Apply Now! – Urban Music Development Unit

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SoCo Music Project are excited to announce the development of a new Urban Music Development Unit in Southampton.

Extending our work in youth justice, pupil referral units, youth clubs and schools – the Urban Music Development Unit will provide a supportive environment for young people to develop their passion for urban music genres, collaborate with young people across the city, and learn about progression routes in the music industry.

To get started we are recruiting two new members of the SoCo team; a Programme Manager and a Music Practitioner.

We are looking for passionate and dedicated individuals with skills and experience in urban music and supporting young people. The roles will be part time for three months initially, and we are committed to ensuring that we grow and develop the offer for young people in the city and beyond.

Location to be confirmed, but will include some travel to youth settings/schools and may include evening and weekend work.

Click the job titles above to download the job descriptions, and if you are ready to apply send a CV and covering letter (no more than 2 sides of A4) to Alternatively send a video introducing your self and explaining why you want to join us. Feel free to get in touch if you would like more information. We look forward to hearing from you!

Sustainable Early Years Music (SEYM)

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We are delighted to announce that we have been awarded funding from Youth Music to deliver a practice-based-research project to develop a Sustainable Early Years Model (SEYM). This sees SoCo Music Project embark on an exciting partnership with the Royal College of Music (RCM) and academic mentor Jessica Pitt.

Through SEYM we intend to provide a much needed, sustainable musical support framework for learners and educators in Special Educational Needs/Disabilities (SEN/D) Early Years and Reception settings. Our partner settings are Early Years at Rosewood Free School and Reception settings at Springwell School, both of which are in Southampton.

Building on our participation in the Youth Music Exchanging Notes project as well as similar projects funded by CAMHS and Youth Music Future Sounds we aim to nuance and develop our practice to empower permanent communities of practice in these settings. 

As a sustainable model, SEYM is built on the interplay between three key areas of practice-as-research: collaborative music session delivery, knowledge-exchange practices and data collection. 

We will be working towards three outcomes:

  • Increased confidence and practical knowledge of staff in Reception and Early Years settings to facilitate music sessions for young people with SEN/D
  • Increase in young people’s ability and confidence to engage in a wide range of musical activities
  • Improvement in young people’s communication and sensory development

For more information and to keep in touch about the project please contact Marie Negus

Exchanging notes report released

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Between 2014 and 2018 SoCo Music Project was a delivery partner on Youth Music’s Exchanging Notes programme. The programme was developed to see what would happen if young people at risk of disengagement, low attainment or exclusion from school had access to a creative and inspiring music curriculum that was sustained over four years. Youth Music invested in 10 new partnerships and appointed a team from Birmingham City University to research the impact using a mixed-method approach. All funded through the National Lottery via Arts Council England.

Exchanging Notes worked with 974 young musicians, 72 of whom were tracked across four years. The findings from the research demonstrate that music in schools has the potential to re-engage young people in education, develop their confidence, resilience and self-belief, and create a more positive attitude to learning.

Go to the Youth Music website to read the full report.

Tales of the Young Person’s Orchestra

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We are excited to announce an innovative partnership with the Southampton-based SÓN Orchestra in association with Turner Sims.

Tales of the Young Person’s Orchestra is a collaboration with SoCo Music Project and SÓN. This exciting project will see delivery of an inspirational and inclusive musical experience for young people with Special Educational Needs in Southampton and Portsmouth. The project, which will run from January 2019 – April 2019 will encourage participants to compose original music whilst exploring different sounds and expressible possibilities of orchestral music.

Experienced music leader/composer Ignacio Agrimbau (MA, PhD) and professional classical musicians from SÓN will collaboratively design an inclusive music-making programme that is responsive to the possibilities, talent and preferences of the students participating. These supported creative music-making programmes will take place over the course of 24 music workshops in three Special Education Needs settings, namely Springwell School, Mary Rose Academy and Avenues College – Post 19 college of Rosewood Free School.

Marie Negus, Development Manager for SoCo Music Project states that:

“We are delighted to have been awarded funding by the Radcliffe Trust for this programme.  This provides a unique experience for young people, who wouldn’t usually experience the sounds and expressive possibilities of different instrumental families of the classical orchestra. I’m excited to see and hear how they formulate their own musical ideas from this experience, culminating in performances in the settings.”

Throughout this partnership, SoCo Music Project and SÓN will work together using their extensive experience in developing engaging music programmes for young people with Special Educational Needs and/or Disabilities (SEN/D) and ambition to nurture the next generation of musicians through education and outreach.

Robin Browning, SÓN Artistic Director:

“Since SÓN was founded 3 years ago, we’ve been on a mission to change lives through music across the south. We’re passionately committed to the power music has to impact young people’s lives, because all our musicians know, first hand, how much it has brought to their own world, and love sharing this with others. The chance to collaborate with SoCo – one of the pioneers in music outreach all over the region – is a wonderful opportunity, and I’m looking forward to building projects of real, lasting value together.”

For more information contact Marie Negus – 



Advisory Board Opportunity

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SoCo Music Project are at an exciting stage of their organisational development, and are seeking members to join an advisory board to support our transition to Charity.

To read more about our vision and aims read our manifesto.

Whilst we welcome expressions of interest from all candidates, we are particularly keen to hear from those with knowledge and/or experience in any of the following areas:

  • Charity Development/Governance
  • Accountancy
  • Business Development/Planning
  • Marketing/Communications
  • Fundraising
  • Stakeholder Managment

We would anticipate monthly meetings as we transition to become a charity, we would then recruit our Board of Trustees to which we would welcome you to apply should you wish. Our aspiration is to submit our Charity application early next year, with a view to becoming a Charity in April 2019.

If you’re interested in finding out more about how you can support SoCo Music Project, please contact Marie Negus ( or 07988 683 544) for an informal chat. Following which we would invite you to forward a covering letter (no more than 2 A4 sides), detailing why you are interested in becoming part of our advisory board and how your skills/experience will support organisational growth and resilience by Friday 30th November.

About SoCo Music Project

SoCo Music Project is a non profit music organisation based in Southampton and operating across Hampshire. Started in 2008 by two directors, Matt Salvage and Jon Haughton, SoCo is now an organisation with a regional reach and a reputation for high quality engagement activities. We are at an important stage of our development as we transition to become a charity.

As of Spring 2016 SoCo has been steered by a management team of four in addition to six freelance Music Leaders and three volunteers working across project management, strategic development and workshop delivery.

With a turnover in excess of £200k per year, SoCo continues to develop engaging music programmes and vibrant creative spaces, supporting social action and creative development through music.

SoCo is predominantly project funded through grants and commissions, we have received funding from Youth Music, Arts Council England, Big Lottery, European Social Fund and Local Authorities. Moving forward SoCo is planning on transitioning to a charity and developing more sustainable income through individual/corporate giving.

SoCo Music Project seeks to engage young people (especially those in challenging circumstances) and vulnerable adults in musical activity in order to develop their creative potential, promote cross-cultural understanding and supporting wider social and personal outcomes.

SoCo Music Project is a music delivery organisation that is dedicated to using music to transform lives. We work with agencies and organisations to reach out to some of the most vulnerable children and adults using highly skilled music leaders who deliver a diverse range of innovative and tailored creative music-making activities. We inspire and empower individuals at the heart of the community, to have a voice and develop and grow. We also encourage and train others who share our passion to bring about positive life-changing moments through music.

Our Aims

  • Deepening engagement and widening participation
  • Developing people and increasing skills
  • Demonstrating impact of the benefits of music-making with young people in challenging circumstances and vulnerable adults
  • Developing creative spaces that inspire and support
  • Developing partnerships & relationships that support an increase in participation
  • Encouraging confidence through effective communication
  • Building resilience to enhance and maintain cultural opportunities locally and regionally

Our Values

  • Inspiring and Empowering people who face challenges in their lives and ensuring that their needs and voices inform and define our delivery programmes
  • Developing and Supporting individuals, using the life-changing power of music to improve skills, enrich lives and connect people and organisations
  • Creativity and Diversity is embedded through our organisational values and supports our aspirations to adopt a musically inclusive way of working
  • Developing Partnerships and being an organisation that keeps itself connected with our local arts and cultural sector and communities so that we can respond and reach where we’re needed with the biggest chance of transforming lives and sharing our approach

These core values capture the essence of who we are and are interwoven through everything that we do as we develop as an organisation and transition to become a charity.

SoCo Saturdays: Hitting The Right Notes in Southampton

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SoCo Music Project is excited to announce the launch of SoCo Saturdays, a free music-making programme for young people in Southampton. Every Saturday from 11am to 1pm, SoCo’s experienced Music Leaders will be on hand to support young people to learn and create; with sessions suitable both for those at the start of their musical journey and those wanting to hone their musical skills in performance, songwriting or music production. The sessions launch on October 13th and will take place from The Pavilion in Hoglands Park, Southampton City Centre.

The programme is funded by Southampton City Council’s Community Cohesion fund and is part of a wider SoCo project that aims to engage a variety of marginalised communities across Southampton through activity within Hoglands Park, as explained by SoCo’s Project Manager, Mark Scott:

“This programme of open provision will support music-making for young people at all levelsBy using The Pavilion for positive, creative activity, we are aiming to breathe new life into a park that faces many challenges. We are looking to develop a multi-arts programme of engagement, creating a safe space where people can come together and take part in something positive and creative.”

Where: The Pavilion, Hoglands Park, Southampton City Centre

When: 11-1pm every Saturday, starting October 6th

For further information about this service, to make a referral, to volunteer or to offer financial support for this project, please contact

New Weekly Music Club Comes to Eastleigh This Summer

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SoCo Music Project is pleased to announce the launch of a new project, SoCo Music Club, that aims to empower young people and support their transition from youth to adult mental health services through music-making and health support and advice.

Working in partnership with Groundwork South and Solent Mind, and taking place from Energy Youth Centre, these weekly, open access workshops will provide young people aged 13 to 18 with an opportunity to explore topics around mental health whilst engaging in a variety of music-making activities. Participants will be supported with this through instrumental performance, songwriting, music technology and recording.

The project, funded by Hampshire and Isle of Wight Community Foundation, will help bridge the gap between youth and adult mental health services and will run on Thursday evenings from 7-8.30pm starting August 2nd. All abilities welcome – bring instruments if you have them!

Three in four mental illnesses start in childhood, whilst 75% of young people with a mental health problem are not receiving treatment. Over half of young people link mental illness with alienation and isolation.

For further information about this service, to make a referral, to volunteer or to offer financial support for this group, please contact


SCC Caring Communities to fund ‘SoCo Mental Health Peer Support Music Group’ re-launch

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SoCo is delighted to announce the re-launch of the SoCo Mental Health Peer Support Music Group in Southampton. With support from Southampton City Council in the form of a Caring Communities Grant, this much-loved service is set to resume later in the summer following a 1-year hiatus. The funding is set to secure the future of the group for it’s first 6 months. Having previously run the group for 7 years, SoCo are extremely excited about its return, as Mark Scott, SoCo’s Adult Learning Manager explains:

“It’s great to be bringing back an important and valued offer that supports adults facing challenges around their mental health. With increased numbers of people being diagnosed with a mental health condition in the city, the service has been sorely missed. Our creative provision will enable participants to grow and improve their musical skills and develop vital support networks that will reduce social isolation.”

One in four adults will be affected by a mental health problem in their lifetime. The SoCo Mental Health Peer Support Music Group will provide opportunities for adults to engage in a range of participant-led activities that supports improvements in wellbeing, from music sharing and improvisation to group songwriting and performance. The sessions will run weekly from The Pavilion in Hoglands Park, Southampton city centre on Wednesdays 1.30-3.30pm starting August 1st.

For further information about this service, to make a referral, to volunteer or to offer financial support for this group, please contact

The Point partners with SoCo Music Project

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The Point, Eastleigh has partnered with SoCo Music Project to support the development of local musicians in a new collaborative venture.

The Point’s partnership with SoCo has been growing throughout recent years and in 2017 the organisation became based at the venue. The Foyer Sessions and Anything Funny have since been developed to introduce and promote local new talent in both music and comedy.

The Foyer Sessions provide a platform for local artists to perform original music live to intimate audiences at The Point. This Spring The Foyer Sessions will present music from Chateau Bateau Band, Fly Away Peter and Friends and Tenderlore. Tickets are based on a Pay What You Can scheme and start from £2.50, giving as many people as possible the opportunity to attend live performance.

Anything Funny provides an accessible platform for local people to develop and try out new material at a fun, relaxed Open Mic Night and at Comedy Lab; a collaborative support network for writers and performers.

SoCo Music Project is co-directed by Matt Salvage and Jon Haughton and has been providing vibrant music activity since 2008. The not-for-profit organisation is recognised amongst the leading music delivery organisations in the South, working with young people and vulnerable adults. SoCo Music Project’s vision supports two areas of work: Engage and Elevate. SoCo delivers engaging and life-changing opportunities through music for young people and adults that may face challenges in their lives and are also committed to supporting and nurturing emerging musicians as they try and forge a career in the music industry.

Matt Salvage, Director of SoCo said:

‘SoCo Music Project was made to reimagine the way in which artists receive support and how communities can engage with music. We’re passionate about changing lives through music and provide activities and events that inspire and entertain. Our continuing – and constantly developing – partnership with The Point allows us to work in a new and collaborative way, fusing our different expertise to provide the best opportunities for artists and audiences alike.’

SoCo Music works strategically to enhance music-related opportunities for young people and artists in the region. The Point is dedicated to providing opportunities for young talent to flourish and works closely with artists working across all disciplines, developing new work in all forms. Together, the two organisations work symbiotically to create a vibrant and resilient ecology – developing a good model of practice in partnership working that other regional venues and arts organisations can follow.

The Point is a regional powerhouse for contemporary performance. In 2018 it launches a new @HOME scheme, introducing a new way of working for artists and audiences, alongside its flagship Associate Artist programme for emerging companies. The venue’s continuing relationship with SoCo opens further opportunities to offer platforms and professional development to more artists from all ages, working across all disciplines.

Sacha Lee, Artistic Director at The Point said

‘Working closely with our local creative partners and having a shared ethos is very important in developing a thriving, creative hub in Eastleigh. SoCo Music are able to bring expertise and specialist knowledge to the table, enabling us to increase our cultural offer to local residents and new audiences. We are very pleased they have joined our ‘family’.’


Southampton Sampler Vol. 1 – Pre-order now!

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SoCo supports music at all levels, and we’re very excited to be releasing an exclusive vinyl album showcasing the incredible fresh talent in Southampton right now.

Southampton Sampler VOL.1 is a collaboration project brought to you by SoCo Music Project and Hightown Studios, bringing together musicians and artists to celebrate the diversity of Southampton’s music scene. We encouraged local talent to take part in this opportunity by sending us their best original tracks. In turn, their work was shortlisted from over 100 entries and then judged by our independent panel comprising of renowned members of the music community including Rob da Bank, Emma and Russell from Band of Skulls, Dan Mar-Molinero and Stephanie Nieuwenhuys from BBC introducing. We’re excited to be launching the ten track vinyl at the beginning of December 2017. It’s a fantastic album, mixed and mastered at Hightown Studios, that highlights just how much great music is coming out of the city.

All profits go back into supporting music making in the community!

The album will be hitting the shelves in December, but you can pre order your copy here.

Tracklist :

  1. The Dead Freights – Mama, I won’t Waste Your Time
  2. Kitty O’Neal – Ok
  3. Billy Miles – The Other Side Of The Road
  4. Zen Juddhism – All Of It Feat Pammie Moore
  5. Pedro – The Price Of Living
  6. Hotch ft LST – Against All Odds
  7. Temples Of Youth – AM
  8. Lucas & King – A Romance With The Ordinary
  9. Cat Eliza T – Cement
  10. Tenderlore – Birdwatching

Artwork Copyright 2017 Will Whittington