How do you make Musical Inclusion work with young offenders? With young people who have become so disenchanted with society and their own circumstances that they ended up making decisions and taking actions that brought them into the Youth Justice system?
‘Musical Inclusion – Making it Work’
A series of films sharing practice, reflections and experience of Musical Inclusion from Teesside.
Making it work…with Young Offenders
In this film Music Leaders Carl Pemberton and Vic Pemberton discuss their approach and share some of their learning from two one week song writing projects developed and delivered in partnership with Tees Valley Music Service and Stockton Youth Offending Service. These sessions introduced the young people to the structure of songwriting, enabling them to write a song, record it and then play the final recorded track at a celebration event. They also got to try out instruments in the Music Service ‘Sound Pod’ and incorporate some of their playing into the final track.
Tees Valley Music Service had previously worked with Stockton Youth Offenders Service and built on this existing relationship to identify a structure and approach that would engage and support the young people.
Through lyric writing the young people were able to express their feelings about the position they found themselves in, the perceptions they felt society had of them and their hopes and plans for the future. Gradually over the week they became more confident and forthcoming, working as a group to create and record the track. The lyrics of their song ‘I wanna make a change’ articulates their aspirations and belief in their ability to make changes for the better.
In the interests of the young people, the film was made in such a way that no individual could be identified, either visually or by the sound of their voice. This raises questions as to how we include the voices of vulnerable young people in the most challenging circumstances, when to identify them could put them at risk, - questions which we are starting to explore
What we learned:
It’s important to get the structure right: A short intensive project was the best for these young people, enabling them to see the project through and get a result in a short space of time.
Small numbers – big results: There was drop out in the second project, resulting in very small numbers. But those who remained were really engaged and got a great deal from it. It’s better to do this, and go for maximum impact rather than chase numbers, or cancel!
A lot can be achieved in a small space of time – even when young people face such challenging circumstances: These young people rolled up their sleeves and delivered an inspiring end result. One said, “Opportunities like this make you want to change for the better”.
Social and musical progressions aren’t mutually exclusive: One participant was a talented, self taught, guitarist. With support from musinc and the YOS he went on to take part in Generator’s ‘PLAY’ music summer school, and from there to the Level 3 Music Practice course at Middlesbrough College
The power of partnership working: musinc, the YOS, TVMS, Generator and Middlesbrough College worked together to support this young person’s progression. The YOS staff recruited the young people, supported them in the sessions, and helped them with Arts Award portfolios. It couldn’t have worked without everyone involved.
Watch 'Making it work'…in an area of rural isolation here
Watch 'Making it work'…in a pupil referral unit here
Watch our compilation film, which includes elements of 10 projects commissioned by musinc here