Media Release: Report reveals positive impact of Youth Music Initiative on young people in Aberdeenshire

Picture shows :

Fiona Hyslop, The Cabinet Secretary for Culture & Europe External Affairs pictured with young performers and musicians at the Youth Music Initiative Evaluation Event in The Studio Edinburgh Festival Theatre, Edinburgh, Scotland.

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A NEW report published today reveals the positive and wide reaching impact on young people in Aberdeenshire, of the Youth Music Initiative (YMI).

Funded by the Scottish Government and administered by Creative Scotland, the YMI was established in 2003 in response to the What’s Going On? report – a national audit of youth music in Scotland – to ‘put music at the heart of young people’s lives and learning’.

With YMI funding, Aberdeenshire Council and Drake Music Scotland have been working in partnership over the past three years, to provide music classes and tuition to hundreds of pupils with additional support needs.

Three Drake Music Scotland Associate Musicians run the programme at four special schools, one primary school and one secondary school.

Jenna Main, YMI co-ordinator, Aberdeenshire Council, said: “Aberdeenshire has a rich heritage of creating music, and thanks to YMI we are able to offer a diverse range of music making opportunities to children and young people across the whole of Aberdeenshire.

“One of our priorities is to support children and young people with significant additional support needs to participate in music performance and composition. With YMI funding we have been able to invest in new technology and work with partners like Drake Music Scotland.

“Using approaches which reflect individual needs, we are able to provide a fully-inclusive music programme breaking barriers to music education.

“Through the programme, all pupils have received 15 weeks of music teaching with an Associate Musician and access to a variety of instruments, equipment and technology to suit different needs and capabilities.”

Ms Main continued: “The sessions have introduced young people to a variety of instruments and equipment designed or adapted to their needs. This includes ‘soundbeam’ technology, a device that uses sensor technology to translate body movement into music and sound, and ‘Figurenotes’, an inclusive system for reading music based on colours and shapes.

“Participants have been able to perform to their peers in their own schools and take part in an annual summer show; contribute towards planning and delivering lessons; compose music themselves, decide which instruments to play and the style of music to perform.”

A representative from Drake Music Scotland commented: “Music is something they can really achieve at, rather than reading or writing or learning music under conventional methods. Our technology allows them to do that.”

Another representative said: “[The success is] finding something that anyone can do all together and can all contribute on an equal level.”

The Report, A Retrospective and 2014/15 Evaluation of the Youth Music Initiative, commissioned by Creative Scotland to explore the impact of the nationwide YMI programme to date, was undertaken by ODS Consulting.

The evaluation explored outcomes of the YMI through 12 project case studies across Scotland including Drake Music Scotland, Aberdeenshire, and discussions with young people and practitioners; survey responses from over 700 teachers and over 200 funded organisations; in-depth interviews with over 30 funded organisations, and a review of reported outcomes through end of project forms submitted by funded projects.

Key findings from the evaluation show that since then, the programme has:

  • enabled young people across every local authority to take part in 300 projects each year covering all musical genres and teaching methods
  • engaged an estimated 150,000 young people in school based music making, and 76,000 in activity out of school (2014/15)
  • created over 1,000 jobs and more than 1,000 trainee opportunities (2014/15)
  • supported 2,200 people through training or career long personal development (2014/15)

Leonie Bell, director, Arts and Engagement at Creative Scotland said: “Creative Scotland is committed to creative learning and ensuring everyone can access and enjoy artistic creative experiences. This evaluation provides positive confirmation of the special contribution the YMI programme is making by putting music at the heart of young people’s lives and learning.

“YMI provides valuable opportunities for Scotland’s young people to express themselves and achieve their potential in or through music making. Particular thanks and credit should be given to the committed, expert and passionate teachers and practitioners who skillfully and energetically support young people in their music making every day across the country.

“Our continuing strong partnership with all thirty two of Scotland’s local authorities enables the YMI to have a truly national reach. We look forward to working with YMIs many partners to share learning from this evaluation, build upon the success and to continually improve the programme for the benefit of Scotland’s young people.”

With an annual nationwide budget of £10 million, by the end of 2015/16, Scottish Government funding support for the nationwide YMI programme will be £117.5 million.

Cabinet Secretary for Culture and External Affairs, Fiona Hyslop, said: “The Scottish Government is committed to widening access and participation in the arts to everyone in Scotland. This evaluation shows that YMI is doing that, bringing music to a wider audience and helping to create a Fairer Scotland.

“This evaluation shows that YMI has an incredible reach, engaging with over 225,000 young people in and out of school over the last year, and engaging with groups which might otherwise only have limited opportunities to get involved in music making.

“It’s already supported a number of work opportunities and potential career pathways, with over 1,000 jobs and 1,000 trainee and volunteering opportunities supported over the last year, and over 2,200 people benefiting from training or career development.”

The full evaluation can be viewed here:

More information on Aberdeenshire YMI projects can be found online at or through contacting


For media enquiries please contact:

Helen Sim
Media Relations & PR Assistant
Creative Scotland
T: 0131 523 0019
M: 07801 226605

Notes to editors:

  1. Youth Music Initiative YMI was established in 2003 to put music at the heart of young people’s lives and learning, in response to the ‘What’s Going On?’ evaluation, a national audit of youth music in Scotland. Creative Scotland administers the Scottish Government’s Youth Music Initiative (YMI) programme which works to: Create access to high quality music making opportunities for young people aged 0 – 25, particularly for those that would not normally have the chance to participate; enable young people to achieve their potential in or through music making; support the development of the youth music sector for the benefit of young people.
  2. Drake Music Scotland – the nation’s leading charity creating opportunities for children and adults with disabilities to learn, compose and perform music independently.
  3. In 2014/15, the YMI Aberdeenshire programme received over £46,000 of Youth Music Initiative funding. Drake Music Scotland also provides some resources in the form of instruments, equipment and computer programmes. Aberdeenshire Council is also increasingly working towards building up its own bank of instruments and equipment for children with additional support needs to ensure sustainability out with YMI funding.
  4. Creative Scotland is the public body that supports the arts, screen and creative industries across all parts of Scotland on behalf of everyone who lives, works or visits here. We enable people and organisations to work in and experience the arts, screen and creative industries in Scotland by helping others to develop great ideas and bring them to life. We distribute funding provided by the Scottish Government and the National Lottery. For further information about Creative Scotland please visit Follow us @creativescots and
  5. ODS Consulting ODS provides consultancy and support to improve policy and strengthen communities. To find out more contact Katy MacMillan on 0141 424 3765/ W:

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