Sony Music Group Launch Youth Initiative Beyond The Instrument in the UK

BRIT nominee and Sony Music artist, Cat Burns, visited the performing arts students at a South London secondary school, Harris Academy Greenwich, which is the first UK school to be awarded an international music grant run by Sony Music and the Fender Play Foundation.

The Beyond The Instrument package, tailored to the school’s needs, includes thousands of pounds’ worth of instruments, music equipment and workshops with Fender. Harris Academy Greenwich was selected following their students’ win at the ‘Battle of the Bands’ competition run by music education charity Restore the Music, where Sony Music A&R Preye Crooks was part of the judging panel.

What is Beyond The Instrument?

Beyond The Instrument is a Sony Music Group four-week youth initiative designed to promote music creativity, education and career development in the industry. Since its US launch, thousands of dollars’ worth of instruments, equipment, software and curriculum resources have been donated, alongside mentoring and workshops. The initiative is on target to support nearly 10,000 students over the course of five years.

Working with grantees of Sony Music’s UK Social Justice Fund, including Restore the Music, Sony has been working to boost access to quality music provision in UK schools, which is an important facet of its social impact programmes.

Cat Burns visits students

Beyond the Instrument Cat Burns at Harris Academy
Credit: Nici Eberl

I’m happy to be a part of this initiative,” said Cat Burns, who is nominated for three awards at the 2023 BRITs and visited the school just two days before the show, where she will be performing. “It’s so important to nurture creativity at a young age and Beyond The Instrument provides the tools to inspire the next generation of music makers.

Cat spent nearly two hours with a selection of Harris music students, listening to them perform their own music and covers from a range of different genres. Cat also hosted a Q&A session about her career to date, including her evolution from a BRIT School student in Croydon to busking on the Southbank to achieving the biggest debut hit in 2022 and top single by a female artist with her song ‘Go’.

Fender Play Foundation provided the instruments, educational workshops and sound equipment to participating students and teachers at Harris Academy. This partnership is the Foundation’s first in the UK.

Cat Burns Beyond the Instrument
Credit: Nici Eberl

Jack Docherty, Head of School at Harris Academy Greenwich, said: “The students were amazed to be asked by Sony Music to perform in front of Cat Burns, an artist they love and respect, and we are grateful to her for taking the time out to visit our academy so close to her performance at the BRITS this weekend.

Music is a huge part of our academy, and we are forever grateful to the charity Restore the Music, whose support over the past eight years has helped make this happen. We are thrilled with this further show of support from Sony Music – their generosity, with the Fender Play Foundation, will secure an incredible level of music provision for our students.

Polly Moore, chief executive of Restore the Music UK, said: “We are thrilled to be a part of the Beyond the Instrument initiative and stand alongside partners Sony Music and Fender Play Foundation to deliver a well-resourced music program, which builds on the impact of a RTM Grant award. External investment in school-centered music provision is sorely needed and this initiative is a perfect collaboration of music partners aligning to deliver one single vision: more music for more kids.

All images are credited to Nici Eberl

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