The Music for Youth Festival is a collection of regional festivals across the UK aimed to inspire musicians at every level of experience and across every genre of music. This collection of regional festivals forms the UK’s largest festival for young musicians. 30,000 musicians take part every year and many go on to perform again at the Music for Youth National Festival and Music for Youth Proms.
Regional festivals provide opportunities for young musicians aged 21 or under, in a group of two or more, to perform and receive feedback from our professional Music Mentors. Performances take place in church halls, community centres, and schools, all across the country.
The Music for Youth Festival takes place in Spring, usually between February and April and applications open in October every year. You can apply to join an event near you or submit a recording via our online submission platform, ‘Mentor Connects’.
Mentor Connects is the digital strand of our festivals. If you are unable to attend an event in person, or if there are no festivals near you, you can submit a digital recording of your performance. Your submission will be mentored like the rest of our events, and you will still be considered for a performance slot at the National Festival.
There are progression opportunities within the season between the Music for Youth Festival, National Festival, Primary Live, Frequencies, and the Music for Youth Proms through a carefully considered selection process.
The National Festival is a coming together of musicians, bands and ensembles from across the regions to perform on world-class stages including Symphony Hall, Town Hall, and the CBSO Centre. It is a key date in the Music for Youth calendar, hosted by the city of Birmingham in July.
Over 12,000 young musicians aged 4-21 from across the UK take part, featuring all styles, instruments and genres of music. Audience members are encouraged to watch performances throughout the day.
The National Festival shines a spotlight on the creativity and talents of young musicians and creates an atmosphere where ‘everyone’s a headliner.’ The festival supports the next generation of talented young musicians and gives them unforgettable performance opportunities on world-class stages.
During the festival, there are three sessions (morning, afternoon, and early evening) in each venue, where groups perform in front of each other and an audience, and professional Music Mentors provide feedback to each performance group. Our Music Mentors are the ‘eyes and ears’ of Music for Youth, feeding back on performance standards at every level, making recommendations for progression opportunities within our calendar, giving expert advice, and contributing to the development of specific programmes and resources. In 2023, we were pleased to offer Mentors at every venue, including the Fringe stages, with progression routes through the MFY season equal to those performing on a ‘main stage’. This reflects our commitment to total inclusivity, opening up participation opportunities to those who wouldn’t normally be involved in our programme.
As well as performance sessions, there are many other ways to get involved including workshops, masterclasses and interactive, educational concerts and the whole festival is open to the public.
Primary Live is an hour-long interactive concert aimed at primary school children in KS1 and KS2, with a variety of performances by young people, for young people. The concert is led by a professional animatuer and presenter and resources are provided to schools in advance to support their experience in the classroom. As with all Music for Youth events, the concert is free to attend.
Join us at one of our free world-class workshops – these are inspiring, practical sessions to build skills in an interactive environment, led by music industry experts. Anyone under the age of 21 can sign-up for free, whether you are a Music for Youth group or hub, or a member of the public. The workshops take place alongside the performance programme and are appropriate for a wide range of ages, abilities, and genres.
Past workshop leaders have included jazz pianist, performer and composer, Pete Latanka, The Royal Welsh College of Music and National Youth Choir.
The Music for Youth Proms takes place at the renowned Royal Albert Hall in London. This two-day showcase celebrates the incredible talent and creativity of young musicians from all corners of the UK. From orchestral ensembles to choirs, bands, soloists, and more, these talented young performers get the unique opportunity to showcase their skills and share their music with a wider audience.
A Platform for Young Musicians
The Proms provides a professionally produced platform for young musicians to shine, regardless of their musical genre or background.
From classical orchestral pieces to contemporary pop and rock tunes, there is something for everyone and The Proms showcases the incredible versatility and diversity of young musicians.
Encouraging and Supporting Young Musicians
The Proms plays a vital role in encouraging and supporting young musicians in their artistic journey. By providing them with the opportunity to perform in a prestigious venue like the Royal Albert Hall, young people gain valuable experience and exposure. It helps nurture their confidence and inspires them to reach even greater heights in their musical journeys.
Considered one of the most celebrated music events for young musicians, the Music for Youth Proms sets the stage for extraordinary performances and memorable experiences. One of the highlights of the event is the massed ensemble, where thousands of musicians come together to perform the same piece under the guidance of professional musicians.
Exciting Collaborations and New Music Commissions
The Proms provides a platform for exciting collaborations and new music commissions. Some of the best young producers, composers, and musicians from across the country come together to create innovative and captivating pieces of music. We support young musicians to test bold new ideas and to push the boundaries of musical creativity by working with artists or bands from different genres.
Inspiring the Next Generation of Musicians
The Music for Youth Proms inspires and ignites a passion for music in the hearts and minds of young people and serves as a reminder that age is no barrier to success and that hard work and dedication can lead to extraordinary achievements.
Frequencies is an agency for young people and exists to help anyone who wants a future in music.
Onstage, behind the scenes, playing, making, producing. We’re here to get you there.
Our programmes are cross-genre, supporting bold multi-disciplinary ideas from young people throughout the UK. Whether you’re an emerging creative or established artist - Whatever your vibe, whatever your story. There’s a place for you.
We have a range of projects and creative opportunities including:
Everyone’s got their own frequency, we'll help you find yours.
New Music Residency
The New Music Residency brings together artists and composers to work in collaboration and upscale their music for a performance at the Royal Albert Hall in London.
Each year successful applicants are supported with a £1,000 bursary to support their participation, professional mentoring and a performance on the iconic Royal Albert Hall stage.
Frequencies Creative Careers provides paid training for young people aged 16-25 to expand their knowledge of the music industry and take their first steps in their career as an industry professional.
Our careers programme offers a wide range of industry insights into roles including production, stage-craft, presenting, social media, BSL Interpretation, marketing and more. Participants will be guided through 10 hours' worth of training through our expert mentors and in-house team who will share their industry knowledge, advice and support.
Music Video Festival
The first UK-wide festival where film and music meet, featuring digital content created by young people aged 16 to 25. Whether emerging or established, the festival empowers young independent filmmakers, producers, and musicians to tell their stories, no matter who or where they are.
The winning creatives of each category in the competition will receive various prizes, including cash rewards, equipment and/or software.
The Young People’s Citizens Assembly for Music is a democratic approach to ensure that young people influence the future of music within the UK. The assembly took place on Friday 7th July 2023 at B:Music in Birmingham.
Young people from across the UK attended and gave key recommendations that are recorded within the written manifesto. The next phase includes sharing these key findings with government and industry stakeholders.
MFY Invites provides young musicians, who have participated in the MFY annual programme, the opportunity to perform at high-profile events that are hosted by our major sponsors, including the TUC annual Congress and the NEU conference. The MFY Invites programme is by invitation only.
The Arts Award is a framework developed by Arts Council England to help young people learn new skills and share them. Taking part in Music for Youth activity enables pupils to take part in the Discover, Explore and Bronze award levels. Employers, universities and colleges know that Arts Award is a qualification that shows young people’s level of commitment and progress in the arts, and in developing new skills.