Initiatives to research, advocate, and advance music and cultural education.

The Rock ‘n’ Read Project – ‘If you can’t read, you can’t succeed.’


The Rock ‘n’ Read Project in Minnesota uses proven, research-based strategies which help children to read at their grade level through singing. Singing is the fastest way to learn new vocabulary and increase comprehension and fluency.

Neuroscientists have found that making music, moving, and creative play develop a brain that is more able to acquire language, improves reading, helps in understanding mathematics, and many other executive functions such as planning, creating, and focusing. Neuroscientists such as Dr. Nina Kraus at Northwestern University are calling for schools to get children singing and moving daily. Keeping a steady beat and singing can remediate ineffective areas of the brain.

Children who cannot read at their grade level struggle to keep up, and often drop out of school. Reading is the most important factor in closing the achievement gap, and the Rock ‘n’ Read Project’s strategies have shown a dramatic improvement in reading achievement.

Founded by Bill Jones and Ann Kay, the Rock ‘n’ Read Project is a non-profit organisation run by a board of directors.

The Rock ‘n’ Read Project:

U2-funded Music Generation says music education needs diverse approaches


Research by Ireland’s Music Generation reinforces the belief – central to many music education hubs in England – that diverse approaches to methods and outcomes are essential in music education.

Music Generation is Ireland’s national music education programme. It was initiated by Music Network, and is co-funded by U2, The Ireland Funds, the Department of Education and Skills and local music education partnerships, and aims to change the way Ireland looks at music education for children and young people.

Rosaleen Molloy, national director of Music Generation, says the “lightbulb moment” came when they began to examine in detail how music is impacting on young people in very different ways. “There is more than one way that we can engage children and young people in music education. It’s not just about taking piano lessons and doing graded exams.”

The research, Possible Selves in Music, was commissioned in partnership with Dublin City University and looked at how musical experiences impacted on the lives of young people at Music Generation centres around the country.

The results showed that there is no single, right way to approach music education. Instead, diverse approaches to music education across all genres is necessary to provide positive experiences for young people.

“As a very rigorous academic document this goes very deeply into the ‘how’ of Music Generation,” said Rosaleen Molloy. “This is not an evaluation report. This is a very new way for music education in Ireland. It has identified different ways in which children can engage across different types of music education activities. It is revealing an entire new model for how a range of partners can come together to make something valuable happen. It’s very much a guidance document that we will refer to over the next five years.”

“Diversity permeates how we’re doing this. That’s what’s so revolutionary about it,” she adds. “This has never really been done before, not just in Ireland but internationally.”

The Irish Times:
Music Generation:

Levi’s launches an education programme to support young musicians


Levi’s recently announced a long-term initiative in the US and UK, to provide young people with access to music education, responding to the fact that music education is being cut in schools.

The brand has worked with four musicians so far to launch a series of music education programmes for young people in the UK and USA.

It has worked with London grime artist, Skepta, to launch a two-month music programme at a community centre in Tottenham, covering lighting design, sound production and building a social media presence as an artist. And it has worked with Alicia Keys to create a music technology course at a school in Brooklyn, New York, introducing students to sound engineering, audio-visual production, post-production, mastering and songwriting.

With hip-hop artist Vince Staples it has worked to create a music technology programme for teens at a YMCA in Long Beach, California, which kicked off with a songwriting class led by Staples. And musician SZA also teamed up with the brand back in April to put on a summer concert and community event promoting healthy eating in New Jersey.

Jennifer Sey, chief marketing officer at Levi’s, says the idea for the project came out of research which revealed that music education is being cut in schools.

“We thought that was quite sad really, so what we aim to do with these artists is to create customised programmes that they help us build,” she explains. “Not each one is the same but we work with them to essentially bring music education back to their communities. The idea is to give kids a chance to learn music and express themselves in a positive way. If they become musicians, great. If they don’t, that’s fine too. Really, the benefit is in the learning.”

Projects will be documented online and Levi’s is promoting the scheme on social media using the hashtag #supportmusic. The brand is also selling #supportmusic pins online and in stores and proceeds will go towards funding new programmes around the world.

Creative Review:
Levi’s Music Project:

The Full English – folk initiative

EFDSS The Full EnglishThe Full English is a ground-breaking project to create the largest digital archive of English folk songs, dances, tunes and customs with more than 80,000 items of manuscript.

The work was carried out by the English Folk Dance and Song Society (EFDSS) between 2012 and 2014, supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund, delivered in partnership with a number of archives and cultural organisations from across England and beyond.

The archive delivers the true ‘voice of the English people’ through a variety of material ranging from full songs to fragments of melodies, invaluable for researchers, performers, composers and many more. It is rich in social, family and local history, and provides a snapshot of England’s cultural heritage through voices rarely published and heard before.

Find out more:

The Full English case studies and outcomes summary report

The Full English evaluation report

The Full English 18 case studies


New report proves digital technology is key to improving access to music education in rural areas

Connect:Resound report from NYMAZFollowing a pilot project – Connect: Resound which involved 71 children from seven primary schools across North Yorkshire, music education in rural areas could soon be getting a digital boost.

The seven-week pilot project explored low-cost methods of providing online instrumental lessons remotely, and trialled video-streaming technologies and online communication tools, such as Skype and Twitter.

79.5 per cent of parents and carers said they would not have tried to find instrumental lessons for their children had this opportunity not been available. And 70.1 per cent of pupils said they enjoyed the lessons ‘very much’ and 74.1 per cent said they wished to continue to learn their instruments ‘very much’ or ‘quite a lot’.

The research was led by youth music development charity NYMAZ, along with music education practitioners from the North Yorkshire County Council Music Hub, researchers from the University of Hull and technologists from UCan Play.

Heidi Johnson, director of NYMAZ, said: “Children living in rural areas currently miss out when it comes to music education. The use of digital technology could put an end to that inequality and it’s our collective responsibility to ensure it happens.”

NYMAZ (summary):
NYMAZ (full report):
York Press:

Music Makes Me Whole

Music Makes Us Whole

The Music Makes Me Whole initiative, co-lead by the Minnesota Music Educators Association (MMEA) and Classical Minnesota Public Radio, is a grassroots movement to initiate conversations on the importance of music education within communities throughout the state.

It started with a series of talks that focused on shared interests amongst individuals from different music-based organisations.



Music Makes Me Whole website

Grand Rapids Herald-Review:

International Music Education Research Centre


The International Music Education Research Centre (iMerc),is a team-based world-renowned centre for interdisciplinary research in music and the social sciences.

It is directed by Professor Graham Welch and Dr Evangelos Himonides, with Professor Lucy Green and Professor Susan Hallam.

Visit the International Music Education Research Centre (iMerc) site

See the list of iMerc research on the site.


International Centre for Community Music


In response to the global interest in creative music participation and inclusivity the ICCM, directed by Professor Lee Higgins, aims to provide a global forum through which community music research, teaching, scholarship, professional practice and pedagogy can be nurtured, developed, disseminated and networked.


Visit the International Centre for Community Music website

Broader minded music education campaign

Broaderminded Nafme campaignThe US-based National Association for Music Education (NAfME)’s award winning Broader Minded advocacy campaign was created to offer a compelling and thorough case for providing music education experiences to all.

Scroll down to the bottom of the Broader Minded home page to see quotes from teachers, students and from research, about how music helps young people with: improving cognition, decision making, reading, grit, higher grade point averages, multiple ways of knowing, creativity, higher attendance and graduation rates, collaboration, communication, spatial reasoning, closing the attainment gap, transcending socioeconomic levels, critical thinking, engagement, emotional awareness, processing sound, staying focused, reflective learning and process orientation.

National Association for Music Education (NAfME), is one of the world’s largest arts education organisations. It advocates at the local, state, and national levels; provides resources for teachers, parents, and administrators; hosts professional development events; and offers a variety of opportunities for students and teachers.

Cultural Learning Alliance – a collective voice for the UK’s cultural learning sector

Cultural learning alliance

The Cultural Learning Alliance unites the cultural, youth and learning sectors in developing and advocating for a coherent national strategy for cultural learning.

It carries out research, consultations and evidence reviews, draws together case studies and other evidence, and advocates and lobbies for the sector, working with politicians and national organisations to make the case for culture in education.