The Heart of the Matter: Looking back at where we started from…
September is the start of the new academic year for all of us working in the education sector. For Yorkshire Youth and Music, that generally means the beginning of our planning for the year to come.
To make effective plans going forwards, we need to look to our past projects and objectives, take a constructively critical view of our successes (and what didn’t work so well) and adjust our plans accordingly. We then put together our new, overall objectives for the coming year, as well as a more detailed plan for delivery, making sure to keep in line with the values of the company (i.e. the overarching goals of the charity, found in our mission statement). Over the next two months, we will be talking about the heart of our decisions on a strategic level.
So what, specifically, is the Heart of the Matter this month?
We need to delve into the past for this one, folks… and take a critical look back at the last year of work completed.
It is one thing to celebrate our successes (and it is important to recognise and celebrate achievements made by staff and by the children and young people involved in our projects), but to make our work even better (which we continually strive for) and to develop as a company overall, we need to take a more detailed and constructive look at what we’ve accomplished over a twelve month period.
Yorkshire Youth & Music always produce a yearly list of ‘priority targets’, which is basically a summary of the aims we want to tackle, using music projects as a vehicle. For the last academic year, these were:
- – Improving the quality of life for young people in Youth Justice settings
- – Giving children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) opportunities to make music (which helps them develop in other areas too, such as improved co-ordination and communication skills)
- – Opening the door for Deaf and Hearing Impaired children to access mainstream instrumental lessons with their local music service
We definitely hit our targets this year and you can read all about our current projects here: http://www.yym.org.uk/what-were-doing/current-projects/
In order to maintain the high standards within our work, we integrate evaluation into our projects from the very beginning, taking a macro- and a micro- view of each piece of work at regular intervals during each term of delivery. This ensures that we are meeting both the specific aims of our projects (micro) and that we are delivering this work in line with our wider values (macro). Making the time to do this properly is massively important for a number of reasons – the most important for us is keeping the quality of our projects at levels that continually exceed our expectations (and the requirements of our funders). But we can only go above and beyond if we know where we’ve started from.
YY&M creates music education projects for children and young people in a variety of complex and severely challenging circumstances. In order to provide meaningful musical experiences for these young people, we make decisions that get to the heart of both their needs and what makes a good musical project. We want to share the hows and whys with YOU, our readers, in a new feature on our website (and our bulletin) called ‘Heart of the Matter‘. Each month over the course of 2019, we will reveal how each of our projects get to the real heart of what music education means to us.