by Author Future Yard CIC

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Reflecting on Mosh Tots Spring/Summer 2023

Photo of a Mosh Tots show

In Future Yard’s live room every Sunday during term-time, Mosh Tots welcomes families and introduces live music to children in a safe and vibrant environment. Our Mosh Tots band take to the stage and perform family-friendly repertoire for everyone to enjoy. Inter-family participation is encouraged by our band, facilitating an experience that children can enjoy with their accompanying adults and siblings.  

We believe that everyone can benefit from live music, and therefore should have access to it; for too long, young people have been left out of live music because there’s no space for them. We have adopted a model that re-imagines conventional interaction with the live music sector. Mosh Tots aims to provide the space for children aged 1-8 to experience a gig with music from their world, adapted to a format that suits them.

Future Yard opened with an emphasis on live music-oriented youth programmes, which begin with young people aged 1 at Mosh Tots and progress to adulthood. While our other programmes, such as New Noise Music Centre and Sound Check, are heavily focused on learning and building skills in the live music industry, Mosh Tots approaches engagement with live music in a manner more targeted at getting children and their families involved and interested in live music. Our aim is that this kickstarts a love for and pathway into music making and participation which will last a lifetime.

That being said, our repertoire and style of concert contains elements of learning that is both exciting and accessible for children. We look at a variety of elements, including different genres of music, dynamics, and vocal exercises. This learning is integrated into our band’s setlists and encourages further participation from the audience. At a certain point in every set, the band invite some children on stage to participate in the music-making, handing them shakers and playing along with them as a means of providing them the opportunity to make music. The songs on the setlist consist of a variety of songs for children from films such as Encanto and Moana, mixed with well-known pop songs by acts including The Beatles, Corinne Bailey-Ray, and Olivia Rodrigo.

“Mosh Tots is a great introduction to live music for your children. Not too loud, although ear defenders are available for the more sensitive ears. The music set is geared to entertain both child and parent with diverse, interactive songs leaving your kid sad when it all comes to an end.” - Attendee

As a result of a partnership with Banz ear defenders, we are able to provide protection for all small ears. Although the performance is set at a lower volume, we acknowledge the sensitivity and variety of sensitivities that young children experience, as well as the different sensory tolerances across different children. We believe that this has been a key factor in the overall enjoyment of the show, as there has been a noticeable difference in the number of children leaving the room due to being overwhelmed.

The core of Mosh Tots lies in our venue every Sunday morning, but we have a secondary element which includes getting into schools in the community. During our 2023 Spring/Summer term, our band performed 17 assemblies in 12 primary schools across the Wirral. Every child in the assemblies receives a leaflet with a code to a free ticket, which led to 223 free tickets being taken up. These are families that may not, due to financial barriers, have been able to visit us at Future Yard otherwise. Our free ticket scheme is one of the most important parts of Mosh Tots, and ensures we are reaching priority communities; our neighbourhood CH41/42 wards experience IMD levels in the highest 0.3% nationally.

Within our weekly sessions, we occasionally put on ‘Specials’, which are themed events. Sometimes these shows centre around cultural events, such as Christmas or Halloween, or around different themes, such as Disney. Dressing up is encouraged, and we provide more activities in other spaces around the venue, facilitating further creative learning and engagement. Our biggest Mosh Tots event during the year is our Mosh Tots Festival, which was held in July last year. This takes over the entire venue, with performances on two stages and further musical activities across our workshop space, yellow room, and basement studios.

Mosh Tots is now established as a core component of Future Yard’s ongoing programming and the vital first-step in our cradle to career development pathway, with participants embarking on a journey which leads on to our New Noise, Sound Check and Propeller programmes. We all talk about our first gigs - the ones we went to with our parents, the ones we went to on our own - and we see these firsts taking place for children in our local community on a weekly basis. We are passionate about ensuring Mosh Tots is the start of that musical love affair for many more little Moshers, for a long time to come.