In 2003, researchers at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland produced the What’s Going On? (WGO) report on the provision of youth music in Scotland. It was greeted by a banner headline on the front page of The Herald newspaper, reporting one of its findings: ‘100,000 children denied access to music tuition’. The response from the Scottish Government was The Youth Music Initiative (YMI) which is the national funding and development programme for young people’s music in Scotland.
Since its inception in 2003, it has funded Scottish local authorities to provide initial music making experiences in schools, and has supported local and national music initiatives in the informal sector, allowing many young people to make music who would not otherwise have done so. The impact of the research has been to shape and inform the Scottish Government’s youth music policies and the roll-out of over £100m investment in this area; it remains a foundation for policy, planning and funding of youth music across Scotland.
The number of young people on whom the YMI has had an impact is very large: Creative Scotland report that there were over 1.7 million recorded attendances at YMI funded programmes between the 2003-4 and 2010-11. The effect on the employment context for music leaders has been similarly significant.