The Paul Hamlyn Foundation initiated and funded Musical Futures in 2003 as an action research programme to find new and imaginative ways of engaging young people in meaningful and sustainable music activities.

This significant PHF investment enabled the rigorous testing of models and approaches through pathfinder programmes in Nottingham, Leeds and Hertfordshire involving classroom teachers, Local Authority Music Services, universities and music education sector experts, led by David Price OBE. A series of pamphlets and an initial toolkit of resources were produced by the pathfinder teams.

Musical Futures has a strong grounding in academic research. Professor Lucy Green’s (University of London Institute of Education) extensive research into How Popular Musicians Learn informed the development of the Informal Learning model, with Professor Green leading the action research in Hertfordshire. The Guildhall School of Music and Drama’s work into transforming music leadership led to the development of the Classroom Workshopping model.

All materials from these pathfinder years were open source and made freely avaMobile phone and drum sticksilable, and it was teachers and practitioners who shaped the approaches by becoming early adopters, voluntarily trying and adapting the teaching and learning strategies in their classrooms and other learning settings.

Musical Futures rapidly scaled from 60 schools to a reported 600+ within the space of a few years, within the UK and overseas. The Paul Hamlyn Foundation continued its investment by funding further resource development and dissemination, a continuing professional development programme including conferences, the establishment of an online community of practice, and related events and advocacy.

In July 2014, after a significant strategic review, the Paul Hamlyn Foundation trustees agreed to provide a transition grant (until March 2017) to support Musical Futures to become an independent not-for-profit organisation.

Read Abigail D’Amore’s blog about Musical Futures and the 11 year relationship with the Paul Hamlyn Foundation.