Before working with Quench Arts, I hadn’t ever led any one-to-one based music sessions. I knew it was a very useful way of working with participants but hadn’t ever had the opportunity to lead a session on my own. During my time on the Wavelength project, I’ve really seen the benefits of working in this way and how much a participant can positively grow as a person and a musician.
I worked on a one-to-one basis with two participants on the project and I wanted them both to feel comfortable and use the sessions as a safe space to experiment musically. To achieve this, I made sure that the sessions were participant led and focused on the areas of music they were interested in and wanted to learn more about. One of the participants had a passion for playing guitar so we worked on learning new chords they hadn’t played before. We then used these chords to create the foundation of the participant’s original song. The other participant really enjoyed singing and wanted to learn how to play guitar so at first we focused on learning simple guitar chords and built up to more complex ones as well as singing songs that they enjoyed and coming up with melodies for their original song.
When the participants felt comfortable and confident enough, I tried to encourage them to step slightly outside of their comfort zones. Before these one-to-one sessions, one of the young people said they didn’t feel comfortable singing in front of people or recording their voice, but after weeks of building their confidence up and making sure they knew they wouldn’t be judged for trying new things, they recorded themselves singing a first and second verse for their original song, which they were happy with and proud of. The other participant I worked with also didn’t feel confident performing in front of people, but by singing in front of me each week and recording vocals for their original track, they felt confident enough to sing in front of the rest of the Wavelength group and perform at the end of year project in front of a packed audience.
Not only did working on a one-to-one basis help these participants to overcome their fears of singing in front of other people but it also helped them to learn new musical techniques and skills, like how to write lyrics, structure a song, play new chords and record in software’s like Logic Pro X. Giving young people the time, space and encouragement, as well as building rapport with them, has really helped with their development. By making them feel heard and listened to, they’re able to use these skills and new found confidence outside of the project and in their own independent learning.
*Please note, Wavelength is a community based youth mental health creative music making project run by Quench Arts. It was originally funded by Youth Music but for the past 3 years has been funded by BBC Children In Need, Services for Education, Solihull Music Hub and the Clive and Sylvia Richards Charity.