An evaluation of Music Live, a festival run by Cambridgeshire Music that brings live performances directly into schools, has found that it reached a record audience of at least 16,000 young people this year – many of whom have been inspired to take their music further.

The report used data gathered from both schools and bands that participated in the live events in March. Music Live brings leading orchestras and bands into schools all over Cambridgeshire, to give concerts, run workshops and play alongside young musicians. For the first time, this year’s festival also included schools in Bedford and Norfolk, with the help of music education hub partners in those areas.

The combined live audience was not only larger than in previous years, but bigger than initially expected for 2019. Over 16,000 young people experienced live music in their school, while more than 6,700 young musicians took part in workshops with leading professionals. These events included at least 2,200 young people with special educational needs and disabilities.

The feedback from the schools themselves was overwhelmingly positive. 98% of respondents described the events as either ‘good’ or ‘excellent’. And 96% said that they would take part in future events.

Many young people were excited and inspired by the experience. One teacher wrote about how the event had created “a buzz of excitement and enthusiasm in the school”, adding: “The children have been inspired to try out what they learned through break and lunchtime and it has prompted some to come and ask me how they can get more involved in music activities at school.” A teacher from another school wrote: “Our children are rarely able to see live performances outside of school, so it is important to have musicians visit. Music Live allows us to offer this experience within our budget.”

Music Live is supported using funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England.

The full report and further information about the Music Live project are available here.