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The Importance of Socialising Outside of Music Sessions – How Structured Social Events Can Increase Creative Flow by Paul Carroll (Quench Arts’ Wavelength Music Leader)

How structured social events can increase the creative flow!

Making music with other people can be fun and rewarding. This is what we offer to participants of Wavelength, along with all the self-esteem and anti-isolation benefits. We do this with facilitated routine group and one-to-one music sessions. Over the course of two or three sessions, the young people decide what to write songs about, come up with lyrics and agree on a suitable vibe/feel and suitable chords and melodies on their instruments. They then work together to record the song in a studio-style environment. Over a longer period of time they also work on their own songs in the same way. This all takes place at our venue in Winson Green. It can be intense!

Whilst we plan for breaks and fun and invigorating warm-up activities in sessions, it is good to go that extra step and occasionally do something completely different, away from where all the work takes place. That is why once or twice a year we organise a social event for the participants and staff of the Wavelength project. Earlier this year we went to a gig.

As well as aiming to provide a more relaxed opportunity to get together, it can also be a chance for everyone to get to know each other a bit more and find out more than just people’s musical offerings. Friends and family are welcome to come along so it’s also another opportunity for them to hear about how well participants are doing on Wavelength as well as giving their perspective of how things have been progressing outside of the project. Like in sessions, participants are seen and get to see others, in a more positive light.

It must be said, however, that a social occasion in a new place could be a challenge to some vulnerable young people so they are well-supported and timed so that everyone who is coming has already got to know staff and other participants. Therefore, the event can be the next brave step into the mainstream for very isolated young people, one of the key aims of Wavelength.

Overall, these benefits will hopefully come full-circle and help make the young people more confident as a group when they are next back at writing together again.