Warming Cold Spots: B Sharp's Rural Music Inclusion Work

B Sharp has been warming music cold spots in rural West Dorset and asking young people what they think, as part of SoundStorm's 'Sonic Boom' Music Inclusion work.

As part of SoundStorm's Minc work, last month B Sharp brought together young people from the Bridport, Beaminster and Lyme Regis areas to create and play music together. Some had worked with us before after starting their B Sharp journey in our primary school outreach work, and some were new to group music making. It was great to have a mash up of ages, experience and backgrounds. They speak for themselves in this short video made by young student film maker James Philpott. 

They were led by John K Miles, an inspiring Music Leader. We have worked with him over a number of years because he raises the bar and creates a culture of exceptional music delivery and approach. B Sharp has learned a lot from him and would be very different without him! Young people really enjoy their experience with him and he makes a big impression, especially if it's the first time they have played and helped create music together in a group.

The 5 days of workshops were a good experience for our Young Music Leaders, who were working with participants and learning from John. They grew up with B Sharp and it's ethos, and have returned to work with us after studying music at University or playing in bands. The Minc work is helping develop an enthusiastic young workforce that knows through experience the value of putting Youth Music's quality framework principles into practice.

I went to the showcase of their creations in Bridport, along with an audience of friends and families. I'm always impressed at the high quality of work produced by young people in such a short time. Audience feedback reflected similar feelings.

B Sharp are hoping to grow this 'Collective' into a sustainable music group in rural West Dorset. It's great to be part of a supporting network that includes SoundStorm and Youth Music to enable this to happen.

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anita holford's picture

Great video, thanks Ayvin. I've just asked a similar question on the previous post from Oxfordshire - I'd be interested to know how the young people were selected or identified, and were there any 'criteria' for young people who could get onto that programme (ie did you use a particular definition of 'challenging circumstances')?

Ayvin Rogers's picture

Hi Anita. The challenging circumstance is a geographic and music cold spot, due to rural isolation. There simply isn't anything around that enables young people of any circumstance to come together and make music together using their ideas.

In this situation, starting a collective that includes everyone who wants to take part is the aim. We have always mixed ages, experience and background so that everyone benefits from each others strengths. We don't draw attention to individuals who may have challenges in addition to rural isolation, although Music Leaders will be aware of issues that face participants.

The workshops were 'open access' and recruitment was through a number of channels. We were doing a number of tasters for our 'B Sharp Voices' Excellence in Group Singing module. These took place in the 3 secondary schools of Lyme, Bridport and Beaminster. Our Director/participation/learning leader took the time to talk to participants and told them about the Minc collective for musicians and singers.

We also used the schools parent mail, press releases, social media, posters and young people themselves to spread the word amongst their peers.

The most effective tool is to talk directly with individuals, giving them confidence that they will be entering a friendly and supportive environment.

One new participant who is a young carer and is at risk of exclusion from school took part and said, "I love B Sharp and this keeps me off the streets and out of trouble."

anita holford's picture

Many thanks Ayvin, interesting to hear about the young people involved and your open access approach.