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Ben ‘SOS’ Riley is a professional MC, music practitioner and specialist in music engagement in challenging circumstances. Here he blogs about using rap music and mindfulness facilitation in a secure unit for young offenders.

Guest reviewer Tammy Reynolds sums up her thoughts on the first of this year’s Young DaDaFest events…

Drake Music's Abigail Ward writes a blog on the Young DaDa Ensemble soundcheck, Liverpool Philharmonic Hall prior to Young DaDaFest: Music on July 6 2016.

Drake Music's Abigail Ward writes a blog on the Young DaDa Ensemble soundcheck, Liverpool Philharmonic Hall prior to Young DaDaFest: Music on July 6 2016.

Phill Howley, professional musician, producer and specialist in music engagement in challenging circumstances, blogs about Life on Shuffle, a creative music project for young people.

Seashell Trust’s ‘Common Pulse’ Gamelan Project aimed to reawaken a bespoke, but relatively dormant, Javanese gamelan housed in its Royal School Manchester. A variety of different workshops explored how gamelan could be used to develop the musical competencies, social skills and wellbeing of children and young people with profound and multiple learning disabilities, sensory impairment and broader complex needs.
This Summary Evaluation report charts the project’s progress in using National Foundation of Youth Music funding to deliver 103 different gamelan workshops to 540 participants between May 2014 and April 2016 and contains summaries of:
*Outcomes in five key areas, ranging from embedding learning and effective practice around quality musical delivery, to raising awareness of the wider benefits of musical participation in the local community
*Two student case studies, which explore in detail the impact gamelan can have for PMLD students
*Project legacy
A valuable knowledge exchange was set up with leading academics: Sounds of Intent Professor Adam Ockelford amongst others, acted as critical friends to the project and gave advice regarding delivery, practice and progress monitoring.
Robust evaluation of the project was conducted by Senior Research Assistant, Dr Rachel Swindells from the Research Institute for Health and Social Change at Manchester Metropolitan University.

A new video gives a glimpse inside More Music's urban music session, Friday Night Project, explaining the history and impact of the project.

THIS WEEK SEES THE LAUNCH of the Noise Sessions, a new live video platform for Merseyside's young musicians, hosted by the Merseyside Youth Association's Noise Project.  

Swapping a soggy mainstage for an intimate music room.

The Collaborate and Listen project at Ashcroft School has reached its halfway point. We have delivered over 90 one-to-one music making sessions and 6 group rehearsals. The young people have showed real progress both in their musical ability, ICT skills and in their interpersonal behaviour. So Far the project has produced a variety of tracks/songs, developed young people’s ability on Keyboards, Guitars, drum kit as well as singing and song writing. We have worked with 17 young people with emotional and behavioural difficulties who have created over 15 original tracks. In the January the young people refused to work together and refused to perform live- as the sessions unfolded this has completely change. On 11th June 10 young people from Ashcroft performed live at Cheadle Festival- they took it in turns to perform their tracks with the other members of the group supporting them both musically and emotionally. We had planned to perform on the mainstage supported by imagine FM, it was pouring with rain so we switched to the more intimate venue of the school music room. What a gig? What an atmosphere? What a positive experience for the young performers? 80 people crammed into the music room to experience a house raising, heart-warming live performance by the young performers as outside cold rain came down in sheets.    

We recently delivered an intensive 2 day programme Re-write Your Story to a group of 8 young people in YOI Wetherby. The programme aims were to encourage recognition of negative behaviours and teach how to look at the future differently through music. Through the use of story writing and poetry young people will learn how to create lyrics, music and songs for self-expression. The workshops were underpinned by the use of restorative practices to support recognition of anti-social or criminal behaviour to encourage positive decision making and staying away from criminality and gangs

Joe Clegg blogs about developing skills, learning on the job and zooming full speed ahead in his Digital Marketing Apprenticeship at Brighter Sound…

At New Brighton Community Centre we have been busy transforming young people's involvement in excellent music and creative opportunities which has been made possible by the support of Youth Music. New Brighton is a seaside resort on the banks of the River Mersey that for many years was (as was the case for many similar seaside towns across the country) run down  with its best years behind it... but all that has been changing in recent years with a big regeneration programme that has brought businesses and visitors back to New Brighton again. However the music and creative offer for local children and young people had all but disappeared and New Brighton is a cold spot when it comes to participatory music-making for our young people so we have developed a Wirral Young People's Music Programme and set up a new event called the Love New Brighton Parade that is fast becoming a fantastic new youth-led annual music and creative event for the whole community!