by Author KateR-zoladay

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Concept Music Project - First residency

Its been a busy and exciting time for the Concept Music Project team and the young musicians and producers who have been taking part. With two of our 'Pop Up Studio' residencies completed and drop in sessions happening regularly in Corby and Leicester, we are looking forward to music making with more young creatives and pleased to be collaborating with a range of project partners throughout 2017 and into 2018. This is an initial reflection on our first residency at the Core in February.

This is a brief review of our first residential in Corby and some of the learning we have taken forward on other residencies and helping to shape the future work.

Corby Cube 5 day 'Pop up Studio' - Feb 13th to 17th 2017

About the group

9 core participants (attended the sessions every day).

We had a total of 12 core participants

We were joined by two students on placement from university for two sessions.

5 of the participants had attended the drop in session

The young people had a range of needs and musical interests:

1 young person had Aspergers

1 young person had ADHD

5 young people were engaged within the YOS

2 young people were from mainstream background

1 young person from the a Corby supplementary school

What we did

Explored rhythm, drumming and beatboxing

Developed a theme for the album.

Created a new performance piece as a group.

Tried new instruments including: Acoustic, electric and bass guitars,

electric violin, recorder, keyboards, percussion instruments.

Tried new technology and music software: Loop stations, samplers and Logic audio and Garageband.

Singing, rapping and lyric writing.

Experienced the recording, mixing and mastering process

Working solo or in small groups to create own pieces.

9 tracks completed and one music video

Performed in front of an audience of 80 people

The young people particularly enjoyed the group activities. They agreed a theme of ‘Duality’ which enabled them to look at a range of subjects they were interested in including: When we were younger/now we are older. Friendships and falling out. Trust/distrust. This also helped them to explore their music using loud/quiet, fast/slow, spikey/smooth etc.

Worked Well

  • Workshop team and leadership strong.
  • The ‘scheme of work’ for the week – supported the daily planning and approach, for arts award to be approached through participation.
  • Team appreciated Project Manager support, offering some new activities and mentoring for the team.
  • We identified that setting up zones such as ‘pop up recording studio’, ‘production area’ and ‘live area’ worked well and we may develop this further and make these more defined in future sessions, through screening and signposting.
  • Differentiation and personalization. E.g. through provision of different levels of music software/arts award criteria/support of musical interest and appropriate input/challenge dependent on levels of ability (technically/emotionally/socially.)
  • Having a mixed group of abilities/social backgrounds was very positive
  • Arts award. Having a dedicated arts award supporter/advisor  works well and utilising video where possible helped to support the progression & evidencing of 8 bronze arts award portfolio’s.
  • Drop ins working well and supporting musical development/experience and as Arts Award support. 
  • Developing useful handouts/resources to support the drop ins.
  • Live performance as part of the Half Term hip hop showcase – Audience of 80.

Collaboration with the Core

The team at the Core and met to plan and review the residency and were very pleased with the collaboration. It was very helpful to have the support in recruitment and registration of young people from the Core. The production of registration forms and registers has helped us with preparation for forthcoming residencies across the two counties.

The shared celebration with the half term hip-hop team was really enjoyable and successful and allowed us to take part in an event which had an audience. A film of the performance was produced.

The team at the Core/Cube are pleased that 6 out of the 8 regular attendees had never been to the Core before so this has supported aims to widen participation in the area.

We have also introduced new artists/workshop leaders to the Core through both the drop in sessions and the residency

Areas for improvement/development?

  • Develop the use of zones - We found having defined areas or zones, such as recording/live/performance/mixing/meeting spaces really useful.
  • Support the young people more with completion of monitoring forms - Some of the young people found the Youth Music Monitoring forms confusing
  • Continued development of how we approach arts award, I feel this is an area that needs more support/input/thought in general.
  • Expand/improve access to musical equipment where possible. Some specific equipment needs were identified and have been ordered.

Participants comments/feedback:

 “Concept was a good opportunity to try new things. I never thought I was very good at guitar but people encouraging me has give me more confidence. I have learnt a bit more about slap bass and how I can get better at playing this style”

 “I have more confidence to use my poetry and put it to music, I didn’t know anything about this before. I enjoyed concept I liked the fact that there was no stress, it was relaxed and no one got in a mood”

 “The best music experience I’ve ever had. I was able to make a peice of music that was 100% mine. I was given lots of advice on how to make and structure music. I was able to try new instruments and I can apply the skills have learnt in the future, I will be able to do better at school. Overall this will improve my music in the future”

 “Its been a really great experience, quite rare to get the chance to so something like this and its good that is local and free, I’ve enjoyed making music and being able to learn a new and more advanced music programme”

 “Its been a chance to go out and meet people”

 “Concept is interesting because I learnt new things and try things out”

“Writing lyrics was new to me”

“Concept is good because you get to try different instruments out”

 “I learnt about making beats”

“I really enjoyed Concept, its really interesting and you learn lots of different things through the day


We completed all the intended monitoring, using both Youth Music forms and via daily team meetings and reflections. We learnt that we may need to support some young people more closely when completing forms such as Agency & Citizenship or Musical Development as some of the young people did not understand them.

We completed observations of two music leaders utilising the Quality Framework, this was also helpful in guiding discussions for new and emerging workshop leaders.


9 tracks for album

1 live performance

1 music video

Photographs and videos

Arts Award evidence

Next steps: We are collating the arts award evidence collected on video. We are producing physical portfolio’s and aiming to complete the arts award where possible by July 11th 2017. The young people are celebrating their album and inviting friends and family to an ‘Album Launch’ party at the Core on this date.

Looking Ahead

We will be inviting the core participants to take part in ‘Concept Remix’ during the October half term at The Core. They will have the opportunity to create new music around a new theme, but will also have the opportunity to finish any outstanding Arts Award criteria.

The Core will be supporting us closely with Arts Award support. We will  be joined by new participants who will be able to complete their Bronze or complete leadership criteria from the Silver Award by hosting the final end of week celebration event at the Core.