About the YMI

The Youth Music Initiative is a Scottish Government music education programme with a vision to put music at the heart of young people’s lives and learning. The fund has a total annual budget of £9million in 2021–22. YMI is administered by Creative Scotland, the national body which supports the arts, screen and creative industries across all parts of Scotland.

In 2018–19 the YMI programme reached around 244,000 young people (199,000 in school and 44,000 out of school) offering access to an array of projects that focused on a diverse range of musical genres. The programme supports nearly 1,200 jobs and a further 5,749 volunteering, training and development opportunities.

Vision: To put music at the heart of young people’s lives and learning.


  • Create access to high quality music making opportunities for children and young people aged 0 – 25 years, particularly for those that would not normally have the chance to participate.
  • Enable children and young people to achieve their potential in or through music making.
  • Support the development of the youth music sector for the benefit of children and young people.

The YMI programme works towards 8 annual outcomes and all East Lothian projects have one or more attached to them. These are:

Tackling inequalities 1.    Young people have more opportunities to take part in enjoyable and quality music making opportunities
2.    Young people who would not normally have the chance to participate take part in music making opportunities
Learning and working 3.    Young people develop their music and music making skills
4.    Young people develop their skills for life, learning and work
Cultural and strong communities 5.    Young people increase their awareness of music and culture across Scotland, the UK and the world
6.    Young people influence or lead youth music opportunities and have their voice heard in design and delivery
Building skills and practice 7.    People delivering youth music develop their skills and confidence
8.    Organisations in the music sector and beyond work together to strengthen the youth music sector for the benefit of young people

The 2018–19 YMI Impact Report offers a wealth of evidence submitted in the end of project forms demonstrating how the programme addresses physical, socio-economic, personal and peer related barriers to participation creating opportunities for children and young people to enhance their confidence, creativity, communication and learning skills. A key strength of the YMI programmes is in the variety of music and music making opportunities that it supports. The What’s Going On Now? Report published in 2019 highlighted the need for a range of music provision.

On 8 April 2020, the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) warned of the ‘grave physical, emotional and psychological effect of the Covid-19 pandemic on children’. The UNCRC called on States to focus on 11 key areas, including the recommendation to maximise all opportunities for children to enjoy their rights to rest, leisure, recreation and cultural and artistic activities and address structural inequalities that constrain these rights.

As the restrictions ease, the YMI is committed to ensuring that children and young people in Scotland benefit from the unique qualities of music, culture and creativity to support their health and wellbeing.

The above is an excerpt from YMI’s 2021-22 Annual Plan. To read full text CLICK HERE

The Music Education Partnership Group (MEPG) is a network of music-based organisations set up to advocate for the life-long benefits of a music education enriched by singing and playing – for the people of Scotland.  Click here to see their new music manifesto for young people.