Fife Youth Music Forum Executive Summary: Provision of musical activities for young people in Fife
Ruth Stevenson, Ruthless Research www.ruthlessresearch.co.uk April 2011
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY Background and context Young people in Scotland today have a great variety of interests, demands on their time, and sources of information and influence available to them. Half of young people aged 1115 are involved with music in school, compared to 35% outside school, but levels of participation fall with age. Arts participation tends to be influenced by encouragement from parents, positive early experiences and being from an advantaged background. Fife Youth Music Forum was set up by Fife Council with support from Creative Scotland, and is part of a Scotland-wide initiative. Fife Youth Music Forum will provide opportunities for young people across the spectrum of musical activity and will enable networking between those working in the formal and informal sectors, local organisations, voluntary groups and the private sector. In order to embark upon these activities, Fife Youth Music Forum engaged Ruthless Research to undertake a mapping exercise and needs analysis. Methodology A mapping exercise was conducted to source information about the range of music activities currently available for young people in Fife. A database was prepared using Microsoft Access, which was populated using information sourced through the needs analysis survey, targeted emails, and Google searches. A needs analysis survey was conducted with stakeholders to identify their needs in relation to the development of youth music provision in Fife, and the Fife Youth Music Forum. Stakeholders were either young people aged under 26 living in Fife, or people involved with the provision of music activities for young people aged under 26 living in Fife. Data collection was conducted in February and March 2011. Key findings: Mapping current provision in Fife In total, information about 228 music activities in Fife was included in the database. Just over a third (34%) of activities in the database were singing activities, and just under a third (32%) were traditional Scottish music activities, 28% were classical and 27% were Musical Theatre. More of the activities in the database were available to secondary school aged children (or older): for those aged 12-15 (32%), those aged 16-17 (29%) and those aged 18-25 (28%). The figure is slightly lower for primary school aged children, at 23%. Only 10% of the activities were available for children aged 0-4, the lowest of all age groups. Almost half of activities (44%) ran weekly, with a further 7% running more often than weekly. Around one in five activities (21%) ran annually. The vast majority of activities were run by community-based group (70%). Around one in ten activities were provided by Fife Council (11%) or a private organisation (9%). In terms of geographic distribution of activities, Kirkcaldy had the highest number of musical activities (30) followed by Dunfermline (24), St. Andrews (20) and Cupar (11). On Ruthless Research
the whole bigger towns had more activities, and smaller villages had fewer activities. Provision approximates to one music activity per 2,000 population. In Fife, the less deprived areas are only slightly more likely to have a concentration of musical activities. Much of this can be accounted for by the economic history of the area (i.e. galas relating to fishing, or bands associated with mines or factories) Contact details of some sort were available for every entry into the database. An email address was available for virtually all activities. Observations on the mapping exercise Engagement with the mapping exercise was limited, implying a degree of apathy towards strategic planning around music in Fife. Some activity providers did not feel that Fife Youth Music Forum was relevant to them. Several said that they did not currently provide activities to young people or have any young members. There was also a lack of engagement from ‘generic’ organisations. It was challenging to find out detailed information about some of the activities via the internet and websites tended to be set up to publicise performances, or with current members in mind. A potential participant would find it difficult to assess whether they wanted to join the group, or get in touch with the group to ask about joining. Key findings: The needs of Providers of music activities for young people In total, 54 Providers responded to the needs analysis survey. The Providers found it difficult to meet the needs of young people (41% saying it was fairly difficult and 6% very difficult). Only 2% found it very easy. The Providers tended to feel that they would benefit most from communicating with other Providers nearby in Fife (69%) or throughout Scotland (46%). Gaps in provision in Fife were identified to relate to specific musical genres (11%) or specific age groups (9%) as well as musical tuition (11%) and funding (9%). Finding funding (59%) and sustaining funding (52%) was considered to be the biggest challenge for Providers. Following this, finding enough participants was a challenge for 43% of Providers, and marketing services was a challenge for 30% of providers. Additional funding would make it easier for 35% of the Providers to provide activities, along with general support (13%), networking opportunities (9%), help with advertising (9%) and links with schools or music tutors (9%). Perceived barriers to participation for young people included friends with different interests (43%), cost of participation (37%), transport (35%) and a lack of time (30%). At least seven in ten Providers felt that they did not have sufficient access to strategic opportunities or facilities. More than half of Providers felt that there was a place for Fife Youth Forum to provide opportunities and facilities based around music within Fife. The Providers would prefer to hear from Fife Youth Music Forum via online methods, with 67% selecting email bulletins and 63% selecting a website. Around half (52%) felt that Fife Youth Music Forum should communicate via musical performances, and a third felt they should communicate via the local press / media (35%) and meetings (33%). The Providers felt that Fife Youth Music Forum should communicate with young people via websites (56%), Musical performances (48%), email bulletins (46%) and blogs (46%). Ruthless Research
Key findings: The needs of young people In total 305 responses to the needs analysis survey were received from young people. Of these, 249 were currently involved with musical activities, and 56 were not. Those currently involved in musical activities tended to find it easy to get involved (61%). Of those who responded and currently took part in music activities, classical music was the most prevalent activity (41%), followed by singing (30%) and musical theatre (29%). Barriers to involvement were that friends have different interests (61% of musicians and 48% of non-musicians), lack of time (30% of musicians and 21% of non-musicians), cost of participation (23% of musicians and 18% of non-musicians) and lack of interest in music (21% of musicians and 20% of non-musicians). It was felt that it would be easier for young people to get involved with music if more information was available (14%), if it was cheaper (9%), if transport to activities was improved (6%) or if activities were more local (6%). The young people wanted to see more orchestras or bands (11%), musical performances, festivals or gigs (9%) and taster sessions, workshops and music lessons (9%). Almost all (94%) of the musicians said that they would like to meet musicians from other regions. They were interested in meeting musicians from Fife (36%), Scotland (34%), the rest of the UK (31%) and abroad (57%). The young people wanted to hear from Fife Youth Music Forum via a website (51% of musicians and 36% of non-musicians). Other forms of communication selected by musicians were musical performances (41%), posters and flyers (34%), blogs (28%), local press or media (27%) and email bulletins (27%). In summary A good range of music activities are available for young people in Fife, but there is a general demand for more. Providers in Fife tend to understand the young people that they work with, but they have trouble meeting their needs because they face challenges with funding and producing suitable marketing to draw in new participants. Involvement feels easy for those young people who currently participate, however their friends tend to have different interests and they face practical barriers relating to cost, transport and location. The future of Fife Youth Music Forum Fife Youth Music Forum will need to engage with Providers, young people and parents in Fife. To create a dynamic, pro-active and responsive organisation it will be necessary to make provision for each of these groups to provide strategic input into the direction that Fife Youth Music Forum takes and also to benefit directly from the services. By creating a vibrant and integrated community, Fife Youth Music Forum will be able to provide opportunities that would not be available to individual organisations. As part of this consultation, potential roles for Fife Youth Music Forum were presented based on findings from the mapping and needs analysis. These were accompanied by an action plan for taking this work forward.
About Ruthless Research Ruthless Research is an Edinburgh-based research consultancy, through which Ruth Stevenson provides a range of qualitative and quantitative research solutions to organisations who work for the benefit of the community. Contact Ruth Stevenson Phone: 07884 023 781 Email: email@example.com Website: www.ruthlessresearch.co.uk Ruthless Research