Guest blog: Jo Beal talks about the collective aims and ethos of Music Connect – a celebration of music and young people in Wiltshire

Music ConnectAs co-ordinator of Music Connect I have been working with a range of partners across Wiltshire to bring together a celebration of young people’s music-making.

Underway now, and continuing throughout July, Music Connect aims to inspire and support children and young people in their personal musical development by celebrating and raising the profile of the breadth and diversity of music making across Wiltshire.

Music Connect is taking place under the umbrella of Wiltshire Music Connect, the Music Education Hub for Wiltshire. I am excited to be part of it because to me it feels like a manifestation of the ethos of the Music Education Hub, which is about a collective effort to support and develop a vibrant community of music makers and a diverse range of high quality learning opportunities, which are open to all and celebrate achievement.

The Music Connect programme is being made possible through the work and involvement of Hub partners and contributors who between them represent a wide range of music practice. Find out more about the programme here, which includes performances across the county in a range of genres and involving children and young people of all ages.

Music Connect will present two specially curated events which focus on the music industry and music-making with children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities.

On Wednesday 13th July 2016, young people aged 14-25 are invited to a free Music Industry Careers event at Salisbury Arts Centre. Chairing the event will be award winning producer and presenter Sam Bonham. Sam has worked as a producer across the BBC and presents BBC Introducing in the West, supporting unsigned, undiscovered and under the radar artists in the West of England. Sam and the guest panellists are all committed to supporting the development of young people’s music making, and will be sharing their experiences and answering questions, as well as being available for one-to-one conversations.

Emily Hughes: photo credit Ilan Terrell

Emily Hughes: photo credit Ilan Terrell

Additionally, Sam has just this morning offered to listen to CDs of young people’s music making if they bring them along with them.  Our panel on the night will be made up of four professional musicians who all have connections to Wiltshire.

A few days later Music Connect will host a SEND and Music Making Day on Saturday 16th July 2016 at Wiltshire Music Centre. We invite teachers, musicians, SEND professional, parents and carers to an inspiring and stimulating day that will focus on how to fully involve SEND children and young people in music-making, sharing a range of approaches through presentations, practice sharing, discussions and performance. There are some fantastic examples of innovative practice and projects in Wiltshire and the SW and the day will provide a unique opportunity to learn more about some of these through our guest presenters.

Music Connect posterMusic Connect is a pilot project and we will be seeking the views of contributors, participants and audiences as to how it may be developed in the future.

In the meantime there is still time to contribute any music events or performances with/by young people to the Music Connect programme. Upload details of your event here and look out for the thousands of fliers and hundreds of posters that have been distributed across the county.

Follow us on Twitter @musicconnect and on Facebook – Music Connect: a celebration of music and young people in Wiltshire.

Jo Beal, co-ordinator of Music Connect


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