by Author GwynethLamb

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Inspiring Young People!

How do we inspire young people?

The answer is:  – we don’t.  Young people are inspired by other young people.   Our job is to create the context in which that can happen.

That’s what we’ve learned from our ‘Young People’s Gatherings’  which  bring together young people from musical inclusion projects across Teesside for a celebratory day of workshops and performances

‘seeing others around me play shows me that if they can do it I can do it as well’

‘It’s told us that you can just be yourself and be inspired with your singing and your music’

 ‘I’d love to do more like this because you meet new people who share your interests and its really fun      and it sounds good’                                             


See the films, and hear more from the young people:





How do we do it?

We don’t do it all ourselves!    We work with local youth support services who provide venues, specialist advice and support – and first aiders.   This year’s Gathering takes place at Tuned In! – the iconic young people’s building on the sea front at  Redcar.  Last year was at Middlesbrough My Place, and before that Hartlepool Youth Services helped us with our first Gathering, providing a venue and advice and support, particulary on issues of safety and safeguarding

Invitations are sent to music project across Teesside with an inclusive approach  – projects we run, and those independent of us, with or without  Youth Music funding.  There’s an emphasis on group (rather than individual) participation and performance, and a requirement that groups be accompanied by a volunteer or member of staff who takes responsiblity for their safety and welfare.  Crucially, we are able to pay  for transport, reimburse the costs staff support and pay for music leaders to be with their groups on the day.  Without this it wouldn’t happen.

Workshops are  run by local music leaders already engaged with musinc, who understand the ethos behind the event and the needs of the young people. Young people will know at least one of the music leaders  involved, which breaks down barriers and helps to overcome anxiety.  But we also have at least one   ‘guest’ musician , bringing in something new and additional, and raising  young people’s horizons.  Last year the Royal Opera House provided something way outside anyone’s experience, this year we challenging young people who mostly want to play in bands to get involved in music theatre!

We provide food, - and lots of it.   Pizza, chips, sandwiches, sauasage rolls (and more)  for lunch, cakes in the afternoon …….. the  whole day has an air of celebration.

And the result?

It’s lot of work, but completely worthwhile.   Each year we’ve seen  step changes in the confidence and aspirations of the young people.  There’s been  an increase in performances  with groups playing and singing at the Middlesbrough Headstart Festival, at the Christmas Big Sing and the Teesside Mela,  and within their own community contexts.   And an increase in links between different projects.  Having seen how it can work, music leaders have  become more confident in their organisational skills and have themselves arranged performances invoving young  people from several different projects  

Unexpected Outcome!

And something we hadn’t planned for – it’s proved to be a fantastic networking/CPD opportunity for  music leaders.  This has probably had more impact than any of the planned ‘networking’ events we’ve  run – we’ve learned that whilst music leaders like to learn together they love to work together, and learn better from each other that way.

Would we do it again?

Yes!  We’ve clocked up two ‘Gatherings’ and  are preparing for Gathering no 3.  Workshops this year include Music Theatre, Steel Pans, Creating a film soundtrack, Creative notation,  ‘Jammin for fun' and Music and graphic design.  For the first time young people will be leading some of the workshops.

Want to give it a go?

Take a deep breath – there’s a lot to do!  But we could share:

  • Our planning chart and timetable

  • Budget

  • Risk assessment

  • Examples of agreements (contracts) used to engage the music leaders

  • Examples of ‘Memoranda of Understanding’ with partner organisations

  • Group Booking form ( includes questions relating to safeguarding, individual needs, media permissions, provision of transport, staff support etc)

  • ‘Reflection  questions’ used to get feedback from the young people, support staff and music leaders


So get in touch:   musinc@middlesbrough,