Aspire Programme


London Youth Choir is dedicated to establishing and signposting high quality singing opportunities for children and young people through meaningful partnerships across all 33 London boroughs. Through these partnerships, the Aspire Programme seeks to offer exceptional singing training and performance opportunities where it will be most valuable; working with children and young people to develop skills in teamwork and leadership, build confidence and aspirations, foster inclusivity and personal responsibility, and provide musical enjoyment.

About Aspire

The Aspire Programme works collaboratively with schools, music hubs and cultural organisations in areas observed to have limited cultural opportunity or music provision. Partner Schools are identified through factors known to restrict children’s access to high quality music provision. These may include but are not limited to: availability and accessibility of local music provision, quantity of specialist music teachers in schools, and financial circumstances.

Current Programme

Read about the 2015-16 Pilot Programme

With generous support from John Lyon’s Charity and the Drapers’ Charitable Fund, the Aspire Programme will target the following areas across the next three years:


Phase 2: Brent & Ealing (2018-19)
Phase 2 partners TBA
Phase 3: Changing Boys' Voices (2019-2020)
Phase 3 partners TBA

Programme Content

Each phase consists of a series of high quality in-school workshops for primary school children with a Big Sing culmination event. Alongside direct musical engagement with children, the Aspire programme also provides additional musical support through:

All participating members of Aspire will achieve Arts Award Discover accreditation. 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 across a variety of genres and specialisms, developing knowledge in a comprehensive way.

London Youth Choir is a registered Arts Award Centre

CPD sessions designed and facilitated by LYC Artistic Director, Rachel Staunton, are tailored to guide our Aspire schools through musical development; supporting future singing leaders requiring advice and skills to establish or improve school choirs in Key Stages 2 and 3. Training sessions are provided free of charge for teachers from Aspire Partner schools, and are offered at a subsidised rate for professional choral leaders looking to develop skills in specific areas.
All young people participating in Aspire are eligible for entry to a LYC Junior Apprenticeship. Each year, 30 apprenticeships are offered to young people demonstrating particular musical potential, with an aim of unlocking talent from a diverse range of backgrounds. Potential apprentices are identified by the LYC workshop team throughout the Aspire Programme, in collaboration with school and music hub staff.

Once appointed, Apprentices are are given specialist scaffolding training, to help develop musicianship and choral skills. The subsequent September, LYC Junior Apprentices join the regular weekly rehearsals of the LYC Boys’ and Girls’ Choirs, joining the choirs for all concerts and events. To support their participation in the choirs, additional provision is made for the apprentices and their families. This includes:

  • Free places for the whole academic year (no membership fees)
  • Chaperones to take participants from school to rehearsals and back home
  • Enhanced pastoral support at rehearsals
  • Enhanced administrative support for families, including face-to-face meetings
  • Free LYC polo shirt and concert folder, with the option to receive free concert uniform via LYC Bursaries
  • Pair of complimentary tickets to performances for parents/guardians
Towards the end of the academic year, local audition afternoons will be held in each area, with a view to encouraging young people to continue their musical development and learning through membership of the regular weekly choirs of LYC. For Aspire workshop participants from the Partner Schools, these auditions are free of charge.


LYC would like to give particular thanks to the supporters of the current Aspire phases: John Lyon’s Charity, Drapers’ Charitable Fund, Young Harrow Foundation and Friday Afternoons.

For the success of our pilot programme, LYC would also like to thank the National Youth Music Foundation, The Headley Trust, Ernest Cook Trust, St. James’s Place Foundation, Newcomen Collett Foundation, Friday Afternoons and N. Smith Charitable Settlement.


Queries about Aspire/our outreach work
Cathy Al-Ghabra, Aspire Programme Manager
[email protected]


Supporting the Aspire Programme
Penny Lewis, Development Director
[email protected]