The 20 / 21 academic year has been a year of digital upgrade for us here at Yorkshire Youth and Music. As well as the behind-the-scenes changes for internal staff (who now find themselves working from home and getting to grips with Microsoft Teams… amongst other new software!), we’ve been incredibly fortunate to have the opportunity to upgrade the musical equipment that we can use with the young people we’ve managed to continue to work with during the pandemic, and the children we hope to work with in the future (thanks in no small part to support from the Arts Council via their Cultural Recovery Fund). You can read more about the kit we have purchased here.

As well as upgrading our hardware and software, and enabling our staff to work (more safely) from home, we have also created two sets of online video resources inspired by two of our current projects:

As the pandemic has developed over the last 12 months, we felt that the young people we could no longer safely spend time with in-person deserved access to music and musical activity in some form.

For D/deaf children, we created a series of videos, accessible for free online via YouTube (all signed and with subtitles), that contained a range of musical activities and questions, to touch base on the basics in preparation for our return to face-to-face contact.

With the support of staff at The Becton Centre in Sheffield, where our mental health project happens, the young people now have access to a range of filmed activities that staff members and children can try together. So even though our facilitators can’t be there, our partnerships with local organisations are still enabling musical work to continue in some form.

We think this is so important – particularly for those children who are struggling with their mental health – and we took the opportunity to provide online resources as soon as we had the means to do so. Maybe this month is more about how technology has made our lives easier… but we think the answer to why music makes lives better this month is because it can still happen, and still allow young people to have a voice and an outlet, no matter what the circumstances.