A Northern Ireland music charity is to play a key part in a £100,000 drive to keep youngsters across the UK playing their instruments.

Belfast-based Oh Yeah is one of just ten UK projects to win funding from Elevate – a pioneering programme jointly launched by the Associated Board of Royal Schools of Music exam board and its four Royal Schools of Music partners after a national report revealed that large numbers of young musicians were abandoning their instruments.

ABRSM chief executive Michael Elliott said: “We know that cost and lack of opportunity stop too many children from continuing with their music – especially between primary and secondary schools – and we want to know how we can tackle this.

“We know from Oh Yeah that there are fewer opportunities for young Belfast musicians who have talent and enthusiasm to take their interests outside of school to develop skills in writing, performance and recording – so that’s what the Oh Yeah Project will be looking at.”

The Elevate programme will share out £100,000 across ten projects in the UK. Oh Yeah will use its funding to pilot an after school club for 10 to 14-year-olds from areas of the city where there are fewer music opportunities. The sessions will culminate in recording of an EP or album themed around the experiences of young people in Northern Ireland.

Charlotte Dryden of Oh Yeah said: “The sessions will be about music but also provide a real opportunity for those involved to use their talent to explore the issues which impact on the lives of young people across Northern Ireland today. They’re about developing musical talent but also exploring a sense of place.”

The other nine Elevate projects will take place in London, Cornwall, North Wales, Glasgow, Ayrshire, Lancashire, Manchester, Wolverhampton and Bradford. Different projects will look at ways of involving young people in shaping their own music learning and building the skills of music educators through CPD and apprenticeships.

They will stimulate new partnerships between schools, charities and the industry and will test the impact of everything from composition and group learning methods to use of technology, community events and cross genre workshops.

The ABRSM – the world’s leading music examination board – launched the programme with its four Royal Schools partners – Royal Academy of Music, Royal College of Music, Royal Northern College of Music and the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland – after last year’s Music Commission report showed that lack of opportunity and cost were stopping too many children from taking their music further.
Lessons learned from the ten projects will be used to guide the efforts of organisations working with young people in music.

Nadia Duncan

Author: Nadia Duncan

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