Running since the summer of 2008, In Harmony is a national programme that aims to inspire and transform the lives of children in deprived communities, using the power and disciplines of community-based orchestral music-making.

Since April 2012 In Harmony has been funded jointly by the Department for Education and Arts Council England. The Arts Council has also taken on a central coordinating and development role, and will be accountable for its delivery to the monitoring board established to oversee the delivery of the National Plan for Music Education.

The Sage Gateshead, Nottingham Music Service, Opera North and Telford & Wrekin Music were chosen to deliver four new In Harmony projects between 2012 and 2016, in addition to ongoing programmes in Liverpool (Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra) and Lambeth (Lambeth Council with the Southbank Centre). 

About In Harmony

In Harmony's mission is to transform the lives of children in deprived communities through enseble music making.

The core features of In Harmony as identified by NFER in their national evaluation work are:

  • Focus on areas of deprivation and low engagement
  • Demand-led, committed whole school approach 
  • Alignment/Integration with music education hubs 
  • Professional musicians, ensembles and orchestras working with schools
  • High profile performance opportunities
  • Continuity and progression for children 
  • Access to instruments
  • Sharing expertise and resources

The aspirations for the programme in the 2012 application were:

  • In Harmony is inspirational and transformational for children, families, schools and communities. It raises the expectations and improves the life chances of children through high quality musical education
  • In Harmony is modelled around participating in an orchestra
  • In Harmony is immersive - with children playing instruments together several times a week from an early age
  • In Harmony seeks to engage all children in the school or community in which a project operates, and it is open to all
  • children learn together while playing in an orchestra together. They are encouraged to express themselves through music, balanced with a rigorous approach so that progression is embedded from the start of a project
  • the teaching is of exceptionally high quality
  • as children progress, they help each other to learn and progress
  • In Harmony inspires others to invest in it. Projects are sustainable and entrepreneurial
  • In Harmony projects are mutually supportive and generous in sharing learning, experience and expertise. They seek to develop models that can be replicable or adaptable in different social contexts

For full information on the aims and objectives download the In Harmony guidance document. Please note applications to the fund are now closed.

National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER) Report

NFER has been commissioned by Arts Council England to undertake an evaluation of the effectiveness and impact of the In Harmony social and music education programme. In Harmony aims to support children and families, and enhance communities, using the power of making music. In Harmony is funded by the Department for Education (DfE) and the Arts Council, and is currently being piloted in six areas and 12 schools. The NFER research team is exploring the impact and benefits of the programme via a series of pupil questionnaires, an analysis of school provision and participation data and case-study visits.

The aims of the evaluation are to explore the range and extent of impacts that In Harmony is having on children, families, schools and wider communities, and to explore the future sustainability of the programme. The evaluation is underpinned by a set of research questions, outcome indicators, and a 'theory of change' which summarises the aims, strategies and outcomes to be delivered through the In Harmony programme in order to effect positive change in the lives of young people.

These Year 1 Interim Report and Year 2 Interim Report present early findings from the evaluation. It is based on data from a baseline and comparison group survey, perceptual evidence from case studies in five sites, and In Harmony provision and participation data (collected for the spring term of 2013). It provides a baseline for the national evaluation, enabling outcomes to be assessed later in the study using pre- and post-, and comparison measures. Future reports will focus on the outcomes achieved by pupils who have taken part in the programme and will consider the implications of different delivery models, including for future sustainability.