Awards for Young Musicians

Giving talent a chance

Identifying Talent

Professional development for music leaders

AYM initiated its Spotting Talent and Music Teachers’ Support training programme in September 2008; it’s part of  our objective not only to  support musically talented young people from lower income families with individual funding and other support but also to improve the wider environment in which they’re often struggling to progress.

A major issue for many young people can be the limited confidence amongst music leaders, (whether class teachers in schools, freelance or community musicians etc.) in how to identify young people’s musical potential and also in how to support and nurture this potential. Professional development for music leaders, whether they’re working in or out of school, tends not to focus on this issue.

To address this need, AYM brought together partners Music Leader South West, Exeter and Bristol Universities and South West Music School, with Hugh Nankivell as lead facilitating musician and film-maker Bob Lockwood. Initially supported by partners’ seed funding, the programme has developed in two major strands: a flexible training model and the development of a series of film resources, that can be used both within and beyond the training.

We’ve been able to considerably expand this latter strand as a result of receiving Spotlighting funding from Youth Music. Spotlighting aims to highlight examples of effective practice in music education: this funding enabled us to create a major online resource on the Youth Music Network website, entitled How do you spot musical potential?

The resource uses over 40 film clips to highlight the key facets of musical potential that partners and participants have identified during the course of this work. Each facet is demonstrated through filmed examples, showing Hugh Nankivell using a range of creative musical activities that can help identify potential in groups of young people, in a wide range of formal and informal educational contexts. We had invaluable input from music leaders working in a variety of contexts in the shaping of this film resource, including primary and secondary class teachers, peripatetics, community musicians, music services and music/arts organisations.

Find out more here

The programme has now been externally evaluated twice; this has enabled us to continue to develop its content and impact. Here is some recent feedback from a training participant:

“When the AYM team visited Stafford to run the Identifying Talent training I wasn’t sure what to expect. In general I think most good music teachers are, by definition, good at spotting musical talent, but there isn’t a great deal of specific support in this area. Taking part in the training was a unique opportunity for me. It was great to be with a group of peers and to share experiences. I found the training inspiring and motivational. Identifying musical talent and potential was not simply discussed, it was demonstrated, and the training provided me with some great new practical ideas and resources for my own teaching. It has led me to become more adventurous in my teaching. I’ve been exploring more improvisation and memory-based techniques than I previously did.”  Charlotte, Music Teacher, Staffordshire and Stoke on Trent Music Education Hub

AYM is able to deliver this training across the UK so if you’d like to find out more please get in touch with Hester Cockcroft, AYM Director.