New technology broadens access to youth music

Published: 03.11.2022

Young woman in a blue shirt is holding a portable music device

Teenage Engineering – Pocket Operator

Teenage Engineering’s innovative portable music devices are transforming how children play music at an early age Scottish Government‘s support of Youth Music Initiative (YMI) through Creative Scotland.

Shetland-based musician and educator, David Boyter is launching a new series of fun, free weekly music making sessions for 11-16 year olds to explore Teenage Engineering’s groundbreaking Pocket Operator music technology and learn creatively.

The handheld microsynthesizers and calculator-sized rhythm machines all produce different sounds. They can be used individually with the built-in speaker or headphones, or all linked together to create a massive group sound.

David said: “Our sessions are about finding fun ways to use technology to develop musical skills and understanding, and find inspiration through collaboration and co-creation.

“You don’t need to have any prior knowledge of playing an instrument, just a love of music – and a willingness to push a few buttons! We will learn how to program and play music, creating beats, sounds, rhythms and melodies and mimicking elements of participants’ favorite songs and pieces.

“Together we explore how pieces of music are constructed by connecting the devices, syncing them together and having fun playing with them.”

For more information about the project and to express interest in participating, visit the SoundTech website.

The weekly sessions are among hundreds of opportunities supported across the country by the recent YMI round of funding, which has awarded £7.2million to local authorities for school-based music-making and over £570,000 to projects and infrastructure outside of school take place time.

Culture Secretary Neil Gray said: “The Scottish Government is delighted to fund the Youth Music Initiative (YMI), which provides opportunities for young people across the country to get involved in music making and enjoy the well-being benefits, as outlined in the latest assessment.

“While YMI is celebrating its 20thth On the anniversary of this year, I am delighted that so many projects are being funded so that our children and young people can continue to have the opportunity to engage with music in a variety of ways.”

News of the latest projects receiving funding has been confirmed as the next round of funding has been secured and applications for access to music making and empowering youth music funds this Thursday 3rd November with a deadline of 2pm Thursday , December 8th.

Today’s announcement also coincides with the release of new research on the YMI Initiative 2021-2022, which highlights how it continues to address inequality by establishing and maintaining partnerships with third sector organizations to support children and youth who are… most urgently needed. The report also provides overwhelming evidence of the positive impact on young people’s health and well-being by providing opportunities that support stress reduction and the chance to connect with others. The statistics included in the report show that:

  • Over 362,000 children and young people participated in more than 80 projects (an increase of 80,000 from 2019-20)
  • 1,100 jobs and over 5,600 professional development opportunities have been created

Morag McDonald, Creative Scotland youth music manager commented: “In his 20thth In its anniversary year, YMI continues to create critical opportunities to develop both individual and collaborative musical skills in young people, inspiring creativity, friendships and increased self-confidence. Not only are these opportunities transforming the lives of the young people involved, but they also provide important jobs for artists and freelancers across the country.”

Download the full list of YMI honorees


1. The Scottish Government’s Youth Music Initiative (YMI), managed by Creative Scotland, provides access to quality music-making opportunities, enables young people to fulfill their potential in or through music and supports the development of the sector for the benefit of Young people.

2. You can access the youth music initiative’s funding guidelines and application forms under Funding.

YMI has two distinct strands:

  • School music: activities planned and implemented by local authorities. Local authorities apply to the YMI Formula Fund for this activity
  • The informal sector: Activities planned and carried out outside of school hours. There are two ways of funding the informal sector: access to making music and strengthening youth music. Organizations and individuals can apply using these funding channels.

3. Creative Scotland is the public body that supports the arts, film and creative industries across Scotland and distributes funds provided by the Scottish Government and The National Lottery. Visit for more information. follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Find out more about the value of arts and creativity in Scotland and get involved at #YMIScotland #YMusicMatters

media contacts

Sophie Bambrough, Media and PR Officer, Creative Scotland
E: [email protected]
M: 07747 606 146


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