Updated: Sep 28
The incredible Music Hub Youth Ambassadors recently gathered at the inspiring Hall for Cornwall for their third meeting. We discovered a group passion for playing 'Happy Salmon' and also used other creative tools such as story cubes to creatively frame our discussions.
Each member of the group had conducted individual research, delving deep into the issues and challenges faced by fellow young people in Cornwall. Each young person fed back what they had found out. Their findings ignited countless discussions, all of which will ultimately contribute to the creation of a manifesto set to be unveiled in March to the Music Hub board.
One of the central themes that emerged during this meeting was the shared passion for music among the young people. They highlighted several aspects of music that are particularly important to them, including:
Enjoyment of Playing: Music is not just a hobby; it's a source of joy and personal fulfilment for these young musicians.
Community and Friendships: Music is a powerful tool for building connections and friendships and the social side of music is just as important as the playing/singing.
Performances: The excitement of performing music and sharing their talents with others is a driving force in their musical journeys.
Enrichment: Music provides enrichment to their lives, enhancing their creativity and emotional well-being.
While these young people are passionate about music, they also acknowledge the challenges they and their peers face. Some of the areas they expressed needing the most help with include:
Peer Pressure: The fear of judgment from peers can be overwhelming and impact their musical growth.
Musical Skills: Challenges with aspects like counting, music theory, chord progressions, and performance skills require more support and guidance.
Group Dynamics: Help relating to others in a group setting, whether it's a band or orchestra.
Appropriate Progression Routes: Access to high-level ensembles which are young person focussed
The heart of their discussion revolved around the barriers that young people in Cornwall encounter when pursuing their musical passions. These barriers encompass a wide range of circumstances, including:
Diversity of Music Styles: A desire for exposure to diverse music styles and arrangements that can enrich their musical experiences.
Financial Hurdles: The cost of music lessons can pose significant challenges for young people and their families.
Travel: the cost and time required to access opportunities in a long rural county
Encouragement and Support: The importance of a support system that encourages their musical pursuits and provides guidance.
Balancing Commitments: Striking a balance between school, exams, and music commitments can be overwhelming.
Instrument Diversity: Access to a variety of musical instruments (including inclusive/accessible instruments) and finding someone to teach you on that specific instrument.
Welcoming and Inclusive Learning Platforms: The need for accessible and inclusive learning environments, both physical and digital. The need for teachers and ensemble leads to actively ask about barriers and access/learning needs rather than waiting for young people or parents to ask for support.
Awareness: Young musicians expressed the challenge of hearing about musical opportunities and resources. They don't feel the Hub website and social media platforms are particularly young person friendly.
Overcoming Self-Doubt: Confidence is a critical factor in pursuing a musical journey, and many shared their struggles with self-doubt.
Youth Voice: Music teachers and ensemble leads not seeking feedback (or even ignoring feedback) from young players and instead seeking feedback only from parents/guardians or just from older players or adult players.
The Youth Ambassadors' research, discussions, and shared experiences are paving the way for a manifesto that will advocate for positive changes within the Cornwall Music Hub.