Soundtracks started delivering music sessions in June 2016. Blackburn with Darwen Music Service, working in partnership with Blackburn Youth Zone and local authority Young People’s Service has set up a programme of weekly open access sessions taking place in youth centres, taster sessions which promote these opportunities, and regular performance events for young people in different venues.
As we draw together evaluations and collectively reflect on the impact of the Soundtracks project, some of the case studies and musical journeys demonstrate how quality music opportunities in youth settings can make an amazing difference to the lives of young people. A few snap-shot examples of comments from young people, carers, youth workers and music leaders give a sense of some of the journeys (musical and personal) which have taken place.
- 'A shy eighteen year old on the autism spectrum, is learning guitar, from complete beginner to now reading chord diagrams and performing with others on-stage.' Music Leader
- 'A young person, already a good singer and guitar player, was initially cripplingly shy of performing in front of other people. Through our sessions, she was encouraged to play, and gained confidence and experience by performing at Soundtracks gigs.' Music leader
- 'A young person in foster care who has had issues with self-harming and anger has matured and focused on his music, developing his skills as a spoken-word artist, drummer, pianist, singer and now beginner guitar player.' Music Leader
- ‘A young person who has just started to realise she can sing. She performed an original song during a recent session, came to the most recent Soundtracks Gig to build her confidence to perform next time.’ Music leader
- ‘When she first joined the project, she was the quietest participant of the group. She would not engage or communicate with others, participants and teachers alike, would not express her feelings, wasn't willing to work with others, and would sit on her own during the break times. The encouragement and compassion from the teachers has made her more confident in herself and her abilities. She has now started to share which instruments she enjoys playing, and what musical instrument she would like to play during different performances, she has made new friends, and has got over her extreme shyness. She now even takes of her jacket during the sessions, which is a big step for her, as before that it provided her protection, and she felt that she could hide from everyone around with its help.’ Volunteer
- ‘If Soundtracks wasn’t here, where would these young people go?’ Youth worker
- ‘…one young person told us that he has problems with confidence and even struggles to answer questions in class because he feels so shy but tells us that being part of the music project is helping him to build confidence at school.’ Youth worker
- A young person who ‘In 18 months went from being disruptive and argumentative in the sessions to being an integral part of them.’ Music Leader
- A young person with Asperger’s syndrome who ‘sometimes struggles to grasp things which can result in him becoming frustrated and argumentative. He also struggles with dexterity at times. He started on drums and loved it from day one. He then decided to have a try at guitar and turned out to be a natural. Not only has his ability to play instruments increased but his self-confidence has soared as has his street credibility. Peers now see past his condition and acknowledge his talent. As a direct result of his experience with Soundtracks, this young man has now enrolled on L2 music at college and is doing amazingly well.’ Carer
Through the Soundtracks project we have established a programme of music youth centres, facilitating the engagment of young people who would otherwise not have had the opportunity to make music and developing progression opportunities for young musicians in an open access community context.
‘Soundtracks: engaging young people through musical journeys’ is a Youth Music Fund B programme.