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Four people stand outside in front of leafy green trees. They hold guitars, while another has two blue balloons in the shape of a one and zero

Young musicians invited to Hit The Road for 10th anniversary tour

Posted 21.09.23 by Alice Hinds

Celebrating 10 years of helping shape musical talent in Scotland, Hit The Road is inviting budding teenage artists to join them on a new anniversary tour

Launched in 2013, the project has supported more than 300 musicians across 120 live performances, delivering hundreds of industry sessions and helping aspiring young musicians to develop their talent and network with other artists.

Now, the initiative is encouraging musicians aged 14 to 19 to join its upcoming touring season, which will include performing at venues across Scotland, while also learning from seasoned industry professionals through a series of specialist workshops.

The workshops will cover a wide range of topics, from live sound engineering to stage production, equipping young artists with essential knowledge and skills for developing a career in the music industry.

Managed by the Scottish Music Centre and funded by the Youth Music Initiative (click here for more) via Creative Scotland and the PRS Foundation, the project has supported performers including singer-songwriter Lewis Capaldi and Perthshire-based pop-rock band Parliamo – and organisers hope to find Scotland’s next music sensation as they open up applications for the new touring season.

“Reaching the milestone of a decade for Hit The Road is an incredibly proud moment for all of us who have been a part of this journey,” explained the project’s manager Michael Cassidy. “Over the past decade, we've witnessed the transformative power of live music on the lives of young people across Scotland, and it's incredible to see how far so many of them have come within the music industry.

“Hit The Road's primary objective has always been to provide budding artists with a stepping stone into the world of professional music, helping those who may not otherwise have the means to tour professionally and showcase their music to different audiences across Scotland.

“As we enter our tenth year, we are incredibly excited to discover and nurture new musical talent, and look forward to welcoming a new generation of artists ready to carve their own paths in Scotland’s vibrant music scene. If you are between the ages of 14 and 19 and have a passion for music and live performance we would love to hear from you!”

Applications are open now for the next touring season of Hit The Road, which will take place between September 2023 and March 2024, with all gigs hosted in safe venues across Scotland which are suitable for ages 14 plus.

Due to the project's popularity, young musicians are encouraged to submit their applications early to avoid missing out.

For more information and to apply, click here to visit the Hit The Road website:

“Children and young people need better support to identify when a lawyer may be able to help uphold their rights, and where this is the case, they need easier access to highly skilled lawyers. Achieving this requires systemic and cultural change, and greater resourcing.”

Not only did the Alright? project provide a creative output for the participating children and young people, it also shares an important message about the need for lawyers who care about the young people they support, and highlights that young people want lawyers who are able to communicate and connect.

Ruth Kerracher of Youth Justice Voices (click here for more) added: “The Rights In Justice project has been a key feature of Youth Justice Voices work. Young people involved in the project have been able to articulate what they need and want from lawyers.

“‘Alright?’ is a powerful output, it was co-produced with young people and really brings to life the importance of relationships, time and what lawyers can do to uphold children’s rights. We hope that greater training is provided to ensure that support is age appropriate and children and young people understand the decisions or processes which impact on their lives.”

Clan Childlaw was established 15 years ago to give children and young people facing adversity in Scotland their own lawyers, protecting and strengthening their rights, giving them a voice in decision-making that impacts their futures, and to improving their lives.

For more information, click here to visit the Clan Childlaw website:

A young person plays guitar in the foreground, while another plays violin in the background

Youth Music Initiative funding confirmed by Scottish Government

Posted 25.05.23 by Alice Hinds

From pipe bands to singing workshops, thousands of young musicians will continue to benefit from Youth Music Initiative (YMI) funding, the Scottish Government has confirmed.

Culture Secretary Angus Robertson announced that the flagship programme, administered by Creative Scotland, will receive £9.5 million for 2023, including £500,000 to expand the successful model into other art forms.

Aiming to put “music at the heart of children and young people’s lives and learning”, the YMI enables schools and other organisations to provide quality music-making activities, supporting all musical genres, age groups and teaching methods.

First introduced in 2003, the education programme has supported more than 230 projects each year across the country, from African Drumming workshops in Shetland to Children in Scotland’s recent Innovation Labs (click here for more), with 362,000 children and young people taking part in YMI-funded projects during 2021-22 alone.

The funding has also supported 1,182 music education posts across all of Scotland’s 32 local authorities.

The news comes after parents, teachers and tutors expressed fears over the flagship programme’s future when funding was initially paused last year during The Scottish Government’s emergency budget review.

Announcing the funding award during a visit to Murrayburn Primary School, Edinburgh, where pupils have benefitted from the programme, the Culture Secretary said: “Music plays a vitally important role in young people’s lives, and beyond developing their wider skills and learning we know these kinds of activities also have a huge positive impact on their confidence and wellbeing.

“We are committed to ensuring every school pupil in Scotland can access a year of free music tuition by the time they leave primary school through the YMI, no matter their background. YMI is focused on creating opportunities for groups of children and young people who may not otherwise have the chance to participate in cultural activity.

“This year’s funding takes our investment in this programme to more than £150 million since 2007, to enable free music tuition for hundreds of thousands of young people, and support thousands of music sector jobs across the country.”

For more information, click here to visit the Creative Scotland website.

New Emerging Minds project will examine how live music could boost young people’s mental health and wellbeing

5 February 2021


A unique multi-partner research project will examine evidence for the impact of live music experiences on the mental health and wellbeing of children and young people.

Click here to learn more about the project and to find out how you can take part

Children in Scotland is collaborating with Scottish Ensemble on the research, joined by the University of Stirling, the Scottish Government and the charity’s children and young people’s advisory group Changing our World.

The project, announced today as part of Children’s Mental Health Week 2021, stems from the partner organisations’ shared interest in exploring evidence about the impact of live music on children’s wellbeing.

It reflects their hope that, in the wake of the pandemic, live music can be made an accessible part of mental health improvement activity.

The University of Stirling will bring research expertise to the project, while the Scottish Government’s Mental Health Division will have direct access to learning from the research to help shape government policy.

Young members of Changing our World will steer the group’s focus and collaborate with other members to discuss the findings and agree recommendations.

The Special Interest Research Group led by Children in Scotland and Scottish Ensemble is one of 18 supported by Emerging Minds, a UK- wide research network aiming to reduce the prevalence of mental health problems experienced by young people.

Children in Scotland’s Head of Policy, Projects and Participation Amy Woodhouse said:

“Through this project we want to understand what it is about experiencing music live that may have a positive impact on mental health. We’ll be studying the evidence for this from the perspective of children and young people, looking at the impact of different factors such as location and performance type, and how experiences vary based on age and protected characteristics, such as disability, sexuality or race. We want to identify how barriers such as poverty and other forms of disadvantage can be overcome.

“Much work has already been conducted on the impacts of learning and playing an instrument on young people’s attainment and wider learning outcomes. But our emphasis will be on the wider holistic benefits of using music as much for wellbeing purposes as for curriculum-related priorities.

“We plan to engage with others working in related areas for a series of research discussions, and we look forward to a programme of workshops over the summer which will take the project forward.”

Scottish Ensemble Project Manager Duncan Sutherland said:

“I think many of us have had a moment in our lives at a live music performance that’s connected with us in a special way. Music has that ability to inspire deep emotional connections and it’s those connections and that impact we’re looking to explore in this project, and how we can use that to enhance wellbeing for young people.

“We’re really looking forward to working with organisations from different sectors for the shared learning and discussion that will bring, and hopefully that learning will contribute to making a real impact for young people in the near future.”

Lynne Gilmour, ESCRC PhD student at the University of Stirling, said:

“I’m really excited about this project and exploring how we might take forward research into practice and see real benefits to children’s mental health through live music. Listening to live music is completely experiential, and can be a vehicle for emotional expression, and regulation, both mood enhancing and altering.

“Working together with people from different organisations, and children and young people themselves, to explore ways to capture how children and young people engage with, and benefit from, the experience of live music in their everyday lives will help to ensure any impact is measured effectively.”

Welcoming the project, comments from members of Children in Scotland’s children and young people’s advisory group Changing our World included:

“We all have songs and music experiences that we remember. Music can be a very powerful tool and we want to remind people of the impact it can have on us and to find out more about how it can support mental health.

“We are interested in finding out more about the benefit of going to gigs and live music. There is sometimes a bit of a stigma with classical music among young people and the project gives a chance to challenge that.

More details will be announced soon.

Click here to watch a short video previewing the project 

Media contact:
Chris Small,

Short film: 'Music has the ability to inspire'

Scottish Ensemble and Children in Scotland staff preview the research

Clock to watch the film

Emerging Minds

This UK-wide research network aims to reduce the prevalence of young people experiencing mental health problems

Click to find out more

Project partner: Scottish Ensemble

A pioneering string orchestra regularly performing across Scotland, the UK and the globe

Click to find out more

Project partner: University of Stirling

Offering world-class research and innovative teaching

Click to find out more

Project partner: Changing our World

Our children and young people's advisory group will help to steer the project

Click to find out more

Project partner: Scottish Government

The government's Mental Health Division will use project learning to shape policy

Click to find out more

Strengthening arts access after Covid

Contributors to our 25 Calls campaign have highlighted how the arts can support children

Click to read the blog