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Furthering Talent Project

Brighton & Hove Music & Arts continues to work with Awards for Young Musicians (AYM) on the Furthering Talent programme thanks to a grant from Youth Music.

Since September 2017 the programme has been piloting a new approach in the Brighton & Hove area working with two selected schools, Carlton Hill and West Blatchington Primaries, focusing on the retention of students and the influence of the wider school musical culture on student progress. The project has been overwhelmingly successful.. All students and teachers involved have been using a child-centred individual learning plan in their instrumental lessons (ILP). This has been supported by an extra-curricular programme outside lessons that encourages overall musical development.

In the first term we worked alongside The Jazz Warriors enabling children to experience a jazz improvisation workshop and discover six great jazz musicians. As part of this the children had the opportunity to perform in a jazz concert at the Brighton Dome.

Then in the spring term 2018 we worked in partnership with the Brighton Philharmonic Orchestra and the pupils experienced hearing a professional from the orchestra in their schools as well as attending an open rehearsal and concert.

The summer term involved a fantastic whole day composition workshop at each school with composer James Redwood. The theme was ‘Carnival of the Animals’ which pupils were introduced to through the concert and workshop with Brighton Philharmonic Orchestra.

This recent term the children again had an opportunity to work together with James Redwood but this time in a vocal project creating a very special commission for the Award For Young Musicians 20th anniversary concert. The pupils performed in their schools the song ‘Music’s at the Heart of Me’, which they wrote themselves, as well as being invited to perform at Wilton Hall in London alongside performers like saxophonist, and AYM trustee Jess Gillam and percussionist Tom Pritchard. The performance was incredible and the children came away buzzing from the experience.

Retention of existing instrumental learners has been high and there has been a good increase in the number of pupils opting to learn a musical instrument as a result of the programme. All pupils involved in this project have also been working towards their Arts Award Explore. Discussions are currently taking place about how the Furthering Talent will evolve in the coming year. We’ll be able to share more details with you in the next newsletter.

Alongside the Furthering Talent project AYM and BHMA have been trialling the use of child-centred targets based on the Furthering Talent model in whole group ‘Soundmakers’ projects. This has seen music leaders and pupils agreeing on three goals to work towards during the term. We’ll be able to report back on how that has gone next time.

In other news, AYM have launched their new CPD film resource, Practical Progression. There are 5 short films in the series and each was produced in partnership with one of the Music Education Hubs currently delivering the Furthering Talent programme. Brighton's film looks at exploring different musical journeys. You can find links to the films and more information about them in the Practical Progression flyer here.

For furthering information about Furthering Talent and Practical Progression in Brighton and Hove please contact Natasha Gawlinski, Local Coordinator, on

Photo credit: Edward Webb

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