This is the original project outline for the MKUO project as put together by Readipop and Graeme Surtees at The Stables

The Stables Urban Orchestra project  – outline proposal.
“Making music without boundaries”

A brand new project for young people in MK to make music that cuts across boundaries, bringing together young musicians experienced in urban, pop and rock music with young orchestral musicians.

The young musicians will work together to devise and compose an original piece of music that incorporates both urban and classical styles for a live concert performance, DVD recording and primary school ‘roadshow’.

The founding vision of the Stables was to break down barriers between different types of music. By staging the Urban Orchestra project in Milton Keynes we are directly responding to that vision by :

  • Creating a new musical project for young people in MK
  • Creating an inclusive and open access ‘orchestra’ of young people.
  • Staging a live performance using the orchestra model,
  • Enable young musicians from different musical and social background to collaborate, experiment, improvise and compose together.
  • Creating a new score devised with the young people, fusing musical styles, approaches and methods
  • Giving young musicians the chance to collaborate with professional musicians.

Urban Orchestra will bring together a new consortium of organisations including The Stables, MK Music Service, Readipop, voluntary sector youth & arts organisations, schools and MK College. The project will be managed by The Stables and lead by artists from Readipop, and include an element of Continuing Professional Development for music leaders and trainees

The Urban Orchestra model was successfully piloted in Reading in 2009 and this project will allow Readipop to develop the model further, incorporating ideas from the evealuation of the pilot, reaching new young people in a different part of the country, forming new partnerships and extending their work across the region.

The creative theme

The creative stage of the process is at the core of the project and will be driven by the the young musicians taking part. The creative process will be facilitated by the professional music leaders. It will be structured to support the creative process for the young musicians and provide a number of themes and ideas to engage them an dprovide ‘hooks’ to strat the creative process.

The themes and ideas to inform the creative process include:

  • To explore ‘the orchestra’ past, present and future.
  • Use historical, present and ‘future’ techniques to re-arrange, adapt, remix and improvise together – from baroque to dub-step.
  • Use the ‘soundclash’ concept to mix and interact between the urban/electronic and classical/real instruments thought call and response and sharing/passing and re-working musical ideas. Use electronic concepts like ‘ring modulation’ and adapt them to the live orchestra.
  • Incorporate found sounds and personal technology – ringtones, mobile phones, laptops etc.
  • Include audience interaction – ie giving out a number to call from the audience to set off parts of the piece and a ringtone to download in advance.
  • Themes will be devised from concepts around the ubiquity of the mobile phone, conversations, dialogues and its use to share modern everyday experience.

The project partners

Partners: The Stables, Readipop, Youth Music, Musicleader SE, MK Schools, Music Service, MAD, Madcap, MK College

The Stables is an Internationally recognised music venue in Milton Keynes,founded as a registered charity (Wavendon Allmusic Plan) in 1969 by the world-famous jazz musicians Sir John Dankworth and Dame Cleo Laine. The Stables has been committed to music education and participation from the beginning, and currently delivers over 350 concerts and 250 education sessions each year. Education projects range from interactive concerts to participatory workshops and longer-term projects.


Readipop are a Reading based music organisation working at the cutting edge of community music practice, delivering community projects, working across musical genres, running a venue and recording facility, offering learning opportunities for musicians of all levels from beginner to professional.


Youth Music is the leading UK charity providing children and young people with access to a wide range of music-making projects and activities. It supports music projects, develops music programmes and provides music-making opportunities for young people across the country.


MusicLeader SE is …..


Milton Keynes Music Service ….
Participants will be drawn from:
Schools: via outreach taster days with selected schools.
Music Service: a broad mix of instrumental players from different ensembles.

‘Urban’ Musicians: via the schools, voluntary sector youth organizations including Madcap MAD (Make a Difference), MK College music technology courses.

Outline timescale

Winter 20010/11
– planning and fundraising with partners

Spring 2011:
– Confirm funding
– Recruit trainees
– Identify music service tutors
– CPD and planning sessions with all musicians
– Contact Schools and other partners.

June/July 2011:
– School 1 day taster workshops
-Taster with music service
-Tasters with other partners – eg college, MAD, Madcap

September – November/December 2011:
– Development /Devising workshops – weekly sessions with music service group.
– October – 3 day half term devising workshop plus team scoring sessions.
– October/November – rehearsals
– November 2009 – performance at The Stables

Early 2012:
– work with primary schools
– follow-on performances
– links with other projects
– DVD Launch

Spring 2012
– legacy planning

– evaluation
Project process
The project will be delivered by 2 musicleaders from Readipop and 2 from MK Music Service, through a structured process as follows:


An initial development phase –


  • An initial 2 day CPD planning and skills exchange phase for Music leaders to come together to launch the project and establish working relationships between the collaborating music leaders, plus a CPD opprtunity open to other musicleaders on collaborative and cross-genre working


  • 1 taster/training day in each participating schoolduring school hours – to target pupils who do not currently participate in out of school hours music makingA full day will be spent working with together with music teachers, to run taster sessions exploring improvisation, composition and performance with potential participants particularly those in rock and pop, urban or music tech activity outside

·      This will happen during school ‘enrichment’ sessions and will aim to encourage those pupils to sign up for after school follow-on sessions and the other weekend and holiday workshops and rehearsals.


  • 4 after school sessions in each school, targetted at ‘hard to reach’ young people associated with each school eg excluded pupils through Pupil Referral Units.


Three strands of weekly sessions –


  • 12 outreach sessions with the voluntary youth sector, to focus on urban musicians and to introduce participants to working as part of a larger creative group and the expectations and conventions of playing in an orchestra. This will include ’hard to reach participants’ identified throughthe voluntary youth sector partners.


  • 12 outreach sessions with MK Music service, to focus on young musicians playing orchestral instruments but who may not be familiar with other forms of music making.


  • 12 outreach sessions with music technology students to focus on urban musicians and to introduce participants to working as part of a larger creative group and the expectations and conventions of playing in an orchestra.


A final creative phase



  • An intensive 3 day devising programme – this will bring together all the participants in devising the piece, finalising musical and technical issues, agreeing roles for the performance


  • 2 full day rehearsals


  • live performance and the creation of the performance / evaluation DVD


  • 10 primary school roadshow performance/workshops, touring the DVD and delivering workshops to 10 feeder schools.





Each partner organisation will host a skill sharing ‘exchange day’ to introduce the partner music leaders to their unique style of working. The music leaders will be able to explore each other’s working methods and share in good prcatice. These exchange days will inform the workshop design of the school taster sessions and the initial musical devising processes. A key theme of the project is the ongoing professional development gained through the partnership between a music service and a community music organisation.


The Trainee role

This project includes a trainee position for a young or emerging music leader. The trainee will shadow the the music leaders, support delivery of elements of the workshops, take part in all the training and cpd associated with the project.

The trainee will also be given other learning oportunities with The Stables and Readipop. The trainee will be paid a training allowance to enable them to dedicate time to the project, but will need to work flexibly to cover the range of workshops and sessions.

The traineeship will be advertised via MK Music Service, MK College, Musicleader, Arts Jobs, local Voluntary sector arts and community networks,


Project management


The Stables will have overall responsibility for the project and will contract Readipop to undertake the direct project management and delivery. A steering group of partners will meet regularly to monitor the progress of the project against the agreed timescale. Agreements will be drawn up outlining the respective roles of Readipop, MK Music Service the participating schools. Readipop will be responsible for drawing up a programme of professional development for the trainee.


Monitoring and Evaluation


The Music Leaders’ will collect attendance records and monitoring information for each session throughout the project. This will be be reviewed at regular steering group meetings. Music Leaders will produce a report at the end of the taster process, analysing the work to date and making recommendations for the next phase. They will also produce a report at the end of the project which will form part of the final evaluation and the exit strategy. The final DVD will include video interviews with some of the participants during the latter stages of the project to collect feedback and record the content of some of the workshop sessions. The evaluation will include the views of the partners, participants, music leaders, trainee, audience.

Section 1 – Your project’s outcomes

Please refer back to your original project objectives.


1.1  How far did you meet the original Open Programme programme objectives you selected? Please tell us more about the achievement of these objectives. (500 words)

Challenging Circumstances

One of the specific project outcomes was increased confidence, self-esteem and motivation of young people in challenging circumstances.

Both the taster sessions and the core group sessions reached YPICC. Some of the taster sessions were targeted at a specific group such as at the Secure Training Centre, other sessions included YPICC as part of wider group sessions, mainly through the session at youth and community sector partners premises.

The initial recruitment plan of young people for the project was designed to offer a range of routes for YPICC to engage with the project. This originally included workshops in and afterschool, a variety of informal youth settings (youth service and voluntary sector) and specific targeted groups such as PRU students and connexions clients referred to our project partners. However the recruitment plan changed, with some opportunities not available as hoped, and other new opportunities arising. Informal recruitment by project partners open sessions at their premises and the increased engagement with the youth service provided the project with a different opportunity to engage with some of these groups, including a new relationship brokered by a project partner with the local Secure Training Centre (YOI).


Encouraging Talent and Potential

Urban Orchestra was designed to encourage talent and potential by opening up new ways of creating, collaborating and performing for the young musicians. All the musical ideas and concepts in the final piece came from the young people themselves, and the project had within it points for significant public recognition of those ideas and achievements. These included 2 public performances and a high quality professionally produced DVD of the performance as a record of the achievement.

As young musicians emerged from the project equipped with new experiences and skills, they are more able to develop their own musical ideas and collaborations, and realise their own talent and potential through projects and collaborations they seek out or initiate.


Many of the participants had very limited access to any opportunity to develop their musical talent and potential in a sustained and supported way. Through Urban Orchestra those from urban music backgrounds developed skills in collaborating with live musicians, those from traditional instrument study backgrounds developed skills in improvising and new approaches to creating, arranging and performing. Those from a rock & pop background developed skills in working with different genres and musicians, and incorporating a wider range of sounds and approach to creating music.


Workforce Development

Urban Orchestra included a significant amount of CPD and good practice sharing. The project commenced with a 2 day CPD session in collaboration with Music leader SE, which included the MK UO team and interested practitioners from across the region. The MKUO team had 2 further days of skills sharing and team building. The 2 trainee music leaders on the project were supported and mentored to develop their leadership skills. One of the Youth Workers supporting the project had musical skills and was incorporated into the CPD program and given other support and mentoring. One older participant who had potential to emerge as a young music leader was also supported to take part in the initial CPD.

1.2 For five of your project outcomes, please tell us about your experience in meeting these outcomes. (no word limit)


The project was successful in its overall aim to work with young musicians from a wide variety of musical and social backgrounds, with the specific aim of bringing them together to work collaboratively to create a large performing group to present new music that encompassed all their individual musical styles and preferences. The project successfully drew together young musicians from classical and orchestral backgrounds, with those from urban, rock and pop background. It brought together those who had some performance experience gained in traditional ensembles, with those who had taken their first steps to solo performing through ‘open mic’ type events, alongside others who had only ever performed informally to friends or who made their debut ‘public’ performance in the project.

The primary evidence for the success of the project comes from performance documentation, observation by music leaders, narrative responses from participants to evaluation questionnaires and structured interviews, and narrative from carers, support workers and others.

The project also used the YM outcome scales in a modified form to attempt to track the development of the core group, but this was less successful than hoped. The group had a diverse range of needs and musical practice, and responded to the evaluation in different ways. For some individuals the use of the scales did not provide clear trends across the span of the project, and in some cases did not match with the evidence coming from other methods. Some showed improved responses on the scales, some regressed them improved, others showed no change. This perhaps contains a complicated picture of responses to the more formal evaluation technique of questionnaires/scales. This could include participants ‘downgrading’ themselves at the interim stage as they are faced with the challenges of working in new ways, but then recognising their own positive development at the final stages of the project when they have chance to review their achievements.

Some of the unexpected musical outcomes and other developments for the participants that demonstrated that the project had achieved its aims included;

  • Four participants formed a rock group, rehearsing outside of the project and including one of the ‘classical’ cohort of participants.
  • Two of the aspiring singer/songwriters within the group became active on local open mic night scene, and one achieved a support slot at The Stables, supporting a local professional artist.
  • One participant from the Secure Training Center (YOI) was due to be released and return to a different part of the country. With increased confidence in his musical ability and a desire to pursue more music making opportunities , and with support from link workers in that area, he identified a studio based community music project to work with on release, and involvement with that project has been part of his re-integration into education and with new carers.
  • One YPICC with no previous public performance experience sang for the first time to an audience, gaining in musical and social confidence, skills of collaboration and a significant personal first in achievement as a performer.
  • Two older young people (18 and 21 NEETS) emerged as volunteers/informal peer group leaders


Project outcomes

Increased young people’s appreciation and awareness of diverse ways of making and participating in music.

All the young people involved the core group showed some development of their awareness of other genres, and different ways of making music.

Participant quotes;

“It broadened my musical taste”

“I enjoyed listening to other people’s progress”

“I enjoyed collaborating with people from different backgrounds and musical styles”

“I listen to a bit of orchestra music now; it’s helped me open up my eyes to other music.”

“I’ve listened to a lot more different stuff since Urban Orchestra.”


Many of the group reported specific gains in musical skills;

“It has taught me how to use technology live”

“I’ve got a bit better at wrapping. I know where I went wrong

“I’ve got a lot of improvisation skills, and stretching the clarinet’s ability to perform other genres as well.”

“I’ve gained confidence in my music playing and how to improvise.”

“Before I came here, I only wrote about two or three songs. But leaving it, I’ve written twelve songs. It’s so amazing; the skills I’ve learnt and how to perform. It’s pretty amazing

“It got me into composition. Before Urban Orchestra, I didn’t so much. I mean I always composed but since then I’ve composed all the time.”


Many of the group reported experiences and changes to their own music making that revealed how they had connected with the main musical aim of the project – to collaborate and create new music that crosses genres.

“It has encouraged me to mix musical styles and be experimental with my music making”

“It helped me to experiment with different styles and learn how to combine them”

“It was interesting to bring the different instruments together; coming from a classical background made it interesting trying to combine electronic instruments and classical instruments.”


Improved the confidence and ability of young musicians to work creatively and collaboratively in new musical situations.

As the project progresses the participants showed development of social and musical skills needed to collaborate. There were challenges for all the participants to overcome, not just for those in ‘challenging circumstances’.

The participants drawn from more mainstream musical backgrounds, particularly those from the music service lead instrument learning, had to release themselves from the security of notation and a pre-determined outcome, from being formally lead by a musical director, and to trust in a creative process that required them to improvise.

“I’m more competent at improvising”

“It has definitely developed my improvising skills”

The participants from urban/rock/pop backgrounds had to adapt to working with traditional and acoustic instruments , orchestral sounds, structuring, arranging, ‘scoring’ to enable the larger group to perform. Participants of all musical backgrounds had to learn to work with others who may have had more technical knowledge of music and instrumental skill with which to articulate ideas, but not let that greater technical facility make them feel their own creative contribution was in any way less.

“We learned different sounds and keys can be combined together”

“You can combine each other’s improvisations to make a composition and it’s really fun”

“It’s important to play only when needed”

“I’ve learned how to work well with people”

“I’ve learned not to be afraid to try”

“You can turn anything into music”

“I got the opportunity to work with different people and meet new people and appreciate new music genres.”


Increased skills and confidence of musicleaders and trainees to work with different groups of young people and to facilitate collaborative and creative projects.

 The music leaders and trainees came from a range of musical backgrounds. The range of music leaders/trainees was designed into the project from the beginning to reflect the collaborative and cross genre aims of the project for the young people. This range was key to facilitating the involvement of a range of young people from different musical backgrounds but also offered a parallel development opportunity for the music leaders to develop their skills to work collaboratively and across genres. The musical practice/backgrounds of the music leaders/trainees included Orchestral instrument teaching, rock/pop/folk performing, DJ/MC performing and workshops, music technology workshops, community music projects. The development of the music leaders ranged from the more experienced creative leaders of the team developing their skills in working with orchestras and orchestral arrangements, to trainees developing their creative facilitation skills to lead creative music sessions with young people.

Music leader and trainee comments:

“As this is the first time I have been involved in a multi-genre project I now understand the whole process more, having gone through the project and experienced the performance – it has added meaning to the whole creative journey and I feel that I can succeed as a Music Leader in this form of work. This is something I was doubting a week ago.”

“I enjoyed learning about how students can enjoy and utilise the immediacy of Music Technology and that breaking out of the classical mould was something that they did easily. It has left me thinking about why this is the case even though many of the have a limited use of music technology.”

“I am more aware of working with computers in music and the use they have in developing ideas and changing ideas.”

“Negotiating the collaboration between different groups of young participants divided by preferred musical genres, i.e. Hardcore Metal vs Rap, is a new experience.”

“It improved my understanding of how to guide a group in a direction and get an outcome they are happy with.”

“I was really pleased with how well the session went and the way the YP engaged, it’s given me real confidence to work in this way more in the future.”

Readipop Music Leader Comments:

“The 2 days of CPD that we led at The Stables were a very satisfying process. The music educators who came along found it valuable and we as the leaders were also able to reflect on our own practice through the interaction with other experienced practitioners. The process introduced to a number of people who would become key people in the development of the MKUO as music service partners, youth service and community partners, trainees and peer mentors. The CPD shared Readipop’s approach and practice with music leaders based locally and regionally. It was great to see how the discussions and workshop sessions we going to go on to influence projects across the South. The CPD specifically fed into the planning of the Orchestra ONE project in Kent.” Gavin Lombos, Readipop Music Leader

“The MK Urban Orchestra project developed our trainees practice in real-time. We literally saw their faces change as the epiphany that they could utilise all of the skills they had ever learned as musicians and music leaders, in a different, way sunk in. The unique and challenging thought process undergone to understand an ‘Urban Orchestra’ in practical terms and not just as a concept was probably the most satisfying experience I have ever had as a leader. It wasn’t just their personal joy but the shared understanding of how important this project was going to be to the participants. And no one was let down on this project, us, the trainees, the participants, the co-workers, the audience, the venue. Anyone who touched MKUO would be hard pushed to beat it as an experience.” Russell Alsop, Readipop Music Leader

“Julian is an accomplished musician, conductor and teacher. In another life he had been a player of his classically learned instrument (violin) in a rock/folk fusion band. This project was a perfect outlet for his open minded musical ideals, with the added purpose of being able to inspire others. He very quickly and comfortably fell into to a useful role as MKUO partner. However, years of being part of the classical music institution had tailored some of his teaching skills specifically for that genre. Julian continually reminded himself of how it feels to enjoy music making with no boundaries and as such, with effort, managed to reignite a spark of inspiration in both his outlook and the participants he helped deliver the project.” Russell Alsop, Readipop Music Leader

“Jackie was pure classical musician in every sense. Her learning and development was exponential through this project. When she was overwhelmed by some of the tasks she would rely on her regular co-worker Julian for support and guidance. She ended up learning that she was better placed relying on the MKUO leaders and their experience in these unusual musical circumstances. Jackie became a key trainee and was perhaps the biggest part of the projects success.”  Russell Alsop, Readipop Music Leader

“Chris understood the project straight away and became instrumental in both participant engagement through his holistic approach to both music making and youth work engagement. He continues to use this experience as a way to engage and is the single best living example of how this work has benefits beyond the project delivery dates.” Russell Alsop Readipop, Music Leader

“Simon engaged enthusiastically in the CPD and project sessions and was able to offer some direct support to young urban musicians with production and lyric writing input. The experience has developed his practice and his ongoing work in the Midlands.” Gavin Lombos, Readipop Music Leader

“Rosie’s youthful approach and local reputation as a gigging musician helped her inspire young people and especially young women to participate in the MKUO. She led on the partnership with MAD including setting up taster sessions with a number of groups at the Buszy and helping to organise the outreach to the Oakhill Secure Training Centre.” Gavin Lombos, Readipop Music Leader

“Darius is a young musician with an interest in technology as well as being viola player in the MK youth orchestra. He joined the project early on as a peer mentor. He took part in the CPD training days and was a good advocate for the project amongst his peers in music service sessions. He worked well in the music service based sessions with a key small group of young musicians and helped devise, orchestrate and score key sections of the final piece.” Gavin Lombos, Readipop Music Leader.”


Increased confidence, self esteem and motivation of young people in challenging circumstances.

Of the core participants 6 (20% of the core group) were from a variety of challenging circumstances, including NEET, Young offender, Excluded from school, Sensory impairment and SEN. The YPICC were recruited from as a result of tasters across a range of settings (Youth Clubs, School, Secure Training Centre, Music Service). Some of the young people required on-going support from workers and older peers to maintain their involvement in the project, and there was a particularly high level of investment from the Secure Training Centre in Support Worker time to enable participation in the project by one young offender.

There were significant gains in both musical and social outcomes for these participants, as reported by the participants themselves and by the music leaders and support staff.


Comment from YPICC:

“It has helped me to develop my singing. Built up skills, team working and confidence”

“This has provided me with a great platform”

“I’ve developed my performing skills and my confidence”

“I wasn’t really confident when I started. I couldn’t look up at the crowd, or look up at all when I was rapping.”

“It helped me meet new people, I started writing songs, I got noticed. I’m going on a radio station in two weeks.”

Now I’ve got something that makes people listen. And a bigger range of people too.

Comment from music leaders, support workers

“ His progression from the first day to the final performance was amazing to witness”

Support Worker , Secure Training Centre

“I saw him improve his own performance and grow in confidence to mix and talk to others”

Music leader


Developed a new partnership of organisations working with young people across formal and informal education sectors

The project drew together a range of local partners working together for the first time. Some of the project partners have worked with each in 2 way partnerships but this is the first time a partnership has brought together 5 local music youth and music organisations together. All the partners are keen to work together beyond the project to support development of music opportunities and this has already had an impact at a strategic and project delivery level. (See project Legacy section 7.1)

The MK Urban Orchestra project developed the Stables role and capacity to facilitate youth music projects across MK and beyond, facilitating partnerships in different roles including as a commissioning organisation, a broker, a partnership project lead organisation.

“The Stables was meticulous in ensuring that the projects need to communicate effectively amongst its different partners, participants, leaders and trainees were met. Having them manage the project allowed the leaders to focus on the job that they needed to rather than get bogged down with logistics.” Russell Alsop Readipop Music Leader

“The Stables led on brokering all the local partnerships, introducing our music leaders to key people in partner organisations. This allowed the Readipop team to focus on delivery and managing relationships with young people. The venue was very ready to help and supportive of the young people’s needs, giving them space to work and ‘chill out’ as well as providing a high level of technical assistance.” Gavin Lombos, Readipop Music Leader –



Section 2 – Youth Involvement

2.1 How did you encourage children and young people to have a voice and a say in all aspects of your project, and how did they influence its development? (500 words)

The principle way young people influenced the project was in the main creative process, where their ideas and input were the key elements to create the material and the performance. This was one of the principle musical aims for the project and was successful in that. We had limited success in our aim to involve young people in organising and promoting aspects of the project. We had hoped to recruit an additional group of aspiring ‘event producers’ through one of the project partners but in the end were unsuccessful. This did not seem to be an interest of the core group who preferred to be focussed on the creative and performance side, though we did have some involvement from them in the live performance programming that accompanied the DVD launch/celebration

The young people in the MKUO informed the creative process in the following ways:

  • The taster sessions allowed participants to try different techniques, which enabled then to make informed choices later in the workshop process, including trying out previously unfamiliar techniques.
  • Taster session feedback forms from the young people were used to inform the music leaders about what the young people liked and disliked and what they were interested in taking forward. This helped music leader’s form sessional plans and ways of working so as to best engage the participants.
  • Participants made choices about which of the music tech kit that was available to them was the most appropriate to use and they made selections of the sounds and apps to be used in the final performance.
  • Each element of the final musical piece was initially created by a participant.
  • Individual young people in the group supported the creative team by transcribing parts, arranging sections and producing their own scores. Large sections of the scored elements of the final work were entirely composed by young people.
  • Participants took part in planning discussions with the music leaders to agree and sketch out the structure of the final performance piece.
  • Sessions usually started with a ‘production meeting’ where the current position in the creative process was discussed. This informal evaluation lead to action plans for the sessions being agreed. As the project progressed the young people had increased input into this process commenting on parts they would like to work on and add in.
  • Each session ended with a review discussion and an outline plan agreed for future sessions. This plan featured in the music leaders’ feedback notes and helped the creative team with overall planning.
  • After each session music leaders completed an online evaluation form, to capture the participants responses and comments on the session, statistical information and music leaders own reflections. These responses allowed the creative team to plan future sessions as well as look out for any potential problems.
  • In the devising and rehearsal process, a number of young people took over management of setting up the equipment, supporting parts of the rehearsal process and working with young less experienced players.
  • Elements of the final piece were left free for the young people to improvise within agrees parameters. The group helped set the structure so were free to perform according to their own musical choices.
  • The creative team had regular project meetings to look at feedback forms and to review the participants input, reflect on the progress to date, and plan the next stages for the project.

Section 3 – Formal volunteering opportunities

If you did not offer volunteering opportunities as part of your project, please move to section 4.

3.1 Please tell us about your project’s volunteering opportunities (500 words)

The project originally identified a group of young ‘gig promoters’ associated with one of the partners as potential volunteers to support some of the events within the program, particularly the DVD launch and celebration event. Most of these young people were also musicians and in the end engaged mainly as musical participants in the project, with a small amount of organisation support for the final event.

A more formal volunteer role was created for one of the senior students from the Music Service, who took part in some of the music leader CPD and in supporting other players in the creative sessions for orchestral instrument players, the intensive devising week and the performances.

“Darius is a young musician with an interest in technology as well as being viola player in the MK youth orchestra. He joined the project early on as a peer mentor. He took part in the CPD training days and was a good advocate for the project amongst his peers in music service sessions. He worked well in the music service based sessions with a key small group of young musicians and helped devise, orchestrate and score key sections of the final piece.” Gavin Lombos, Readipop Music Leader

One unexpected recruitment to the volunteering roles was the commitment of additional voluntary time from a youth worker with a strong interest in music. The youth worker had a background in classical music, and was looking to support more music making activity within the youth service. His formal role in the project was as the link /support worker to those young people from his service, but he was able to develop substantially as a music leader during the project. From the initial participation in the CPD, through to regularly supporting the participants in creative sessions and eventually joining the music leader and trainee team to lead parts of the final delivery stage. An unexpected outcome of this is the impact on the Youth service and its investment in supporting music making (See Legacy Section 7).

“Chris understood the project straight away and became instrumental in participant engagement through his holistic approach to both music making and youth work engagement. He continues to use this experience as a way to engage and is the single best living example of how this work has benefits beyond the project delivery dates.” Russell Alsop, Readipop Music Leader

We were not successful at encouraging any uptake of Arts Awards or other volunteer accreditation. Three of the partners were able to offer AA at bronze & Silver levels, and one up to gold. We initially planned that participants would access AA through the existing accreditation support of the partners, but that did not work in practice. There was also some antipathy toward Arts Awards for those participants who already had or were working towards GCSE\A level and other accreditation.


Section 4 – Project staff and their Continuing Professional Development (CPD)

 4.1 What kind of CPD was offered through your project? Please summarise the impact of the CPD on your project staff? (300 words)

All the project music leaders and trainees took part in an initial day CPD workshop delivered by Gavin Lombos and Russ Alsop from lead project delivery partners Readipop. The workshop was designed to have the dual purpose of acting as CPD for the other MK UO music leaders (from MK Music Service) and the MKUO trainees who would be working with Readipop, as well as providing a CPD opportunity for practitioners across the SE region. The workshop introduced the UP model, the processes and technology that could to facilitate a project that combined creative composition, technology and acoustic instruments in live performance.

The UO team then had 2 days of specific teambuilding, skill sharing and developing working methods for the team. From that point the CPD element of the project was built into the on-going delivery, with Readipop mentoring the rest of the team. Also from this point all the team were involved in project planning sessions in addition to delivery sessions, to give the trainees and other music leaders insight into the project management processes.

CPD continued to be built in to delivery, including opportunities to take on different roles in supporting performance, leading workshops. One of the trainees took the lead in organising the DVD launch event with support from Readipop.

One of the music leaders from the Music Service, one of the trainees and a volunteer took an active lead in the follow on Primary School Road Show workshops. This included specific CPD sessions with Readipop to co-plan and devising the road show workshop content. Although the take-up of these from primary schools was lower than anticipated and had the delivery was delayed, it was important to deliver some of these sessions to consolidate the learning for the trainee and volunteer


Section 5 – Local services and community involvement

5.1 Please tell us more about how your project engaged with local services and the community. (300 words)

The Urban Orchestra was complimentary to any other music provision available locally due to the unique nature of the project and the combination of young people from different musical and social backgrounds, the combination of music technology and live instruments, the way it developed the creative activity of the young people.

We developed new links with Youth Service – not originally a project partner but grew to be a significant host of workshops and engaged with the project at much deeper level than we had though possible. As well as taking taster sessions into several youth centres and clubs the central Youth service premises became a hub for some of the weekly creative sessions. There has been a significant impact on The Youth service ambitions for music participation as part of its work ( see Legacy Section 7).

The project provided the first opportunity for the Stables to work with MK City Orchestra on an outreach project. MKCO facilitated a successful foyer performance at MK Theatre, the largest professional venue in the city. Several of the project partners had not worked together before and the project laid the foundations of future collaboration.

The success of the recruitment phase of the project depended significantly on the effectiveness of the taster sessions. Some project partners where more effective as taster hosts, and in giving on-going support to young people to take part than others. Spreading the tasters across formal and informal settings helped to minimise the risks of low levels of recruitment. Initial take up from schools for tasters was difficult achieve, but making the taster delivery model more flexible was eventually successful. Future projects would benefit from more flexible taster models from the outset.

The wider community, parents/carers and others were principally involved through hosting tasters, attending performances and DVD launch/celebration events.


Section 6 – Practice Sharing

6.1 Please describe the nature of any practice sharing activity and provide evidence of its impact

A 2 day CPD workshop was delivered in partnership with Music Leader SE, and delivered by Gavin Lombos and Russ Alsop from Readipop.The initial 2 day CPD shared Readipop’s approach and practice with music leaders based locally and regionally.

The workshop was designed to give a compressed experience of the UO process, and explored workshop techniques, devising, use of technology to facilitate creative composition, combining technology and acoustic instruments in live performance. Eighteen regional practitioners attended (plus the 2 other music leaders and 2 trainees from the MK team). The workshops were evaluated by MLSE and were overwhelmingly positively received by practitioners, some of whom were planning to develop cross-genre creative projects of a similar nature.

The CPD sessions directly influenced the planning and delivery of the Orchestra ONE project (the Orchestra of New Experiences). This was a two-year youth music programme bringing together a large group of young musicians to create new music facilitated by leading professional musicians. The Rochester Bridge Trust funded ORCHESTRA ONE with Kent Music delivering the programme in partnership with Rhythmix.

Readipop’s music leaders visited the project, seeing an Orchestra ONE performance in Maidstone, Kent and talking with the music leaders afterwards. The Readipop music leaders were able to reflect on the similarities and differences in MKUO and Orchestra ONE, and how that reflection could inform Readipop and others future delivery.

Russell Alsop Readipop Music Leader – “Orchestra ONE – couldn’t have happened without us. Russell Grooms of Orchestra ONE/Rhythmix described Readipop as “the “Godfathers of the Urban Orchestra model”.


Section 7 – Project Legacy

7.1 What legacy has your project left behind

The UO project and the partnership it involved was influential in the formation of MK Music Education Hub. The experience of collaborating on UO increased the trust between the partners and facilitated the early hub consultation and formation of the steering group/governance group, of which 5 of the UO partners are represented on. The UO was cited by hub partners and others as the kind of project and outcomes the Hub should aspire to deliver.

Urban Orchestra has had a substantial influence on the Youth Service, which has increased commitment and resources for music making with young people. The key link youth worker for Urban Orchestra, who also put in additional voluntary time to the project, has had had his time and role consolidated from general session youth work into a full music development role. The aim is to bring a more coordinated and strategic music offer across the city’s youth centres. He now works across 5 youth centres , delivering music activity drawing heavily on the UO model of fusing music technology and live instrumentation. The Youth Service has invested in a range of music tech equipment and instruments to support this work, and also developed a Youth Service Summer music residential trip, piloted for the first time in 2012 (and which will be further developed in 2013). This also used ideas from the UO model, and included 2 of the UO participants who were able to take a more peer mentoring role in the residential.

The project has developed the Stables learning and participation strategy, with the ambition to deliver more work outside the building, in partnership with other organisations and focussed on specific target groups.

The Secure Training Centre (YOI) reported significant positive impact on the trainee they supported to take part in the project. Several staff visited the project, including the Director attending the final performance. They have indicated a desire to develop more music based projects in centre and linking outside.

Readipop is continuing to share the successes of the MKUO within its own practice and via new partnerships with the Oxfordshire Music Education Partnerships ‘Musical Inclusion’ project which will include a small Urban Orchestra inspired CPD and performance project with music educators and young people from Oxfordshire County Music Service and the ArkT project based in Cowley, Oxford.

Readipop aims to re-visit the MKUO CPD training day participants within its Urban Orchestra spotlight project to evaluate the impact of the input and share this further through an Urban Orchestra toolkit.

Readipop received a higher level of project partner venue support than in other projects, which enables Readipop to focus on the key creative and development aims for the project. “The partnership with the Stables was a vast improvement on our previous project venue partners and has influenced our practice and approach to future venue relationships.”