Aspire Programme

Since its formation in 2012, a core element of the London Youth Choir’s annual activity has been to work alongside music hubs and schools in all 33 London boroughs, with a view to establishing and signposting high-quality singing progression routes. The vision of this programme is to help enable London-based children to benefit from exceptional musical training and singing opportunities, allowing young people to develop skills in music, teamwork and leadership, as well as helping to build confidence.

 

Aspire Pilot Programme (2015-16)

In 2015-16, LYC piloted a one-year project funded by the National Foundation of Youth Music, delivering choral workshops in partnership with three London Music Education Hubs: Camden, Hackney and Southwark. The overall aim was to inspire primary-aged children in areas of high deprivation to explore and develop musical skills, providing them with an opportunity to aspire to participate in major choral activities, working with the very best practitioners. To date, the programme has reached over 1,000 children from Years 5 & 6 across nine primary schools.

As well as classroom workshops for primary school children, the Aspire programme also provides additional musical support through:

As part of the Aspire scheme, all participating members took part in and successfully completed Arts Award Discover. To achieve Discover, children and young people discover the arts around them, find out about artists and their work and share their experiences with others, gaining a certificate of completion at the end. This provides young people with an excellent introduction to the arts, allowing them to explore aspects of the arts aside from just performing, and allowing them to develop their knowledge in a comprehensive way.

As part of ‘Aspire’ a programme of CPD sessions led by Greg Beardsell, Ken Burton, Esther Jones and Rachel Staunton have been delivered aimed at future singing leaders requiring advice and skills to improve their school choirs.

One of the primary elements of Aspire is a rolling programme of Junior Apprenticeship Schemes, which look to develop LYC membership by unlocking talent from a diverse range of backgrounds.  In 2016, over 20 Apprentices were selected from the 3 Hub boroughs and joined the ranks of our Junior Choirs over a two term period. During that time they attended weekly rehearsals and sang in all concerts.   Their progress has been remarkable and all of them have now been offered full membership of LYC starting in September 2016.

 

Future Plans

Building on the success of the 2015-16 pilot Aspire scheme, a  three-year Aspire project is now in development, which will focus in particular on areas of limited music provision and high deprivation in four outer London boroughs. The focus of this programme will include:

  • A series of choral workshops in primary schools for Years 4 & 5
  • A programme of CPD within all four boroughs for future singing leaders
  • The opportunity for a new group of Junior Apprentices to join the LYC Junior Choirs
  • A particular focus over a three-year period on supporting boys singing and changing voices

Acknowledgements.

LYC would like to give particular thanks to the National Youth Music Foundation, The Headley Trust, Ernest Cook Trust, St. James’s Place Foundation, Newcomen Collett Foundation and N. Smith Charitable Settlement for their support of the first Aspire Project (2015-16) and Junior Apprenticeship Scheme. LYC would also like to thank Friday Afternoons for their support of the Aspire performance project.

If you would like to find out more about LYC’s outreach work and Aspire Project or enquire as to how you might support this exciting venture, please contact Nina Camilleri at nina.camilleri@londonyouthchoir.com