Our Structured Training course for the Under 5s has been running in the UK since 2010. It was developed in partnership with Oxleas NHS Foundation Trust and designed to make music-making a more integral part of all children’s early development opportunities and to promote skills associated with developing social communication.

2017 marked the launch of our Awards scheme to improve access to our training in the face of dramatic budget cuts in the early years sector. Each Award recipient was granted a free place for a member of staff on the training and a bursary towards travel and securing staff cover so they could attend. Crucially, we also provided a full set of musical instruments for the setting to keep so they could keep using music with children long after the training was complete.

Many of the participants admitted to feeling anxious or apprehensive about starting the training. Yet over the 12 weekly seminars and eight-week practical assignment, there was one word which was repeatedly used to describe the benefit of their training: confidence.

It built my confidence as well as the children’s.

It was a particular benefit which was felt for both for the caregivers themselves and the children they worked with.

One child especially has found her voice… Now, she bursts with confidence with her interactions with others, and is confident in her verbal communication.

Nine early years practitioners from across London, the South East and the Midlands completed the course. As they put their learning into practice, they created opportunities for more than 6,500 children in local communities to access music as part of their early years provision each year.

When one graduating practitioner was asked what they would say to another member of staff considering the course, her simple response spoke directly to the positive effect the training had:

Don’t be apprehensive. This is the course you need.