We recently welcomed 20 young musicians to The Music Lab, an action research project that examines how Youth Voice can be embedded in music-making practices within classical music education, with a view to opening up classical music to participation from a wider range of groups in society.


The 3 sessions were delivered in partnership with Sound Connections, Lewisham Music, and Dr. Anna Bull from the University of York and started off by introducing young people to principles of Youth Voice, exploring why it is important for democratic participation and inclusion. Young people analysed their current musical practice to identify where Youth Voice already exists and exploring in what ways their music-making could further incorporate Youth Voice.


Who are Sound Connections?




Led by musical facilitator, Isabella Mayne, together with a youth worker, Jacob Sakil, the workshops saw groups of young people and their teachers set up musical projects and activities that address the points that were identified within young people’s musical practice as being supportive of Youth Voice.


The workshops closed with each of the groups returning to the question of where Youth Voice could or does exist within young people’s musical practices, and everyone reflected on what has or hasn’t worked as part of this process.


The days were full of energy, insights, and great music! Many thanks to everyone who was involved.


“Everyone is a teacher in their own right and, as important as it is for a child to learn from an adult, it is just as important for adults to learn from children. The worst thing that an adult can do is to be ignorant to the fact that children have ideas and opinions about Music. The most important thing about this toolkit is that even though adults ran the course, the children were given the chance to experiment and try new things. This was very powerful as we had a musical space where our ideas were listened to.”

Emmerson Sutton, age 15 – The Music Lab participant



The toolkit

The output of this research is a toolkit: which aims to provide practical tools for practitioners to explore and/or enhance Youth Voice engagement within their practice. The toolkit comprises ideas and activities used during The Music Lab course, and seeks to provide inspiration and resources for instrumental teachers, class music teachers, ensemble leaders and other musicians and teachers working in the classical music education sector. Please click the button below to have a read.


The Music Lab toolkit


Some photos from the sessions


Upcoming projects

Watch this space. We hope to run similar projects to The Music Lab in the future. Make sure you join our mailing list and be first to hear about them, and don’t forget to follow us on our socials.


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If you’d like to read more about the impact of our work or if you’d like to make some music with us then check out ‘Taking part’ and ‘Our impact’ below.