At YY&M, we believe that young people deserve second chances – or perhaps to have chances for the first time in their lives.

We work in Youth Justice settings to contribute to rehabilitation and to encourage young people to live secure, meaningful and socially responsible lives.

We encourage the children to make their own music, engaging the children with a range of musical genres and styles, along with an introduction and support to use music technology. Here's more about what they learn when they work with our experienced facilitators. They will:

  • Learn to use industry standard digital software to create and manipulate sound
  • Write songs and lyrics – working on rhyming, line length, structure and word meaning
  • Develop confidence in their speaking and singing voices, and using microphones
  • Learn to focus and create, shape, edit their work to make a finished piece to a high standard
  • Learn to listen critically to their own work, and make improvements
  • Learn some instrumental techniques, on guitar, keyboards and other instruments
  • Learn to work alongside, and learn from, professional musicians
  • Achieve an Arts Award qualification
  • Learn to express their thoughts and feelings in a way that allows the rest of us to understand their perspective

The following tracks are all written, performed and produced by our participants (with the support of our trained music leaders):

The young people we work with may display challenging behaviour, may have had patchy or disengaged experiences of formal education, and may have difficulty in forming social relationships. The musicians who work in these situations for YY&M are trained for the situation, and often they need to learn and abide by the procedures in place in Youth Justice.

We get some remarkable results – a song which is an apology to Mum, or expressing regret for their past actions. We have found hidden talent in lyric writing, enthusiastic performers, putting real effort into learning to play the guitar, and sometimes just a renewed interest in music and listening to lots of different styles.

Detailed case studies and information are impossible – young people’s identities have to be protected. So if you want to learn more, you’ll need to contact our team.

Over the last two years we have begun to work with more young people who are in the care of Youth Justice services. We have projects in residential settings for young people Secure Children’s Homes, and Young Offender Institutions. We also have projects for young people in the community, who are in the care of their local authority Youth Justice Services.

Often these young people have very challenging lives; they live in care homes, may not be able to attend mainstream school, and their life experiences may include trauma or neglect.

Sometimes young people will happily participate in music when they refuse all other opportunities; we see it as a route back to mainstream learning, and mainstream society.

Some of the young people taking part are in the process of completing Bronze Arts Awards. Read our director, Gail Dudson’s full report on the project, here:

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Bronze Arts Award for Young People
in Secure Accommodation (PDF)>

This project continues and from 2023 is funded by Youth Music:

Youth Music

We’ve written a handy guide

Our ‘Getting the Best’ guide, specifically for teachers, teaching assistants and other members of staff working with young people in secure and controlled environments, will help you to make the most of a visiting musician and the music project they come to deliver for you.

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Secure and Controlled
Environments (PDF)  >

Back in 2016, we also ran a half day conference for people interested and already engaged in facilitating music sessions in youth justice settings, in partnership with Sheffield Music Education Hub and the University of Sheffield. If you'd like more advice on working with music in Youth Justice settings, please feel free to contact us.