After running successful music projects for young people over 2 years, we created this Top 10 Tips to make all your projects, enjoyable, engaging, educational and effective. This can be applied in any project environment, be it music, dance, drama or anywhere else with a creative environment.
1 Be Relevant & Meaningful

When planning projects for 16 year olds, don’t include activities intended for 10 year olds. Or if you’re working with a group of rappers, don’t have activities for rock bands. That doesn’t mean not to stimulate them to learn other music forms, but always make activities relevant, age appropriate & meaningful to their interests.

2 Be Flexible & Adaptable

You can learn to cope with change. But you can also learn to become more adaptable and to develop your ability to cope effectively with change. You can learn how to become adaptable through experience.  You might even have the advantage over others as you will have used your planning and organising skills to change your behaviour.

3 Stay Tuned

The most important thing you can do is keep up to date with young people’s trends, social interests & developments. Keep an eye on social media, and what holds young peoples interest. Regardless of your beliefs, you may have to join in with the Gangnam style or The Harlem Shake. This will make young people more comfortable with you and your choices, allowing you to plan better projects.

4 Be Young People Friendly

This is crucial.  Whilst planning projects include their social interests as much as possible through TV shows, movies, popular music, fashion & trends they follow.

5 Evaluate

Give young people the chance to evaluate as much as possible as it’s a good indicator of how your work is perceived by them. Use an evaluation tool like the Evaluation Builder from YouthMusic to find out if your work is making an impact. It’s hard work, but it can be adopted through games, role-play & discussions.

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6 Put Young People In The Driving Seat

This is key to get young people motivated & involved in any project. Valuing their ideas gives them a chance to feel like they’ve make a difference. It also encourages groups to work towards a common goal if they have planned it themselves.

7 Be A Friend

The last thing young people need is another authority figure in their lives telling them what to do. You should be on their level, building a positive & influential relationship with them whilst gaining their confidence & trust. Make sure you are approachable & have the charisma required to engage with them. They will always be on your side if they see you as a friend.

8 Lead By Example

If running a music project, make sure your own music’s good. Young people will not look up to their workshop leader if they don’t think much of their music skills. One must be able to excite & inspire their groups in order for them to listen & take instructions from.

9 Chill Out Time

Give young people time to ‘chill out’ & get to know each other during sessions. This allows them to unwind between sessions & have fun. You could do this by taking them to trips, having a movie day or even a barbeque!

10 Celebrate Achievements

If young people have worked towards a qualification, don’t just hand them their certificates. Run an event! Be sure to invite their friends and family.