‘Musical Inclusion – Making it Work’
A series of films sharing practice, reflections and experience of Musical Inclusion from Teesside.
Making it work … to build confidence and raise aspirations amongst children and young people in the most challenging of circumstances.
In these three films, Paul Walker and Josh Elliott of Apollo Arts share their experience of working with ‘Looked After Children’ in Stockton, and Young Carers and young people with complex support needs in Hartlepool.
All three projects gave young people a variety of musical experiences – songwriting, drumming, keyboards, soundtrack production, enabling young people to then make informed choices as to what aspect of music making they wanted pursue.
What we learned:
The importance of youth services and support staff being fully involved and engaged. In Hartlepool, IYSS staff identified young people who would benefit most from the project because of their particular needs and were with the musicians throughout all the sessions. Sessions were timed to start before the usual youth club opening times, ensuring that these more vulnerable young people were not swamped by others attending the youth club.
The value of (sometimes) mixing age groups. Older ‘Looked After Children’ who had already taken part in a previous project acted , in an informal way, as peer mentors and supporters to younger children creating a warm and supportive atmosphere.
The value of offering a range of experiences as part of a consultation process. Ask a young person ‘what do you want to do’ and they will answer out of their existing experience. The best projects strike a balance between catering for an expressed need and offering a new opportunity.
The need to respect young people’s feelings about performance. There is often pressure on funded projects for final ‘showcase’ performances that demonstrate the young people’s achievements. If young people want to do this, it can do a great deal to build their confidence. But if, for whatever reason, they don’t want to perform in public we must respect that decision. Introducing the idea of performance at the wrong time can cause anxiety and can make some young people dis-engage. In these projects the suggestions of a performance had to be handled carefully. The Young Carers group, initially did not want to perform at all. In the end they gave a short performance as part of a carers event, but were adamant they did not want to take part in anything more public.
Don’t be afraid to continue with small numbers.... the impact can often be huge. At Rossmere Youth Centre opening the doors to all the other young people who use the Centre would have boosted numbers, but would probably have then excluded the very young people we were trying to reach, who could not have coped in a larger, more boisterous group. If you have targets to reach you may have other groups or projects where you can work with larger numbers, which can balance things out.
Watch 'Making it work'…to support children living in diverse communities here
Watch 'Making it work'…to improve leadership skills and raise confidence in young women here
Watch 'Making it work'…to raise aspirations & 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