Early Years Music Project comes to Birmingham

Birmingham Forward Steps and a group of consortium partners has been awarded £149, 000 by Youth Music Charity to support music in the Early Years. Over the next two years (2019-2021) the project, called Sounds of Play, aims to improve music provision for birth to 5-year olds and their families. The project will offer a range of CPD opportunities for teachers and practitioners in Early Years settings, and musicians from a wide range of music organisations.

Sarah Robbins, CEO of The Springfield project, leading partner of the project for Birmingham Forward Steps said:

Birmingham Forward Steps is delighted to have the opportunity to bring this comprehensive early years music programme to the city. Music is a fantastic tool for supporting children to develop well and it also has the power to enrich lives. In this music-rich city it is only right that our youngest children have opportunities for music making and it is an honour that so many of the city’s musical institutions are joining us to make this a reality. Thank you to Youth Music for their support in bringing Sounds of Play to life.

The Birmingham Early Years Music Consortium (BEYMC) project aims to help provide a more co-ordinated music delivery for children, bringing together Birmingham EY settings together with a wide range of music organisations (full list in Appendix).

The BEYMC will be working with a wide range of settings including children’s centres; maintained nurseries; and private, voluntary and independent settings. The BEYMC project is supported by Youth Music and will be using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England. Matt Griffiths, CEO, Youth Music said:

Children’s lives in music-making must start as soon as possible. The evidence is overwhelming in terms of the positive difference this makes for their own personal, social and musical development and for their families too. That’s why early years is one of our priority areas at Youth Music. We are therefore delighted to award a grant to the new ‘Sounds of Play’ project in Birmingham, which will provide innovative resources and a vital support network for early years teachers and music leaders to develop their practice, work collaboratively and learn from each other. If there’s ever been a more important time for this, it’s definitely now. We’re excited to be a part of it.

The partners in the consortium, will be working with a newly appointed Project Manager, Nicola Burke, to focus on training their own practitioners in Early Years Music, impacting the work of teachers, practitioners and musicians. The whole project is being evaluated by the Centre for Research in Early Childhood (CREC).

Lucy Galliard, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Director of Learning & Engagement said:

The CBSO is delighted to be part of this programme. We believe that it is never too early to begin engaging with live music, performance and creative music making. The ‘Sounds of Play’ programme is a fantastic way to enable more children to benefit from musical activities, and to provide Birmingham’s diverse musical workforce with the support and training they need to ensure that even our youngest participants are receiving the very best musical opportunities available.

Emma Flatley, Welsh National Opera, Director of Partnerships and Engagement commented:

Welsh National Opera is delighted to be part of Sounds of Play and welcomes the opportunity to work collectively with fellow music organisations and early years practitioners across Birmingham, to give young children a chance to benefit from the transformative power of music and song. The funding from Youth Music will help us work together to support the opportunity to access music education from birth, an important component in language skills and cognitive development; whilst providing valuable resources and training for opera professionals who deliver Welsh National Opera’s Youth and Community programme across the West Midlands.

The project will be launched at the CBSO Centre, Birmingham on October 7th, 2-3.30 pm. The launch event is aimed at those who will be involved in the project; EY practitioners, musicians, partner organisations as well as other organisations in the West Midlands who have an interest in Early Years Music. Anyone that would like to find out more information is encouraged to make contact with the Project Manager on: nicola@musicforearlyyears.co.uk

Pleasefollow the project on Twitter: @PlaySoundsof