Guitarists participating in a Zigzag workshop

Find out more

BCMG’s wide-ranging learning programme invites young people to compose, listen to, perform and respond to contemporary music. All of our activity is free for participants. As well as achieving musical aims, projects offer young people invaluable opportunities for teamwork, confidence building and empowerment. We have been offering opportunities for people of all ages to engage with the music we perform since 1987, and in 2013 we celebrated 25 years of our programme.

Birmingham Contemporary Music Group is a charity and we rely on independent support from charitable trusts and individuals for 90% of our work with young people.

Our values:

Authenticity and Passion: Our programme is built from the resources and strengths of the organisation: this means opportunities for young people to compose for and play alongside superb BCMG musicians; innovative projects linked to the extraordinary music we perform and passion for sharing new music with a new generation.

Imagination, Creativity and Curiosity: We stimulate young people imagination and creativity through adventurous performances and inspiring workshops. We also believe that all children are curious listeners with open ears, and think carefully and imaginatively about how we programme and present new music to young people and their families.

Progression and Pathways: Young composers have limited opportunities to compose outside school, unlike performers, who are well supported by Music Services. Our out-of-school programme offer progressive projects that allow us to build long-term relationships with young people and support their musical development over time. We also encourage children participating in school workshops to come to those at CBSO Centre and encourage all workshop participants to attend concerts.

Partnership: Working with partners such as Birmingham Music Education Partnership, The Ikon Gallery, Stans Cafe, The University of Birmingham, Birmingham City University and Sound and Music brings to our projects cross-arts richness, the opportunity to develop and reflect on our programmes through high quality research, the ability extend our geographical reach and, enables us to complement other music activity in the city and region.

Quality: All of our musicians, composers and workshop leaders are at the top of their professions with many years’ experience of working with young people. Ensuring that our participants get the best leadership means looking after the leaders. We run ground-breaking training programmes for teachers and composers at all stages in their careers. Our work with researchers keeps us in touch with the latest thinking in music education.

Sustainability: We are committed to: working with schools and teachers over time to embed new practice; to disseminating project research to the national and international music education community in order to influence the teaching and learning of composition; and, to creating online and hardcopy resources accessible for free.