Who We Are and What We Do

About Musical Futures

Musical Futures is a not-for-profit organisation, which first began in the UK 18 years ago as a Paul Hamlyn Foundation Special Initiative and is dedicated to supporting teachers with teaching music in a way that helps them to engage and enthuse their students.

Musical Futures supports primary and secondary schools to transform their music teaching. We share the learning systems, professional development, tools and support needed to embrace an ethos of innovative, inspirational and informal music learning in the classroom and in the community.

In 2017 Musical Futures was selected by global education non-profit HundrED as one of 100 most innovative education projects across the world due to its unique pioneering status and ability to create a scalable impact.

  • Musical Futures approaches involve making music learning relevant and engaging, imaginative and authentic for students, whatever their level of experience.
  • We offer training and consultancy predominantly in the UK, but have links with institutions and schools in many other countries around the world.
  • Our work is supported by our team of expert Champion Teachers have tried and tested the approaches in their classrooms.
  • Musical Futures has developed into a national and international network of more than 13,000 teachers and practitioners adapting the approaches in the UK and overseas.
  • 500,000+ young people benefit from Musical Futures every year.

It’s the way we learn

Music learning is most effective when young people are making music, and when their existing passion for music is reflected and built upon.

The Musical Futures approach is a tried-and-tested yet innovative way of teaching music learning.  It is based on a pedagogy that is driven by the musical culture of the participants. It brings real-world music learning processes into schools and other formal settings, engaging and inspiring all and promoting inclusion and diversity.


What does Musical Futures looks like?

The Musical Futures approach emphasises real-world learning, using methods that are employed by popular musicians and community practitioners outside of formal settings. It is is about an approach to learning, rather than a specific musical style genre, meaning that it is sustainable and transferable to a range of learning contexts, both within the UK and overseas.

Musical Futures is shaped around these core values:

  • Inclusive – everyone takes part at their own level
  • Absorbing – learning is practical and hands-on
  • Relevant – starts with music that learners engage and identify with
  • Sociable – it is collaborative and with friends
  • Informal – led by learners with teachers/leaders modelling, guiding, supporting
  • Varied – learners perform, listen, compose, improvise, work on a range of instruments and voices, use technology, explore a range of genres and styles
  • Progressive – music learning experiences are high quality, authentic where possible, and with clear progression routes
  • Respectful – all learners, no matter what their ability or experience, are treated as musicians, and are supported to learn and develop

Our Learning Models

*The informal learning model was devised and developed by Professor Lucy Green, UCL Institute of Education, London

Meet the Team

Our work at Musical Futures would not happen without the dedicated people behind it. Our core team is supported by a network of Champion Teachers who help promote best practice within their schools.

Meet the team ›

Yesterday’ss RSL course was absolutely outstanding. The school was awe inspiring and just walking round the corridors gave me some excellent ideas to implement at my own school. With regards to the RSL aspect of the course, I now have a strong understanding on how to run it and know how my assignment briefs should look etc. etc.

Jack Cotton – Broadgreen International School, Liverpool

Excellent workshops – extremely accessible for all abilities and levels.

Claire Armour, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra

In all schemes of work and lessons from now on! Excellent day, wish I would have come years ago.

Jamie Thomas, Hall Cross Academy