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Expanding their horizons

Government-funded programmes are helping underprivileged children through music. But might they also help us to redefine art itself?

By Ivan Hewett   December 2010

Teenagers at a music class at the Pie Factor project: “we don’t ban songs about drugs…”

“Through music-making, any young person, regardless of their background, should have opportunities to discover their creativity and fulfil their potential.” This is part of the mission statement of Youth Music, perhaps Britain’s highest-profile and best-funded community arts organisation. Founded in 1999, Youth Music receives around £10m a year through Arts Council England, with which it has funded 830 projects during its first ten years. Since 1999, it has reached over 2m children and young people.

Community music was once a politically subversive grassroots movement.…

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