'What's Going On?' and the Youth Music Initiative

Submitting Institution

Royal Conservatoire of Scotland

Unit of Assessment

Music, Drama, Dance and Performing Arts

Summary Impact Type


Research Subject Area(s)

Education: Specialist Studies In Education
Studies In Human Society: Policy and Administration, Sociology

Download original


Summary of the impact

In 2003, the publication of What's Going On? was greeted by a banner headline on the front page of The Herald newspaper, reporting one of its findings: `100,000 children denied access to music tuition'. The Youth Music Initiative (YMI) was established in response to this report and is the national funding and development programme for young people's music in Scotland. Since its inception in 2003, it has funded Scottish local authorities to provide initial music making experiences in schools, and has supported local and national music initiatives in the informal sector, allowing many young people to make music who would not otherwise have done so. The impact of the research has been to shape and inform the Scottish Government's youth music policies and the roll-out of £97.5m investment in this area; it remains a foundation for policy, planning and funding of youth music across Scotland.

Underpinning research

What's Going On? (Scottish Arts Council, 2003) offered new and substantially improved insights into young people's music making in Scotland, based on original research. It was commissioned by the Scottish Arts Council, Youth Music UK and the Musicians' Union and was coauthored by Broad (researcher in the present submission), Professor Celia Duffy and David Price OBE. The initial phase of research resulting in the publication of What's Going On? was conducted between June 2002 and January 2003 and comprised a systematic investigation of young people's music making in Scotland, taking in all genres of music and a wide range of contexts for playing (excluding the school classroom).

The report's commissioners required an evidence base upon which to develop future Scottish policy on music provision for young people and the report made a series of recommendations based on both qualitative and quantitative data drawn from a wide range of stakeholders, including young people themselves. Data collection methods included a range of questionnaires targeted at different stakeholders (n=716), focus groups throughout Scotland (n=40), and 50 key informant interviews. Over 230 youth music groups provided quantitative data on their activities and further insights were gained from a `National Youth Music Seminar' held at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama (as the Conservatoire then was) in November 2002.

Following publication of the report the researchers continued to work in partnership with the Scottish Arts Council, for example, designing the formula for distributing money to Local Authorities. Subsequent major commissions included research and production of the National Youth Music Strategy (2006), and a further report on the professional development and training of those who work with young people through music A Sound Investment: Workforce Development in Music Education (2003). This relationship continues at the time of writing, with Broad's secondment in 2012 to Creative Scotland (the successor organisation to the Scottish Arts Council) as lead researcher in the development of Time To Shine: Scotland's Youth Arts Strategy, which was launched by Fiona Hyslop, Cabinet Secretary for Culture and External Affairs, in November 2013.

References to the research

The key output of this research is:

Broad, Duffy and Price, What's Going On? (Edinburgh: Scottish Arts Council, 2003).
http://www.scottisharts.org.uk/resources/publications/research/pdf/RES4%20What's%20Going%20 On-%20Youth%20Music%20Audit.pdf

It was commissioned by a partnership comprising the Scottish Arts Council, Youth Music and the Musicians' Union in and open competitive tender.

It has been cited in various applied contexts, and governmental documents, including:

http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Publications/2005/09/2783815/38244 (Delivering the Arts in Scottish Schools)

It has also been cited in UG reading lists:

And in commercial research for sectoral stakeholders:
http://www.learningandchange.co.uk/documents/MMS%20Young%20People%20%20Evaluation%20Report%202008.pdf (Making Music Scotland evaluation)

It is summarized in Ruiz, A Literature Review of the Evidence Base for Culture, the Arts and Sport (Edinburgh: Scottish Executive, 2004).

Additional outputs of the research are:

Broad, Duffy and Gardner, A Sound Investment: Workforce Development in Music Education (Edinburgh: Scottish Arts Council, 2003).
http://www.scottisharts.org.uk/resources/publications/research/pdf/A%20Sound%20Investm ent%20Final%20Report.pdf

[no authors given], National Youth Music Strategy 2006-2008 (Edinburgh: Scottish Arts Council, 2006).

[no authors given], Time To Shine: Scotland's National Youth Arts Strategy (Edinburgh: Creative Scotland, 2013).

Details of the impact

What's Going On? (WGO) was the basis of an ongoing 10-year investment of £97.5m from the Scottish Government for the Youth Music Initiative (YMI), managed initially by the Scottish Arts Council and latterly by Creative Scotland. It was highly influential in shaping and informing successive Scottish governments' policies towards to youth music and remains a foundation for policy, planning and funding of youth music across Scotland.

Since 2005-6, £10m has been disbursed each year by the YMI, £8m by means of the formula designed by the research team of WGO to Scottish local authorities, and a further £2m through individual awards made by Creative Scotland.

A key recommendation of WGO was that there should be advocacy for `youth music opportunities, as an entitlement, for all young people in Scotland' and that `ways of targeting support to Primary schools' should be sought. The YMI took this up, with the principal target that every child in Scotland would receive a year's free music tuition by the end of Primary 6 (the so-called `P6 target'). According to Creative Scotland's data, this has been achieved. £8m per annum is now spent to sustain this target year on year.

WGO recommended the foundation of funding schemes `to support strategic priorities within the informal sectors'. £2m per annum is disbursed to a wide range of organisations and individuals for these `informal' activities, which take place outwith the context of formal education. WGO argued for the establishment of `different levels of funding schemes including easy-to-access awards schemes for smaller projects and longer-term schemes for sustaining successful existing projects'. This approach was taken up in the YMI: as of May 2013, there had been 379 successful awards to the Access to Music Making / Small & Large Grant funds, totalling £5.93m and leveraging £3.76m in partnership funding (of which £2.37m has been in cash contributions).

WGO recommended `work with strategic partners ... to raise awareness of participatory music', and the YMI has worked with, and disbursed significant sums to, a number of partners to achieve this. These include The Scottish Brass Band Association, the Scottish Premier League Trust's Music Box and the Scottish Music Centre. Singing emerged as a particularly weak aspect of Scottish youth music in WGO, and the YMI has worked closely with the National Youth Choir of Scotland since its inception, broadening its remit and significantly increasing its reach across Scotland.

WGO highlighted that early years music was a major gap in provision in 2002. The YMI's response to this finding in funding the Scottish Book Trust's Bookbug Rhymetimes initiative provides a good illustration of the reach and significance of the impact of the YMI, which has supported these music and language sessions for the very young (usually held in local libraries) since 2007; since 2008 over 900 Bookbug Session Leaders have been trained across all 32 Scottish local authorities, resulting in more than a million attendances at Bookbug sessions.

WGO highlighted the lack of funding opportunities for young rock and pop musicians in 2002. The YMI responded to this by developing schemes to support burgeoning stars: In 2012-13 it funded opportunities for 73 young bands to record their first demo in a professional environment, taking the total number of young bands to benefit from this programme to 396.

The number of young people on whom the YMI has had an impact is very large: Creative Scotland report that there were over 1.7 million recorded attendances at YMI funded programmes between the 2003-4 and 2010-11 (when detailed monitoring of this kind ceased). The effect on the employment context for music leaders has been similarly significant, with (for example) 194.94 FTE staff (586 individuals) employed by local authorities through YMI funding in 2007-8.

Sources to corroborate the impact

Report on YMI Year 5 (2007-8)

A detailed evaluation of the impact of the YMI in the first year of this REF assessment period, referring to the `P6 target' and What's Going On?

Creative Scotland's Quick Guide to the YMI (available on request)

A brief summary, providing an up-to-date account of the YMI. Refers to What's Going On?

Ministerial letter from the Cabinet Secretary for Culture and External Affairs

A written ministerial response, referring to What's Going On? and the YMI.

Factual Statement from Ian Smith, Portfolio Manager, Creative Scotland, Member of the European Music Council and former Scotland and Northern Ireland Organiser for the Musicians' Union, explaining the material link between the underpinning research and the resulting impacts.

Factual Statement from Paul Wood, Instrumental Music Service Manager, East Ayrshire Council and Chair, Heads of Instrumental Teaching Scotland, describing the impact of the YMI on school music making in Scotland, with specific examples from East Ayrshire Council.

Report of the Instrumental Music Group

A recent report, noting the impact of the YMI.

References in parliamentary debates or committee sessions

http://www.scottish.parliament.uk/parliamentarybusiness/28862.aspx?r=5137&i=45005&c= 1002495&s=!!Youth%20Music%20Initiative (2010 response from the Minister)

http://www.scottish.parliament.uk/parliamentarybusiness/28862.aspx?r=7551&i=68922&c= 0&s=!!Youth%20Music%20Initiative!! (2012 statement from the Minister on the impact of the YMI, and confirmation that the YMI will continue)