Musical talent is everywhere but opportunity isn’t: family finances and other obstacles too often get in the way. We're here to change this is two key ways. We:

  • Support young musicians from low income families: with funding and other help
  • Support music education: through training, advocacy and research.

This combination creates real impact: we’d love to tell you more…


For over 20 years, we’ve supported talented young people from low income families, helping them to overcome financial and social barriers. Whatever the genre, whatever the style, our strategically targeted programmes help young musicians from across the UK to grow, flourish and fulfil their musical potential. We provide both direct, sustained support - beyond funding - for individual young musicians, as well as targeted interventions to improve the broader music education environment.

Annual Awards

Our annual Awards programme offers up to £100,000 in means-tested grants for individual young musicians each year, helping them grow and develop their musical potential. Applications are accepted from January to April each year.

2019 was our 21st Awards year. As well as funding for musical costs, our 2019 cohort have accessed a range of musical opportunities, from watching the BBC Symphony Orchestra in rehearsal, to cross-genre workshops, helping us make our Big Give Christmas Challenge campaign film, working with our Patrons Jess Gillam and Evelyn Glennie and performance opportunities and mentoring.

Hear from Poppy about her experience as an AYM Award winner.

Full details

A look back at 2019


Furthering Talent

Furthering Talent is designed to help musical young people from low income families from the moment the first sparks of potential appear. We support their instrumental learning far beyond initial state-funded lessons, so they can keep on playing music well into their teens and beyond.

We’re now delivering our Furthering Talent programme in partnership with ten Music Education Hubs across England. The programme identifies and supports talented young musicians who, without our intervention, would not otherwise be able to access music education. Over the past 12 months the continued success of the programme, including its ability to influence real change across the sector has helped to further enhance its strong reputation.

Hear from Kwasi, from Manchester, who has taken part in Furthering Talent.

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AYM is a founding member of the Alliance for a Musically Inclusive England

The Alliance for a musically inclusive England is a movement for change throughout music education. It is a growing network of organisations working together to:
* promote equity in music education
* support others to do the same through advocacy, CPD, resources, and strategic alliances.

A look back at 2019


Identifying Talent

Identifying Talent addresses a key barrier to talented young people’s musical progress: some teachers’ limited experience of how to identify their musical potential. Using face-to-face training and online film resources, we’ve so far worked with 1,000 music educators, exploring the skills they need to spot the next generation of musical talent.

Hear from Tony, an instrumental teacher who's taken part in this training.

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A look back at 2019


Innovation and Research

Through pioneering programmes like the Musical Progressions Roundtable, our Talent to Talent mentoring programme and Practical Progression we continue to seek new ways to make a difference to the musical futures of talented young people.

Hear from Mae who, as an Alumna of Awards Programme, took part in Talent to Talent as a musical mentor.

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Coming up in 2020

In autumn 2019 AYM was awarded a substantial Project Grant from Arts Council England to launch the second phase of Talent to Talent, our young musician led mentoring programme, first developed in 2016/17. Talented young people AYM supports, at different stages of their musical journeys – Alumni, Award winners and Furthering Talent participants – mentor each other.

Projects will be supported by expert partners in four of our partner Music Education Hubs, and AYM Patron Jess Gillam, herself a participant in the first phase, will be returning to inspire the next generation of young musicians. We’re delighted that Naomi Wellings has joined AYM as Mentoring Manager and we’ll of course keep you updated in the coming months.

Equality, Diversity and Inclusion at AYM

Awards for Young Musicians (AYM) was established to enable young people with exceptional musical potential from low income families overcome the barriers they’re facing, so diversity and inclusion are at the heart of all our work. We believe each young person should lead their own musical journey, whatever genre of music they’re making, and we’re here to support them to reach their goals. However there’s still much more to do to ensure that the young people we’re helping, those who work with them and AYM itself, fully represent the country we live in.

Our Equalities and Diversity Action Plan is embedded into our Business Plan and our Trustees review the progress we’re making against its objectives on an annual basis e.g. monitoring the ethnicity, gender etc. of the young people we’re working with. We also report regularly on progress to major funders such as Youth Music. We’re committed to working with our many partners to tackle the systemic inequalities of opportunity across our sector, an example being our participation in the I’m In self-assessment initiative. The learning process is ongoing: it’s only together that we can effect lasting change.

Hester Cockcroft
Chief Executive

Report and Accounts

Frequently asked questions

Yes. Our charity number is 1070994. You can view our profile on the charity commission website here.