Youth Offending Services

Solihull Youth Offending Service

The music pilot with Solihull Youth Offending Service was an initial trial in partnership with Solihull Music Service and Hub, as part of the Midlands Arts Centre’s Youth Music funded programme MAC Makes Music. The pilot explored ways to support young people within Solihull’s Youth Offending Service to access and benefit from creative musical opportunities. MAC Makes Music leaders were paired with a young person and their SYOS Officer. Due to COVID-19 restrictions at the time, the pilot began with two short introductory sessions online, and then moved to face to face delivery. Sessions were built around the young peoples’ interests, abilities and needs, underpinned by the Youth Music Quality Framework. 

Phase 1

Phase 2

Aims of the partnership 

To increase access to creative music making opportunities for children and young people who currently face barriers to doing so. 

To develop new approaches, resources and skills that support and embed musical inclusion. 

To work towards a sustainable model of high quality, creative, inclusive music education for all children and young people. 

Aims of the SYOS Music Pilot

Develop the creative, expressive and musical skills of children and young people.

Improve self-efficacy and self-esteem (skills, engagement and self-confidence).

Encourage participation of pupils who have not previously engaged.

What did the music making sessions involve? 

Lyric writing 

Melody writing 


Song writing 





Vocal exploration incl. using microphones 

Mixing and editing 

Music production 

Music technology

Examples from Music Leader Diaries

The focus with K was very much centred around lyric writing for the entire 6 sessions. We began with some lyric writing exercises that are presented as games. K was tasked with thinking of as many rhyming words, associations and opposites as he could for certain words…During our third session, K then developed a narrative for the song he was going to write and began writing lyrics. Once a verse and chorus had been written we focused on recording K's parts and helping him to be confident enough to perform what he'd written. Throughout the process we looked at various examples of rappers and examined key components such as flow, delivery and lyricism

D has been primarily focused on beat making and production throughout the project. We spent the first two online sessions discussing D's musical influences and inspirations, with D playing us examples which in turn fuelled discussion. Once we were able to meet in person D has been learning how to use Logic Pro production software and really excelling in the areas of composing and arranging. He's produced 2 beats so far, although the first one he decided he didn't like when he came back to it the following week.

Other Comments & Outcomes

“I got to go to the studio. It was very positive, everything was perfect. I would like to have more time in the studio and that environment. I am avid about music and I believe Music Leader OM showed me a great side to music. OM got me interested in another side of music that I didn’t really know about. He got me interested in a new form of music. I like freestyle rapping and for me this is something that I do. I have been trying to get into a studio, so this option made it happen. Thank you for giving me the opportunity. It was brilliant. I would love to have more sessions”. - Young Person

"I know K really enjoyed working with you. Just want to thank you for taking time with K and showing him a different way of looking at life. People like yourself and other people that have worked with K will definitely help me with directing him down the right road again, thanks," - Parent 

One young person got on so well with the programme, that their SYOS Officer submitted them for a Koestler Award. The Koestler Awards for arts in criminal justice started in 1962 and each year over 3,500 people in custody and in the community share their creative work by taking part. Participant C has completed 2 tracks on the MAC Makes Music programme, and it is one of these tracks that has been submitted for the award. 

“I helped A get on to a Gallery 37 course! He was one of 8 that got chosen and he’ll be doing a two-week vocal course where he’ll learn about the industry and get to meet some cool people too. This will really help him take his music further, and I’m going to stay in touch with him and help him along the way too.” Music Leader

Solihull Youth Offending Service Music Pilot: Phase 1 Evaluation

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