Music set to play a part in improving life chances

A music project designed to engage young people we work with is being rolled out across the country.

We have had great success in using music groups to help young people in Glasgow, so now we are rolling this project out across all our teams, in partnership with the Musicares project.

Musicares is delivered by the team who run Musicplus+, a mentoring scheme run by the Scottish Music Centre and supported by Creative Scotland’s Youth Music Initiative. Musicares is funded by The National Lottery Community Fund Scotland: Young Start, with previous support from Life Changes Trust.

Our Service Delivery Director, Lynsey Smith, explained: “One of the biggest challenges we have with the groups we work with is trying to find common ground around something that they are interested in, something that can help us work with them to address the issues they are facing. Music seems to be really effective in achieving this.

“These sessions are a great way for young people who may have issues around socialising to work in a group, it really brings them out of their shell.”

Three mentors work with groups of ten young people on sessions featuring activities as varied as Brazilian drumming, DJing, singing and song writing, learning an instrument and music production.

A two-year study by Professor Assal Habibi, of the University of Southern California, found that music lessons help with decision-making and impulse control both high-value skills important to young people’s life chances.

Other research has shown learning to play an instrument improves hand/eye coordination, mental agility, team working, self-reliance and listening skills. There are also benefits to the development of social, emotional and communication skills as well.

“Music really does help improve social skills. We have seen marked improvement in everyone who has taken part as far as building confidence and changes in attitudes towards responsibility,” added Lynsey.

One of the young people who completed the pilot course Nicole, is now thinking of pursuing a career in music.

“It really good it inspired me to do higher music. It helped me structure my song writing so much more and gave me confidence.”

In total the project will be delivered to around 150 young people in Aberdeen, Stirling, Fife, Dundee and Glasgow over the next two years.