Pippa Lord, Caroline Sharp, Jennie Harland, Palak Mehta, Richard White
14 November 2016
Arts Council England commissioned NFER to undertake a national evaluation of In Harmony from 2012/13 to 2014/15. In Harmony aims to inspire and transform the lives of children in deprived communities, through the power and disciplines of ensemble music-making. The programme is funded by the Department for Education and Arts Council England, and has been operating in six areas in England.
This final report presents findings from across a range of data sources. It includes the analysis of outcomes for children in 11 In Harmony schools and a matched sample of comparison schools.
- Quantitative and qualitative evidence suggests that children’s musical enjoyment and skills have improved through their involvement in In Harmony.
- In Harmony was popular amongst participants, who attested to its positive contribution to social and musical outcomes for children from disadvantaged backgrounds who may not otherwise have had the opportunity to learn an instrument.
- Attainment in both In Harmony and comparison schools improved significantly from 2013 to 2015, although there was no quantitative evidence that children who participated in In Harmony made greater progress than their counterparts.
- Features of In Harmony identified as integral to its success include: regular, intensive and immersive provision; whole-school commitment; high quality versatile music educators; ensemble and orchestral part-playing; and inclusive performance opportunities.
- There is scope for In Harmony to share best practice in relation to pedagogy and inclusion with wider education and cultural sectors, in the interest of achieving a higher standard of music education for all.