Music for Youth chief executive Judith Webster on how her organization is embracing change and giving more young musicians a voice.
Music for Youth will celebrate its 50th birthday in 2020 – a milestone and an opportunity to both celebrate the achievements of the past while looking to the future. With this in mind, I have never been more conscious of the need to keep abreast of the changes in our fast-moving world. We simply cannot stand still. To do so is to be left behind. But what does keeping ahead mean in reality?
For Music for Youth, this means developing our methods through a greater understanding of how technology has dramatically changed the way young people access music, how they actively engage with it, how and what they consume...
...So in 2014 we developed a new series of events named Frequencies, with a focus on ‘contemporary music’ (urban, electronic, pop, grime etc.) and pathways into the music industry. We changed our systems so that young people could get involved independently of organisations. We spoke to young people through the different channels they use, like promoting registration through social media rather than recruit through teachers. Young people could sign up themselves, submitting tracks online, leading to them having a voice at the events through their music and having open opportunities to collaborate with other young artists and professional musicians. We cut out the middle man and changed the balance of power.