Youth Music: assessing the impact of its MusicLeader network

Funded by Youth Music, MusicLeader was a unique national network and programme which supported the professional development of the music leading workforce, and which provided the foundations for the current Youth Music Network. We worked with Youth Music in 2009 to assess the network’s impact, identify workforce development needs moving forward and provide recommendations for the network’s strategic development.

The starting point for our research was to consult MusicLeader’s 11 000 members, using an online survey. Amongst music leaders, the response rate was around 14%, and 17% for those working in so-called ‘employer organisations’, both much higher than the typical 5% response for online surveys.

Survey data enabled us to: provide a demographic profile of respondents, as well as identify levels of earning and days worked by them; identify respondents needs and ambitions for the future, and – crucially – interrogate their use of MusicLeader’s various services, uncover what they found most valuable about them, and seek their views on how MusicLeader could improve its offer to the music leading workforce. Follow up focus groups enabled us to deepen our understanding, and begin to shape our response to the findings. We carried out a range of one-to-one interviews with key figures from across the music education sector, to test our initial recommendations and ensure that they would result in MusicLeader complementing rather than duplicating existing provision.

Our recommendations formed the basis of a final report, and were used by Youth Music in the development of subsequent strategy for raising the quality, value and impact of music leadership in the UK.