Skip to content

Changing Tracks Banner - left

Embedding inclusion in the strategy and delivery of music

Hertfordshire Music Service has been developing targeted inclusion work since 2002. As lead for Changing Tracks, and like its action research partners, it shares practical solutions and opportunities for deeper reflection with other music services. These have been tested on the ground and cover all aspects of a music service, from core role delivery, to strategy.

Impact and learning report

The final impact and learning report of the Changing Tracks programme shares five years’ of learning about inclusion from more than 70 music services from across England.

We have been been supporting each other to improve equality, diversity and inclusion in both strategy and delivery. In the review, we outline what helped and hindered us, what we’ve learned and the factors for success. 

The power of the Changing Tracks project was in its format - delivered by music services - for music services. Hertfordshire Music Service (HMS) is delighted to have developed a strong community of practice around inclusion and we see it as a vital support network for ourselves and our peers. HMS is determined to continue our network sessions, particularly as music services continue to adapt to the new demands of the NPME and we’re delighted that Music Mark and Youth Music have both confirmed their support. We look forward to sharing details of future sessions as we all progress in our individual inclusion journeys. 

Overview of our work this year


Mainly online programmes for young people in challenging circumstances.

  • Nurture group programmes – now rolling out to music centres across the county, targeting schools with higher than average Free School Meals and Pupil Premium levels.
  • Masterclasses in songwriting – part of the Songwriter programme. Progresses a wider range of young people, produces high-quality musical outcomes, and has diversified the HMS workforce.
  • One-to-one music mentoring, to pupils referred by LA targeted services teams.
  • Instrumental teachers offering diversionary sessions in youth clubs, in partnership with LA teams.
  • Remission of fees refresh in response to impact of COVID.

Workforce development

CPD for instrumental tutors.

  • Twice termly online critical reflection / reflective practice sessions for instrumental teachers involved in nurture group programmes.
  • Two whole-staff training sessions on trauma-informed practice; Songwriting training; ED&I bootcamp training (small group, to test Changing Tracks prototype bootcamp).
  • Developing an outcomes-based approach to CPD and quality systems.

Organisational strategy and planning

  • Conversations about ED&I with staff across the service, at all levels.
  • Set up an ED&I working group (meets twice a term) which drives the ED&I self-assessment and action plan.
  • Staff at all levels applied to join by writing about their personal interest in inclusion. Also includes local authority ED&I officers.
  • Inclusion drives the business plan - including insights from local authority, Music Education Hub colleagues, schools, parents, young people.
  • Welcoming applications from applicants whose protected characteristics may place them at disadvantage.
  • Continuing to grow a more diverse range of genres and styles of music education, and tutors who can teach them.
  • Reviewing all processes and procedures with an inclusion lens.
  • marketing booklet to schools now includes the inclusion offer.
  • Rewrote Singing Strategy using an outcomes approach, referencing inclusive progression routes (Songwriter) and a need for singers and songwriters on the team.
  • Refreshed public engagement survey to include parents who don’t access the music service. An equality monitoring section including postcode to better understand needs in each area.
  • Defined inclusion as a process of organisational change in a presentation to wider Hub partners (HMS Music Forum).

Our national inclusion work

Hertfordshire Music Service has been pioneering approaches to equality, diversity and inclusion in music services for many years. Since 2012, it has been supporting other music services across England to improve equality, diversity and inclusion through Changing Tracks.

We support music services to develop E, D and I action plans that set SMART targets for workforce development, encouraging young people’s voice, programming and resources and leadership and strategy.

So far more than 45 music services have benefited directly.

Hertfordshire Music Service supports the Changing Track's mission of:

helping music services to embed equality, diversity and inclusion throughout their organisational culture, strategy and practices, and model good practice.

By providing peer working groups, training and consultancy, advice and resources and action research projects Changing Tracks helps music services to become more resilient, relevant, and responsive to young people, schools, local authority and other commissioners of services

Changing Tracks is funded by Youth Music, thanks to the National Lottery via Arts Council England, and is a founder member and part of the steering group of the Talk into Action movement, led by Music Mark, the UK association for music education.

Talk into Action

Talk into Action has been created by Music Mark to support organisations in the music education sector to achieve their Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) goals.

Hertfordshire Music service believes that building an inclusive organisation is something we must all be aiming for and by driving and supporting the Talk into Action project we can help the music education sector to deliver Music Mark's aims.

Music Mark commissions more where there are gaps. It’s an ongoing process, encompassing workforce development, governance, programming, and positively impacting the music experiences for children and young people.