by Author Zoe Kilb

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Trailblazer Fund Project examples

Thinking about applying to Youth Music's Trailblazer Fund?

Here are some examples of projects supported by Youth Music that are trailblazing, by trialling work for the first time, testing a new way of working or by disrupting the status quo.

Offshoots East Midlands – Circle of Light Project
Offshoots is a Trailblazer disrupting the status quo in Nottingham. They ran a project for young people experiencing mental health problems, addiction, or trauma. They collaborated with their young people on a successful application to Youth Music. Young people then took part in writing and vocal workshops and spent time recording, producing and mixing in a professional studio; getting to work with ‘home grown’ Nottingham musicians who, as well as successful music careers, had first-hand experience of trauma and mental health issues. The project resulted in a collaborative music album which was professionally released with local label I’m Not From London and pressed to vinyl.  The album reflected participants’ personal battles and real-life experiences; creating a platform from which to raise awareness and reach out to other young people who might be suffering in silence.  Watch footage from the project here.

The Arts Development Company – Babigloo Music for babies
The Arts Development Company, trialled an innovative and holistic approach to early years music making in Dorset. Babigloo use non-verbal techniques to engage babies in classical music and vocal sounds, rhythms and patterns.  Based in Children’s Centres they work with families and babies who are missing out due to the impacts of mental health issues. In weekly sessions parents and babies are greeted only by music on arrival, no talking takes place before or during the class; the only language is music and vocal sounds.  Parts of each session are baby-led – whereby the facilitators listen to babies’ vocal sounds and create music and patterns with them. Find out more about how Babigloo is trailblazing musical ways to boost mental health.

Leamington LAMP – Live N’ Diverse
Leamington LAMP are enabling neurodiverse young people to trailblaze in the West Midlands! Leamington LAMP has experience supporting neurodiverse young people to develop their musical skills, but young people were telling them that there was a lack of accessible opportunities for them to perform. The Live N’ Diverse project is responding by developing live music performance opportunities at a range of local venues and supporting young musicians to develop their confidence and performance skills. Crucial to this project is the team of young people who will work with staff to plan and deliver the project, with young people taking on roles including management, workshop delivery, recruitment and publicity. As well as providing real performance opportunities for these young musicians, Leamington LAMP are trailblazing by building the profile of neurodiverse talent online and in the media. Get to know some of the Live N’ Diverse musicians here.

Theatre School – Theatre School’s Music School
Theatre School in Southend is trialling music activities for the first time. Working with young people from some of the most deprived neighbourhoods in England, they run an inclusive club that offers a positive and safe space for young people. Until recently the club has only been able to offer drama and dance. Following demand from their young people, they successfully applied to Youth Music to enable them to trial a music offer. Funding has enabled them to employ music specialists and extend club running hours. Alongside 1:1 and group workshops, young people also have opportunities to learn how to sound tech a show, with ambitions that young people will become proficient sound engineers/technicians for other Southend organisations and consider this as a career option. 

Surrey Arts – Youth Ensemble for Arabic Speaking Children
Surrey Arts knew that Syrian refugee children and families living in Surrey were not accessing their music services. Through consultation with children & young people they identified the instruments and skills they wanted to learn and how the project should run. Surrey Arts are now testing out this approach; providing instrumental lessons on a mixture of Middle Eastern and Western Classical instruments, developing an ensemble, and supporting Surrey Arts staff to develop their skills; trailblazing a new way of working for the music service. 

The RecShop – Multipurpose Music Space
The RecShop is trailblazing in Wood Green Shopping Mall in North London. The RecShop has a space in the mall that provides a safe cultural hub and community-focussed venue for local young people. In an area with limited spaces to socialise and where young people are facing increasing challenges around isolation, mental health, employment and violence this is an important place. The RecShop have developed music projects to enable disadvantaged young people to access music through a recording studio, workshops and events.  By providing a unique space where young people are valued and can take part in positive activities the RecShop are disrupting the status quo in Wood Green. Listen to the music & sounds coming out of the RecShop.

EDGE NE – EDGE NE Mobile Studio
EDGE NE in Newcastle were gifted a 7.5 tonne lorry by their Local Authority. Following consultation with young people, they converted the lorry into a mobile music studio. The studio travels around areas of high deprivation in Newcastle, where young people are at risk of or engaged in child criminal exploitation (including county lines), serious youth violence, gangs and gang culture. The studio gives them a safe space where they can explore their passion for music. As well as a resident music producer (a young person who has been through EDGE NE’s mentoring service), qualified mentors are on board to engage, offer support and signpost young people to other services. EDGE NE are breaking the status quo on 4 wheels! Follow them on Instagram to see what the mobile studio is going next.  

Academy Achievers – Early Years music/stem project
Academy Achievers is testing a unique offer for early years children. Young children in West Ham and Newham will get to combine music and computer coding together to create their own sounds, generate drum beats and compose songs. Academy Achievers will be working with those from less advantaged socio-economic backgrounds, those from Black, Asian, or Minority Ethnic communities and those with special educational needs, as these groups are often under-represented in music education. Delivered entirely online this project is trailblazing a new way of supporting young children to engage with technology and music.