Over the past few months, we have been working with Brighter Sound, a creative music project who develop the music creators, leaders and industry professionals of the future.
Initially starting out as a ‘drop-in’ style music activity across our sessions, they recently completed a 5 week workshop, developing performance pieces and culminating in a community showcase. The workshops covered a broad range of skills including lyric writing, recording and producing music as well as performance techniques.
The aim of the project was to provide young people with the opportunity to develop their skills in these areas and to gain experience of live performance. What was actually achieved was a celebration of inclusivity, collaboration and young people who had overcome tremendous adversity finding a voice and being given a platform to use it.
The workshops provided a safe space where young people could explore their feelings and articulate the challenges they were facing. During the lyric writing session the facilitators asked participants to write a letter to their past, present or future self. What followed were deep conversations filled with emotions discussing ill mental health, young caring responsibilities, exploring gender identity and low self-esteem. Understanding more about the challenges these young people are facing has allowed us to put further individualised support in place, improving the chance for positive outcomes.
“I thought I was a failure, I hated myself with all my being and then I walked in the Youth Zone. When I saw the music room I was a bit intimidated but I was told to just sing with a melody and see where it goes… my song born”
Member, age 17
Alongside the practical skills developed in the workshops young people also developed soft skills such as confidence, team work, interpersonal skills and communication whilst developing their emotional literacy. The skills shone through in their performances at the Showcase as the audience was able to witness the performers supporting each other both emotionally and in practical terms stepping in when a member of a duet was unable to perform.
The programme was a testament to the power of the arts to act as a vehicle to approach issues based youth work and to empower young people to take a stand and reshape their own future.