About us

In 1999 the Heads of Music Service for Brighton & Hove (Peter Chivers), East Sussex (Phillip Scott), Medway (Michael Wearne for Kent Music School) and Surrey (Keith Willis) met to discuss working co-operatively to launch a new programme of activity across the four regions. The project was to be called Rhythmix.

The goal of the project was to reach out to young people who had not traditionally engaged with the opportunities offered by each of the Music Services. This was to include;

  • new areas of work – such as rock and pop, African rhythms, music technology
  • new participants – especially those showing disaffection with the formal education process
  • new locations – such as youth and community centres, spreading to out-of-hours work as well as during curriculum time

The facilitators employed to deliver the work would be skilled musicians who had shown an ability to use an informal workshop approach.

Following a successful bid to the Department for Education and Skills, a full-time project director was appointed in May 2000, and the management team then began the process of identifying partner organisations able to deliver the programme. After a successful launch phase in summer 2000, a full programme of activity was launched in September.

The response from young people in the region more than justified the management teams confidence in the project. In the following six months an initial target of providing 4,000 music-making opportunities was quickly exceeded, with over 8,000 young people choosing to take part. Surveys of these young people showed a very high level of enthusiasm for the project, and also indicated that it was having an impact on how young people felt about the role that music played in their lives. Reports from teachers, parents and youth workers were similarly complimentary, with many professionals highlighting the impact that the project was having on other aspects of young people’s development – tackling truancy and other issues, whilst boosting concentration levels and greatly improving the self esteem of young people involved.

n April 2001, Rhythmix took on the role of overseeing a Youth Music Action Zone (YMAZ) for the South East region, with funding from the National Foundation for Youth Music and South East Arts, together with its core funding from each of the LEA Music Services. This second phase of the project set itself a target of creating 10,000 music-making opportunities, and also sought to make 50% of participants first-time music makers. The target number of participants from each region is based upon the total pupil population for each region:

Brighton & Hove 10.7% = 1070 participants

East Sussex 23.1% = 2310 participants

Medway 17.8% = 1780 participants

Surrey 48.4% = 4840 participants