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Early Years Strand

This strand of work provides opportunities for children aged 0-5, their families and siblings. The early years are a hugely important stage in children’s development and so much can be achieved through providing musical opportunities for young people, supporting their communication and attachment with parents. In this strand of our work we tend to provide opportunities in targeted local areas of deprivation, where children and their families may face developmental delays and/or where there are high levels of English as an additional language.
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Current projects:


Sounds of Play: Quench Arts coordinated this project on behalf of Birmingham Early Years Music Consortium, working alongside Nicola Burke and Birmingham Forward Steps. Sounds of Play involved a consortium of 7 arts and music organisations, 6 early years services and the Centre for Research in Early Childhood (CREC). The project established a community of practice that brought the early years community and the music practitioner community to work together to ensure that quality music making opportunities are offered to families and children across the city. Sounds of Play joined up the two workforces (early years and music) which were previuosly disconnected and also further connected the music organisations with each other to ensure their early years offer had a joined-up approach across the city. A range of CPD opportunities were delivered for both workforces. These involved CPD opportunities for those in positions of leadership and for those working directly with families and children. This developed the knowledge and understanding of EY Music of those that strategically lead and plan early years music provision and for those that deliver it. Despite the Covid-19 pandemic, the project goals were largely achieved with a high demand for the CPD opportunities. The programme was funded by Youth Music and ran between 2019-end March 2022. In 2023, Birmingham Forward Steps achieved more funding from Youth Music to lead the programme until 2025. Quench Arts have been appointed as consultants for this new programme and will also be supporting the coordination.

Past projects:

Early Hurly Burly (Smile Project) - Early Hurly Burly was a West Midlands music and libraries project for Early Years/pre-school children and their families. It consisted of 15 “Smile” family workshops to develop learning & support relationship building skills between carers/children and 9 performances of the theatrical music production ‘Smile’ by Mishmash productions. Quench Arts worked in partnership with Solihull Music and Library Services to deliver local project elements. The EHB partnership was led by Encore Enterprises CIC and the full range of partners were:

• Herefordshire Library Services
• Make Some Noise
• Shropshire Library Services
• Solihull Library Services
• Solihull Music Service
• Staffordshire & Stoke Library Services
• Walsall Music Education Services

This programme was funded by Arts Council England.


Musical Wonderland - a project for early years children under 5 and their families which used children’s books as a stimulus for music-making in Chelmsley Wood and Handsworth. The project aimed to use music as a way to build a love of books and local libraries to inspire literacy development. Monthly sessions and excursions were based on books from The Book Trust's top 100 books for under 5s. The project also provided themed training for Early Years Workers and librarians linked to the resources plus offered 4 shadow roles to emerging musicians and local parents, with a view to sustainability. This project was kindly supported by Youth Music and built on learning from our previous 'Triangle Project', working in partnership with Services for Education (Birmingham Music Service) and Solihull Music Service. Musical Wonderland was initially delivered in Chelmsley Wood but we were incredibly grateful to Youth Music for providing us with further funding to sustain the project there and this helped us to develop the model for delivery in Handsworth, Birmingham, where many families use English as a 2nd language. This project finished in September 2018 and we very much hope to develop the model further in the future. We have 2 activity books from Musical Wonderland available to download.


Join our Quench Arts Resource Page via Facebook (under the 'files' tab) to access all of our worksheets for free: here

Early Hurly Burly (previous projects) - Quench Arts worked with Frankley Library, Handsworth Library and Castle Vale Library on the Early Hurly Burly Performances project for under 5s and their families on behalf of Music Service - Services for Education. Early Hurly Burly was funded by Arts Council England and run in partnership with other West Midlands Music Hubs and Library Services. This Early Hurly Burly activity built upon a successful Engaging Early Years in Music Libraries project (2014/15). For this recent project, a West Midlands consortium (including 12 Local Authorities) developed its music/theatre performance programme for Early Years. Three exciting, high quality shows were booked (one for each of three terms) for presentation in library settings, reaching audiences of 1,800 across the West Midlands and also provided significant professional development experience and training for library staff in performance event management and marketing. A complementary symposium event drew together theatre/ music practitioners to explore development of new work for this age group. Exciting stuff!

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