pioneering creative curriculum, alongside a full academic programme of GCSEs and A Levels.

It actively draws its students from across the social spectrum, with twice as many female attendees as male. 57% of students are from Black, Asian or other ethnic minority/global majority backgrounds.

The BPI, which founded and continues to fund The BRIT School via industry charity The BRIT Trust, is evaluating how its experience with the school can be drawn on to boost music education, in particular its track record in providing access and opportunity to those from socially disadvantaged backgrounds.

Find out more about the work of The BRIT School here. 

Case Study 2: City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra (CBSO) and Shireland Collegiate Academy Trust

In the West Midlands, the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra is working with Shireland Collegiate Academy Trust to deliver the first secondary school in the country to be sponsored by an orchestra.

It will open for Year 7 and Year 12 pupils in 2023, growing to a maximum capacity of 870 students aged 11-18 by 2026. It marks a radical new approach to music education, innovatively addressing the much-publicised decline in the position of creative arts in many schools.

Read more about the CBSO here and Shireland Collegiate Academy Trust here.

Case Study 3: Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts (LIPA)

Founded by Sir Paul McCartney, LIPA’s Lead Patron and Mark Featherstone-Witty OBE, the Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts (LIPA) is a leading performing arts higher education institution.

It provides learning for the main skills needed for putting on a show (performers and those who make performance possible) and offers degree courses in a range of subjects such as management of music and music and sound technology.

Over the most recent four-year period, 89% of LIPA’s graduates are in work four years after leaving, while 78% work in the performing arts.

Patrons of LIPA include Joan Armatrading, producer and engineer Glyn Johns, Mark Knopfler, Carly Simon, Toyah Willcox and more.

Read more here. 

Industry Working With The Wider Education Sector

The music industry works closely with the wider education sector, including further education and higher education providers, to ensure that the education and training of the future industry workforce is as relevant to modern industry practices as possible.

Case Study 1: UK Music’s Music Academic Partnership (MAP)

UK Music’s Music Academic Partnership is a ground-breaking collaboration between educational institutions and the membership of UK Music.

Its focus is on linking industry and academia more effectively, to nurture collaborative projects such as research and careers events, inform and engage with the next generation of industry professionals, develop expert knowledge-base to feed into education and skills policy work, and, provide individuals who want to build careers out of their passion for music with extra opportunities.

Find out more about MAP here.

Case Study 2: Technology in Music Education (TiME)

TiME was founded by producers and engineers keen to support children developing an interest in music technology from an early age.

The organisation raises awareness of the potential of music technology in education, with Government, Hubs, schools and with teachers and run events such as Connectivity to Careers.

They also supply relevant and appropriate training for teachers and train practitioners as peripatetic teachers. They also encourage inclusivity and gender balance the music technology.

Read more here.

Case Study 3: Production Futures

Production Futures has grown from an annual careers event to a campaign that shows young people how to work in the live music industry.

It runs hybrid events, for young people to learn, train, network and develop careers in production across all aspects of live, virtual and hybrid events, music, touring, theatre, TV, broadcast and film.

Industry partners include The Institute of Sound, Communications and Visual Engineers, PSA, a trade body for those in the live event production industry, and UK Music, among many others.

Find out more here.

Case Study 4: Creative Careers Programme

The music industry played a key role in the development of the Creative Careers Programme, which saw the sector develop an assistant recording technician apprenticeship.

The Creative Careers Programme won the Career Development Institute’s UK Careers Development Award for Innovative Employer Engagement in 2021.

Read more here.

Case Study 5: globalbridge’s Future Stars

Future Stars, an annual event hosted by globalbridge, a pioneering EdTech platform built by teachers, which levels the playing field of opportunity for industry, university and colleges, allowing engagement with young people of ability from any background.

UK Music have worked closely with globalbridge on Future Stars as well as stand-alone music careers events throughout the year.

Read more here.

Case Study 6: The WRD

The Ivors Academy is launching a new two-year diploma in Creative Entrepreneurship for students aged 19 years and over. TheWRD is a further education course offering young people the chance of building a career, with the first intake starting in September 2022.

Read more here.

Case Study 7: JAMES

Joint Audio Media Education Support (JAMES) was created in 2006 by the Music Producers’ Guild (MPG) and the Association of Professional Recording Studios (APRS).

JAMES is comprised of music and media industry professionals who bring specialist knowledge and experience to The JAMES Course Accreditation Scheme, careers advice and specialist support for universities, students and parents.

JAMES Course Accreditation is viewed as a marker of added-value and quality which provides assurance to prospective students, parents and employers.

Read more here. 

Industry Developing Partnerships With Local Music Organisations

Industry and Government will continue to work together to strengthen and to grow effective partnerships and projects. These partnerships will increase the provision of music education and careers development across England, so that more young people can gain access to the opportunities that will help them enter the music industry.

Case Study 1: PRS Foundation Talent Development Partners

PRS Foundation is supported by PRS for Music, a UK Music member, and is one of the UK’s leading charitable funders of new music and talent development across all genres.

The organisation supports organisations from across the UK that have been selected as PRS Foundation Talent Development Partners.

These organisations are working at the frontline of talent development in the UK, supporting a broad range of individual music creators across different music genres and UK regions.

Organisations have included Heart n Soul, Jazz re:freshed Ltd, Manchester Jazz Festival, Oh Yeah Music Centre, Punch Records, Saffron Records C.I.C, South Asian Arts-UK, The Tin Music and Arts, Tomorrow’s Warriors, and Tŷ Cerdd.

Read more here.

Case Study 2: NEKO Trust

Based in London, NEKO Trust provides education, training, mentoring, shadowing and employment pathways.

Their ambition is to help the industry achieve a diverse, skilled, dynamic workforce representative of the UK population.

It was founded by Glen Rowe, a successful tour manager, who has worked with the likes of Manic Street Preachers and Muse.

Read more here.

Case Study 3: Music:Leeds

Music:Leeds acts as a centralised point to support, develop, grow and promote music in the city across all levels, genres and cultures.

They run projects, events, workshops, create networking opportunities, and signpost information on music in Leeds and work with individuals, artists, musicians, local organisations and businesses, funding bodies, local and national government and national music industry bodies.

They also deliver sessions on how to build a career in the music industry, which are aimed at 14-18-year-olds in full-time education.

Music: Leeds was founded by Samuel Nicholls, a musician, promoter, venue manager, artist manager and record label owner in the city.  He now works as lecturer in music at Leeds Beckett University and is an advisor for PRS Foundation and Arts Council England and is part of the Artistic Programme Advisory group for Leeds 2023.

Read more about Music:Leeds here.

What More Can The Music Industry Do?

Industry and Government will continue to work together to strengthen and to grow effective partnerships and projects. These partnerships will increase the provision of music education and careers development across England, so that more young people can gain access to the opportunities that will help them enter the music industry.

Improving Coordination of Initiatives to Increase Provision

The initiatives listed are all examples of excellent work going on across the sector, however, there is more that can be done to ensure better coordination of resources to support more people keen to develop their talents.

The Government and the music industry commit to working together to improve the coordination among these great initiatives and ensuring that they reach as many young people as possible.

Boosting Access to Learning an Instrument

There are several organisations across the music industry dedicated to supporting music education and providing young people with musical opportunities.

Examples include Restore The Music, which funds the provision of musical instruments and tuition for children in state education, and the Cavatina Music Trust pays for thousands of young people to hear professional chamber music performances across the country.

The music industry is committed to working with organisations like these to expand their footprint and help ensure more young people have access to these sorts of potentially life-changing musical opportunities.

Read more about Restore the Music here and Cavatina Music Trust here.

Scaling Up Regional Activity

There are hugely successful industry initiatives taking place in parts of England that could be scaled across the country.

An example is Amplify London, the London Music Fund’s latest programme, launched in February 2020, in collaboration with YouTube Music and Sound Connections.

It supports grassroots organisations that are providing musical activities for young people in London, by funding specific local projects and helping organisations to forge links with the music industry and the music education sector.

The music industry will look at establishing more strategic partnerships that can expand and scale these types of projects across the whole country, to ensure they benefit as many young people as possible.

Read more about London Music Fund here.

The UK Music Rehearsal Space Project has supported a number of rehearsal spaces in urban and rural areas across the nation.

Established with government funding in 2009, each space provides instruments and equipment for young people to use and play with for free or for minimal cost.

This network enabled the establishment of spaces like the Pump in Birmingham, which engages 7,500 young people every year and provides experiences and opportunities in disadvantaged areas.

With more funding, the UK Music Rehearsal Space Project has the potential to be expanded and enhanced, and Government will be working with the industry to consider how to ensure more young people have access to these sorts of opportunities.

UK Music continues to support the network by offering assistance with grant applications and other advice.

Digital Opportunities

UK Music has worked with The ERIC App, which is a new platform that allows companies of all sizes to be part of the career education of students while they are studying at school or university.

UK Music also collaborated with the Intellectual Property Office and world-famous animators Aardman to develop the Music Inc app to support better understanding of career chances in music.

UK Music has worked closely with CareerMap on special editions of their CareerMag to highlight the many career opportunities in music. The editions were released during the height of the pandemic and were shared digitally with a readership of 250,000.

The music industry will continue to explore opportunities for involvement in digital initiatives to support music education and expand its reach and engagement as widely as possible.

Volunteering

Many industry professionals volunteer their time to careers-based initiatives. This can include participating in Speakers for Schools, as well as informal outreach, or developing their own content such as artist Emma McGann. She makes available free online resources for those wanting to develop careers in the industry.

Read more about Speakers for Schools here and see Emma McGann’s videos here.

Supporting Mental Health and Wellbeing

The music sector recognises that there can be challenges to developing a career within the music industry that can impact physical and mental health, as well as general wellbeing.

With around 70% of those working in the sector being self-employed it is in particular vital that the sector is responsive to the needs of musicians and others and provides adequate support.

Organisations such as the Musicians’ Union, BAPAM, Help Musicians and Music Support perform a vital role in this regard.

Increase Diversity Across the Sector

The music industry is dedicated to improving fair entry points and progression across the sector.

UK Music’s Diversity Taskforce continually maps diversity across the music industry for those with protected characteristics to monitor action that needs to be taken to support careers in this way.

The Ten-Point Plan was launched in 2020 and set a number of ambitious targets that UK Music members are now delivering on.

Conclusion

The UK music industry contributed £5.8 billion to the economy pre-pandemic and supported almost 200,000 jobs. To continue its recovery and to reach new heights, the sector relies on the talent that emerges through the pipeline of music education to produce the next generation of musicians, producers, songwriters, crew and the vast array of other roles in the sector.

However, music education is not just vital to ensuring the industry remains one of the powerhouses of the UK economy, it is also crucial to the mental health and wellbeing of our children and young people, as well as their neurodevelopment. UK Music outlined in its Power of Music report published in partnership with Music for Dementia the powerful way that music can play in improving our nation’s health. You can read more about the report here.

The music industry is a national asset that should be accessible to all and UK Music, and its members, will continue to work hard to improve music education provision to ensure the next generation of talent is the best yet.

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