How do you use singing to improve confidence and raise aspirations of young women from areas of socio economic deprivation? Young people who don’t have access to music education and whose circumstances, which are beyond their control, impact hugely on their self worth?
‘Musical Inclusion – Making it Work’
A series of films sharing practice, reflections and experience of Musical Inclusion from Teesside.
Making it work…to raise aspirations and further improve confidence in young women.
The Annexe is a Community Resource Centre run by Wharton Trust in the Dyke House area of Hartlepool. They identified a group of girls aged between 13-16 who could benefit from using music to improve their confidence and self esteem and develop leadership skills, which in turn would raise their aspirations for the future.
The weekly sessions started in May with the group working on very basic exercises and short songs to build confidence. As the sessions progressed, the girls were also introduced to the keyboard and ukulele, picking up chords that would help them produce the music to accompany their singing.
By Hallowe’en the group felt it was ready to perform to some of the younger children at The Annexe and they worked incredibly hard to learn a dance routine and make costumes to complete the showcase. This was really well received by the youngsters so the group decided to focus on a Christmas performance at The Annexe, which the Head of Year of the girls attended. He was so impressed that they were invited to perform at Assembly in front of the whole school.
The group then reached the point where they felt that they wanted to lead a music group, and again they devised a programme to engage the younger children that use the facilities at The Annexe. They have gone on to achieve Arts Award Explore, which helped them to articulate their interests and recognise their skills.
What we learned:
Musical inclusion can encourage natural development of leadership – We didn’t tell these young people – “by the end of this project you will have developed leadership skills and will lead a music workshop”. This evolved naturally as a result of gaining confidence through the sessions and enjoying the activities - they wanted to share their new knowledge!
Informal music engagement can positively impact upon people’s perception of themselves - These girls saw music as something that only the more talented people at their school were able to study. They seized the opportunity to work on this project – there was a real hunger to learn and a desire to demonstrate the skills they had gained The fact that they were given the chance to learn about music, and that their achievements were seen and validated by their teachers, gave them a feeling of importance and self worth.
Relevance to the audience is vital - The music leader, Liz Corney, made sure that the project incorporated the musical preferences of the group so they could learn songs and work on content that they found interesting.
Project flexibility makes a difference -These sessions were planned around using singing to improve confidence. The music leader was also able to identify prospective talent in other areas, such as playing instruments, which supported young people’s musical development. The group didn’t just want to sing – they wanted to put on a show – the sessions then encouraged them to work on dance routines and source costumes too.
Watch 'Making it work'…to raise aspirations are awareness of routes into the music industry here
Watch 'Making it work'…in a diverse community here
Watch 'Making it work'…with young offenders here
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