Category Archives: News

‘Made! Songs of Freedom’: A New Music Project Addressing Issues of Equality Through Music

In the wake of the recent discussions surrounding equality and the Black Lives Matter movement, Musinc have set up a new project: Made! Songs of Freedom.

The initiative is suited towards young people and seeks to address issues of inequality and encourage social change through music making. In these sessions young people will lead the way by looking at issues of racism and racial prejudice through protest songs and song writing, in response to the #BlackLivesMatter campaign.

Taking place on July 21st and 28th and August 4th and 11th, the sessions will be delivered via Zoom at 6pm and will last up to an hour.

All places are FREE and suitable for ages 13-18 years (and up to 25 years for young people with a SEN Support Plan or those who are registered with a disability).

Places are limited so please let us know as soon as possible if you would like to take up this opportunity.

What you need to do: 

  • Make sure you have access to an online Zoom account for the session
  • Return the attached forms (Musinc Participation Checklist and Consent Form) to
  • You will need to login on the day of each session. Login details for the whole project will be sent to you on confirmation of your place on the project.

Download and complete the Application & Consent Form and send to MUSINC

How Tees Valley Music Service has Changed During the Covid-19 Outbreak

Since the UK went under severe restrictions, TVMS have had to change the way we provide services and opportunities to children and the wider community in Teesside. With schools closed and social distancing measures in place, and expected to be in place for a long time, TVMS have adapted the methods we use in delivering music tuition and how we offer musical opportunities in general.

Lessons have been provided online through music software program Charanga and TVMS concerts have morphed into virtual performances, while also offering content for the wider community during this incredibly troubling time.

Here are just some of the ways Tees Valley Music Service has changed the way we operate during the Covid-19 lockdown:

TVYC Perform ‘Something Inside So Strong’ to Thank NHS and Key Workers

In one of the very first projects since calling all face-to-face rehearsals and public events, the imaginative members within Tees Valley Youth Choir established a virtual choir to display their gratitude for the workers and NHS staff on the frontline during this pandemic.

Originally by Labi Siffre, the Choir performed ‘Something Inside So Strong’ from their own homes. The videos was produced by Tom Powell, a former member of TVYC, who commented that this song “was picked because that’s something everyone needs right now – strength, and music to help us draw that from within.”

Since going live on the TVYC’s Official Facebook page, the video has been viewed more than 53,000 times.

It marks the first in a continued effort from everyone at TVMS to continue to provide musical opportunities and support to our pupils, their parents and the wider community.

Online Teaching and Virtual Classes for Every TVMS Pupil

Since schools closed for the foreseeable future, the biggest challenge for TVMS was to continue to provide lessons and musical opportunities to our pupils.

Several weeks before lockdown was announced, TVMS management drew up numerous contingency plans in case schools were instructed to close and the TVMS Office staff had to work remotely. As part of these plans, Charanga (the music education software) was highlighted as being the platform best suited to continuing the tuition of our students during the pandemic.

On this platform students can find tailored videos from their music teachers, accompanied with musical games, stories, activities, worksheets and video quizzes to support and enhance their learning.

The decision to largely teach using video and web resources rather than through webinars was so that pupils could access the lessons at a time that suited them and to prevent technical issues and conflicts with other activities and family commitments. The decision was also taken to safeguard staff and pupils.

Older students will also benefit from StudyPlan by SpeedAdmin where pupils and parents to take part in a. two-way chat with the TVMS teacher to give lesson feedback and share specific music resources. This new feature is available through parent’s SpeedAdmin account. Other elements, important for older students, include musical theory resources and the two-way chat so that the teacher can give feedback on pupil’s performance to their parents.

Whole-class resources have also been made available for class teachers to disseminate to their pupils as part of the lesson packs students receive for home learning.

Mr Drum’s Bucket Drumming

Phil McPharlane, or Mr Drum as he’s affectionately known, has produced several tutorial-styled videos to teach newcomers bucket drumming.

In each of his tutorials, Mr Drum gives viewers the basic rhythm and beats to perform a well-known song using only two drum-sticks (although woods spoons work just as well) and a plastic bucket.

The videos are intended as a whole-class teaching resource for class teachers to deliver music education when peripatetic TVMS staff are unable to visit schools in person. They are also being promoted for the wider community to access by publicly listing the content on YouTube and sharing them through TVMS social media and on the website.

Mr Drum uses a simple number and beat method, as well as incorporate handy on-screen graphics so that learning this new skill is as easy as possible.

The 8-part series teaches viewers how to play ‘We Will Rock You‘ by Queen, ‘Billie Jean‘ by Michael Jackson and ‘Yellow‘ by Coldplay – amongst other hits. By the end of this series you will have accomplished the basics of bucket drumming.

Helpful on-screen graphics assist with teaching and demonstration (Drumming with TVMS/YouTube)

Watch out for new bucket drumming videos coming soon on our dedicated ‘Drumming at Tees Valley Music Service‘ YouTube channel.

Tees Valley Youth Choir’s Singalongs (The Care Home Project)

It’s been a couple of very busy months for Tees Valley Youth Choir as the ensemble has recorded and produced singalong videos, aimed at keeping care home residents smiling during these difficult times.

Currently the Choir have sent four singalong videos to care homes, with a new singalong video coming out every week. Ahead of the May half-term, TVYC released their fourth singalong early so that care homes would have resources for the week when no music activity would be taking place.

The songs have been chosen to reflect the age demographic of our intended audience. So far, the repertoire includes ‘Mamma Mia‘, ‘Somewhere Beyond the Sea‘, ‘One Moment in Time‘ and ‘We’ll meet again’.

Take a look at the first singalong performance below:

Nikki Lycett-Findlay, TVYC’s Musical Director, wrote in a dedicated post on Facebook that she “hoped the singalongs bring the residents some joy and comfort in these challenging times.”

She continued, “We would love to see residents and staff enjoying our singalongs so if you would like to record a short clip or take some photos please send them to

Alongside these dedicated weekly videos, Mrs Lycett-Findlay and other TVMS staff have recorded a very special singalong performance to celebrate the 100th birthday of an Italian resident of Princess Court Care Home in North Shields. The video features beloved Italian pieces including ‘Quando Me’n vo‘ and ‘O Sole Mia (My Sunshine)‘.

It is expected that the Care Home Project will continue throughout the lockdown with the schedule of a new singalong each week being maintained.

New Resources for the Durham and Tees Valley Teachers’ Choir

With the current restrictions and social distancing guidelines in place, it is no longer possible for ensembles and community groups to meet in person. Therefore, many of our ensembles have moved to rehearsing and performing virtually, from the comfort of their own homes. This is also the case for the Durham and Tees Valley Teachers’ Choir.

The choir was launched in September 2018 and was aimed towards school teachers and teaching assistants. The purpose was to provide an opportunity to develop their singing abilities, to de-stress and enjoy the physiological benefits of singing in a choir.

Led by Susan Robertson and Nikki Lycett-Findlay from Tees Valley Music Service and Katie Hibbard from Durham Music Service (DMS), the Choir met monthly to rehearse and once performed at Durham Cathedral.

Now, resources have been provided by TVMS staff to support Durham and Tees Valley Teachers’ Choir members rehearsing during the time when face-to-face meetings aren’t possible.

‘Practice at your Pace, Play the Virtual Race’ Challenge

A new initiative to motivate pupils to continue to play their instruments has been set up by TVMS. The ‘Practice at your Pace, Play the virtual Race’ challenge encourages students to build their own virtual distance with 20 minutes of practice time, which represents 1 marathon mile.

Gain rosettes by achieving 5 miles, 10 miles, a half marathon, 20 miles and completing your marathon challenge by practising for over 8 hours in total.

Not only will you stay active and motivated, but pupils will receive an amazing Music Marathon certificate, and be entered onto our Music Practice Marathon Wall of Honour.

Enter this challenge now at and download the Race Pack with all the information you need.

Tees Valley Youth Orchestra Prepares for First Virtual Concert

Similarly with TVYC, Tees Valley Youth Orchestra have released several virtual performances to give Orchestra members new challenges during lockdown.

One of their first pieces, ‘You’ve got a friend in me‘ by Randy Newman from Toy Story, demonstrated how a virtual concert could be just as impressive as an in-person performance. The brass section of TVYO performed this piece, which was described by Nicholas Nowicki (TVYO Conductor) as a ‘timely song’. Quoting the lyrics Mr Nowicki said: “We stick together and can see it through, ’cause you’ve got a friend in me.

“We’re certainly missing our friends right now, but we know we’ll all be stronger at the other side.” Mr Nowicki concluded.

TVYO followed this performance with a magical reimagining of ‘The Circle of Life‘ by Elton John from The Lion King.

Currently, Tees Valley Youth Orchestra are asking all current and former members, along with their parents, to come together as part of the ‘Over the Rainbow Virtual Orchestra’ project. The project would consist of pupils listening to the ‘Over the Rainbow’ backing track and playing along.

Entry for participants sending in videos has already closed therefore the TVYO virtual concert is expected to be released very soon. Keep a look out on TVYO’s official Facebook and Twitter pages as well as on Tees Valley Music Service’s lockdown YouTube channel.

Coming Soon…

In addition to the Tees Valley Youth Orchestra’s Rainbow Concert, TVMS are planning several more projects for our students, their families and the wider community to get involved in.

Stay tuned on our social networks and on our website for all the latest updates.

Tees Valley Youth Choir Create Moving Online Performance During Lockdown

With the UK lockdown entering its 4th week, Tees Valley Youth Choir (TVYC) have released a 6 minute video aimed at raising the spirits of their members and the local community and to show their appreciation for all those who work in the NHS.

Tees Valley Youth Choir

The Tees Valley Music Service premier youth choir came together during the uncertain times from their own homes to produce a virtual rendition of ‘Something Inside So Strong‘, originally sung by Labi Siffre.

Joined by parents, alumni and staff the choir performed magnificent harmonies and displayed an incredible range of vocals.

The performance included past and present members of TVYC including their Conductor, Nikki Lycett-Findley. In a post shared on Facebook Mrs Lycett-Findley said she was “so proud to work with such wonderful individuals”. She went on to explain that there are “far more other members singing than what is portrayed in the video” and expresses her thanks to everyone who helped in creating this piece in such a short space of time.

As well as providing these young Teesside singers with an opportunity to make people smile during these unprecedented times the song is also intended as a love-letter to the NHS.

On their official Facebook page TVYC captioned their video with: “A huge thank you to our NHS and all of our key workers at this really difficult time. We sincerely hope it brightens your day and we pass on our love and sincerest condolences to all families who have lost loved ones at this awful times. All of our love – Tees Valley Youth Choir.”

Tom Powell, a former member of TVYC who produced the video, said: “I was asked to help them come together in song as a virtual choir during lockdown. They usually rehearse on a weekly basis and miss each other so much. We picked ‘Something Inside So Strong’ because that’s something we all need right now – strength, and music to help us draw that out from within.”

Since upload, the video has been viewed more than 48,000 times and has received local and regional media attention with Teesside Live and NE Volume commenting on the performance.

Similiarly, the brass section from Tees Valley Youth Orchestra produced their own spliced performance with a touching rendition of ‘You’ve got a friend in me‘ by Randy Newman from Toy Story.

On their Facebook page, Conductor Nicholas Nowicki posted the video with a caption quoting lyrics from the song: “We stick together and can see it through, ’cause you’ve got a friend in me.”

“We’re certainly missing our friends right now, but we know we’ll be stronger on the other side.” Mr Nowicki concluded.

Transition from Tuition to Community Music Practice

Editor’s Note: This article was published on behalf of Tim Coyte, Project Co-ordinator for Exchanging Notes Hartlepool. Original piece can be found on Youth Music Network

I’m pleased to introduce Adam Bulpitt, our Lead Musician at Switch It. Adam works alongside our Targeted Youth Support Worker and Co-delivery Musicians at Switch It.

For those who are unaware, Switch It is a musical intervention for vulnerable young people from Hartlepool in the North East of England, funded by Youth Music, managed and delivered by Hartlepool Borough Council’s Youth Service. The programme supports young people’s social and emotional development through targeted musical activities. We work with young people aged 13 to 25.

Adam joined the project in September 2019 he comes from a background of private tuition and working in primary schools so Switch It is a significant change for Adam, his practice now includes working with groups of young people in youth centres and other “informal” provision, he is now adapting more of a community music approach to his work. I’d like to share Adam’s experience here:

So what are the difference between tuition in education settings and working with groups of young people in youth centres?

Adam says “Community music with young people has a different focus, it’s not just about developing musical skills, although that’s important there are broader aims like developing transferable skills; teamwork, resilience, self-confidence and self-efficiency.”

Adam feels that 1:1 tuition does provide opportunities for students to gain confidence and develop organisational skills but that this is a by-product rather than a specific focus he says;

“Community music practice and working with groups rather than individuals allows young people to have more opportunities to shape the activity and how they participate, from what instrument to what songs they play, where and when to hold a performance, how to work as a group and make decisions collectively.”

Adam tells me that how children and young people participate makes a big difference to how they engage in a workshop or lesson. Switch It is about voluntary participation – young people choose to be there, they set their own goals for musical progression and choose how they participate. When children “sign up” for tuition Adam found that parents expectations around musical development and achieving grades were often a barrier to positive engagement.

With Switch It, Adam said that young people tend to exhibit disruptive behaviour because of personal issues or changes in the group dynamic and not the content or level of ownership in sessions. Making these observations Adam says “behaviour management is important in schools and youth centres, the reasons for disruptive or challenging behaviour may be the same or different, either way you need to use behaviour management techniques like establishing ground rules or creating agreements with young people.”

What training has been useful? How has it helped?

“I’ve benefited from a lot of free training that has been tailored to my specific role. It’s all been crucial to me as I develop as a community musician; I feel more confident and capable through the knowledge I’ve gained and the skills I’ve developed.”

“I did some autism awareness training and literally the following week I was working with a young person with an autism spectrum disorder. Because of the training I was able to understand the young person’s needs and came up with solutions which enabled him to take part, this included using ear plugs to reduce noise levels in the room, adapting group activities so he could engage in a way which suited him and providing a choice of instruments in respect of tactile sensitivity and finding an instrument that felt ok to play.”

As part of Adam’s induction he shadowed sessions led by other music leaders and then gradually took on leadership of the group.

“Observing how sessions are delivered by experiencing community musicians has taught me the importance of planning and having a number of options up your sleeve. I can see that delivering with confidence and showing enthusiasm captures young people’s attention and helps to keep them engaged. Being decisive is critical, if you begin to dither and are unsure of the session’s direction, young people switch off and lose their belief in you; this can lead to disruptive behaviour.”

What skills and knowledge have been most useful when working with vulnerable young people?

“Knowing each young person’s background and needs is certainly useful, if not essential! It’s helped me understand why they might be acting in a certain way or reacting to a certain situation. It allowed for a massive breakthrough with one young person in particular, going from never interacting with the other young people and never picking up an instrument, to performing with the group week by week on a newly learned instrument and performing in front of an audience.”

At Switch It we provide the Lead Musician and Targeted YoutH Support Worker with referral forms before the young person joins the project, these forms provide details on young peoples musical interests and issues that they may have. The forms allow our staff to welcome young people to the project in a way that suits them, Adam says that although the information can be useful “being able to gauge a young person’s character and react accordingly without having a tainted view is important as well”. We both feel that it’s important to avoid having any preconceptions; we don’t want to put young people “in a box.”

Adam feels his communication skills and broad musical knowledge have also been very useful;

“My skills in working with and speaking to young people have really helped throughout this role as well. I find the young person are slowly becoming more and more relaxed around me making the sessions flow even better as time goes on. My musical knowledge is also key; I’m lucky enough to have had some great experiences growing up which has enabled me to become competent on a range of different instruments. This makes bouncing between different instruments in the session nice and easy.”

What have you learned from working alongside a Targeted Youth Support Worker?

“Our TYSW is an absolute life saver! I’ve learned so much from her over the past four months.

  • The importance of language, tone of voice and body language when diffusing a situation or encouraging participation

  • acknowledging young people’s progress by giving praise

  • getting to know young people through conversation, finding out their interests and building a relationship with them”

What advice would you give to someone who has experience of 1:1 tuition and is thinking of working in an informal setting like a youth centre?

“Do it!  It’ll be the best and most rewarding transition you’ll ever make.  I still thoroughly enjoy my 1:1 tuition but having a mixture of the two is also very nice.  Keeps things interesting.

My advice would be;

  • Accept and take on as much training as possible

  • If you get a chance to shadow or observe another music leader go for it! You get to see how a session can flow and how different music leaders have different approaches

  • If you can meet young people before your first session this can be really helpful even if it’s just a five minute conversation

  • Expect the unexpected! With 1:1 tuition you don’t have to think about how young people will interact with each other, group dynamics can create all kinds of situations and behaviour that you need to be prepared for

  • Be prepared to set ground rules and stick to them”

So there we have a brief outline of Adam’s journey from tuition to community music practice: the story so far! I hope sharing Adam’s experiences is useful, particularly for any practitioners who may be new to delivering in an informal setting. We’d be keen to hear from anyone out there who’s been on similar journey or who’d like to share thoughts around the theme.

Keep on grooving!

Music Influences a Child’s Character and Development – OPINION

Editor Note: The following article has been published on behalf of Judith Webster, Chief Executive of Music for Youth. Ms Webster recently gave a speech at a ‘Character Education conference’, in which she discussed character education outside the classroom and developing effective extra-curricular music offerings to support the development of a child’s character – widening access and engagement with communities.

“Music has the power of forming the character and therefore should be introduced into the education of the young’ Aristotle [the Greek philosopher] has been mentioned a few times this morning.

I would like to reflect on the benefits of sustained music-making as part of a broad and rich curriculum to draw your attention to the impact on a young person’s general attainment and as part of the development of character.

Why is music so important in character education?

For those who are unfamiliar with the team, character education is an umbrella term loosely used to describe the teaching of children and adults in a manner that will help them develop variously as moral, well mannered, behaved, non-bullying, healthy and socially acceptable human beings.

I’m the Chief Executive of Music for Youth, we’re a national music charity which presents life-changing performance opportunities in music for young people up to 21. We put on large scale festivals and concerts which celebrate the positive achievements of young people within a supportive environment.

Approximately 40,000 young people take part in our events each year and only last a week, in a review of our spectacular prom concerts at the Royal Albert Hall, Ivan Hewitt of the Daily Telegraph said, “However worthy the goals of inclusion and rescuing youth from straying on the wrong side of the tracks, Music for Youth is keenly aware that musical standards are all important. It’s through a focus on something beyond themselves, namely that magical noble thing called music, that many of these kids find themselves.”

So I would like to reflect on the benefits of music, as I said, drawing particularly on Sue Hallam’s research paper, The Power of Music, from the Institute of Education. Speech and music have a number of shared processing systems, musical experiences which enhance processing can, therefore, impact on the perception of language which in turn impacts on learning to read. Learning an instrument has an impact on intellectual development, particularly spatial reasoning.

Learning to play an instrument enhances prime motor coordination, there’s a consistent relationship between active engagement in music and general attainment. Music participation enhances measured creativity, particularly when the music itself is creative, such as improvisation.

Looking at personal and social development then; playing an instrument can lead to a sense of achievement, an increase in self-esteem, increased confidence and provides a means of self-expression. Think about when you’re practicing your instruments over and over, you don’t want to let the side down when you’re playing alongside your peers, whether it’s in an orchestra, band, a duo, whatever.

Music and social skills are directly linked

Participation in music groups promotes friendship with like-minded people, self-confidence, social skills, networking, a sense of belonging, teamwork, self-discipline, a sense of accomplishment, co-operation, responsibility, commitment, mutual support, increased concentration and an outlet for relaxation.

Working together in small music groips requires trust and respect and skills of negotiation and compromise. Increasing the amount of classrom music within the curriculum can increase social cohesion within the classroom, greater slf-reliance, better social adjustment, and more positive attitudes, particularly in low ability disaffected young people.

In adolescence, music makes a major contribution to the development of self-identity and is support when young people feel troubled or lonely.

We know that active music-making has a much more powerful effect on wellbeing and passive listening, we know that the quality of teaching is key. For young people to access the benefits of sustained music-making as part of developing character, we need to provide a blended offer through working in partnership and combining in-school and out of school opportunities.

Music for Youth hosts music festivals and competitions.

Equality in music education

The National Plan for Music Education (from 2011) set up an infrastructure of Music Education Hubs which are themselves consortia or organisations charged with providing music education for all young people in their area, whatever their interests and backgrounds. This framework cearly states that all children in state education, no matter their circumstances, should have the opportunity to sing in a group or learn an instrument. This means the need to work closely with schools and other partners such as Music for Youth and arts organisations.

Music for Youth connects the young musicians across the country through national events that complement regional and local opportunities, and provide those inspirational moments to work for which really do change lives. It’s vital to work together, it’s vital that we pool our resources and create progression pathways that facilitate sustained engagement as this is when the real impact kicks in. Progression means working together to enable a young person to craft their own learning journey, drawing on the collective opportunities offered by successive providers.”

Music for Youth host annual Proms to encourage young, talented musicians to try something new, improve their confidence and give them a memorable experience. 

“So at Music for Youth, our aim is not to train musicians for careers in the music industry, but to offer young people opportunities to spread their wings, achieve their potential, have a heightened sense of who they are and be celebrated for that.

I started my professional life as a music therapist, that training has informed every aspect of my work ever since. In our troubled and divided times, it’s never been more important to enable young people to celebrate their own achievements.

Thank you.”

Talented Young North East Singers Offered Inspirational Singing Experience

More than 60 talented young singers from across the North East region including Newcastle, Tyneside, Northumberland, Durham, Darlington, Teesside and Sunderland, had the opportunity to experience being part of the National Youth Choirs of Great Britain (NYCGB) early in February at a free event organised as part of Durham Vocal Festival. 

The singers aged between 11-14, were identified by their local Music Education Hubs for their vocal potential and put forward for the weekend with the National Youth Choirs of Great Britain (NYCGB) the UK’s leading organisation for youth choral music, which has its head office based in Durham.

Choirs from Tees Valley Music Service were part of the line up as performances from Tees Valley Youth Choir, Stockton Showstoppers, Barbershop and Tees Valley Youth Chamber Choir all performing at the Sage Gateshead on Saturday February 9th. 

 TVMS choirs received certificates from NYCGB for their performances.

The project is part of a wider collaboration between Durham Vocal Festival, NYCGB and the six North East Music Education Hubs aiming to help more of the regions talented young singers to fulfill their potential and be inspired to take their singing further, and forms part of NYCGB’s wider national programme of Learning and Engagement.

The Regional Festival of Music for Youth saw choirs from across the region perform in front of judges who were there to offer praise and constructive advice.

The festival weekend was made possible with the kind support of The Gillian Dickinson Trust, Durham Vocal Festival and the six Music Education Hubs: Durham & Darlington, Gateshead, Newcastle, Northumberland, North Tyneside, South Tyneside, Sunderland and Tees Valley Music Service. 

Young people singing

Mike Summers who managers Durham Music Service said: “This was an inspirational two days for the young people involved and also for the staff of the Music Education Hubs that came to the sessions.

“The standard of singing was exceptional and acted as a fantastic springboard to deeper progression routes for all the young people involved” Summers explained. “The National Youth Choirs of Great Britain are the pinnacle of youth singing in this country and it’s amazing that these young people were able to experience a ‘taster’ course. We are thrilled that once again this is part if Durham Tees Vocal Festival.”

 NYCGB holds auditions for its five choirs every year. For more information go to the NYCGB website here.

Further information about Durham Vocal Festival can be found here.

‘Youthquake’ – Inspiring Young People To Change The World

Youthquake is a 360-degree theatre experience from the award-winning Zest Theatre. The show is about being young and changing the world.


Developed through conversations with 800 young people from across the country, Youthquake uses their words and opinions to give voice to a generation often left unheard.

Part show, part TED talk, and part party, Youthquake takes you on an exhilarating journey through hidden lives of Teen Britain and asks what it actually means to change the world.

Youthquake has been inspired and developed with more than 500 young people from Tees Valley and 300 young people from elsewhere in the country – it is a celebration of the voices of young people across the region and beyond.

The group will perform have already performed at Hartlepool’s Centre for Excellence in Creative Arts (CECA) and will now move onto Middlesbrough Town Hall, ARC in Stockton-on-Tees, The Hippodrome in Darlington and will end their regional tour at Tuned In! in Redcar.

Youthquake in context

Discover the true extent of who Youthquake are in their Offical ‘Production Trailer’:

Supported through the National Lottery Public Fund and through Arts Council England, Youthquake is able to bring an incredible experience to young people for FREE.

Tees Valley Combined Authority chief executive, Julie Gilhespie said: “While the combined authority is driving economic growth and creating jobs, we can never lose sight of who we’re doing it for – our region’s young people. We need to give them the opportunities to be the best they can be and build a life for themselves in the region. To do this we must listen to what they are saying to tackle the issues which are important to them.


“Zest Theatre has been working with our teenagers to produce this fantastic show which is a meaningful and addition to our cultural calendar”, Gilhespie continued. “I’d urge teachers, teenagers and adults alike to get a ticket and support our young actors and their stories.”

Zest Theatre producer, Catherine Fowles said: “We’re so pleased to be bringing Youthquake ‘home’ to Tees Valley, having spent most of our time making and rehearsing the show here. Youthquake has been an incredibly transformative experience for everyone involved, from our team that conducted the initial workshops to the young people who have joined our casts across the country.”

Fowles also expressed excitement at the meeting and collaborating with young people in the region from all different backgrounds saying: “We can’t wait to be able to share some amazing experiences with our young casts in Tees Valley, all of the people we’ve met who have helped shape the show for the region, and the audiences who will hear their stories thanks to the support of Tees Valley Combined Authority.”

Dates and ticketing information for Youthquake performances are available on Enjoy Tees Valley’s website.


Music Production Courses Coming February Half-Term

Are you aged between 13 – 18? Or do you know someone who is and would like to get involved in music production?Music production

If you are, Musinc has a fantastic opportunity for you! On Tuesday 18th February, Wednesday 19th February and Thursday 20th February, Musinc will host a series of music production activities focused on recording music and using a professional studio.

Come along for 3 days of digital music activities led by experienced studio engineers. If you are a newcomer and have never enrolled on a music production course similar to this you will be given the chance to complete Grade 1. If you have previously attempted a previous course, you will complete Grade 3. Both Grades are accredited by Rock School.

No previous experience or knowledge necessary. Participants must attend all 3 days.

Each day will start at 10 am and end at 3 pm. The course will take place at Bluebridge Studios at Myplace in Middlesbrough.

This is a FREE event. To book contact or call 01642 728379.

Multi-million Pound Culture Boost For Children In Schools

£80 million for music hubs has been agreed by the Government, with further investment in film, dance, theatre and design expected in the coming months.  

Thousands more children will be able to learn instruments and play in orchestras or choirs thanks to a further £80 million investment by the Government in music hubs.

Alongside this investment, charities that help young people learn about different styles of music are also set to receive a further £1 million next year to support the next generation of musicians.

Pupils will also have more opportunities to put their film making skills to the test, explore museums or take to the stage, as a series of other cultural education programmes receive an additional £4 million funding boost next year.

School Standards Minister Nick Gibb has announced this multi-million pound package today (Friday 3rd January) alongside a manifesto commitment to offer an ‘arts premium’ to secondary schools to allow young people to learn creative skills and widen their horizons.

School Standards Minister Nick Gibb has said: “Music, arts and culture play an essential role in enriching pupils’ education, and we want to give as many young people as possible the opportunity to learn an instrument or perform in a choir or a band.

“Our sustained investment will play an important role in helping young people widen their horizons and access all the opportunities that learning a musical instrument can provide”, Gibb continued. “Whether your child wants to play for pleasure or to perform on stage, they should have the opportunity to do so.”

The curriculum schemes will receive a total of £85 million for 2020/21 are as follows:

  • Music Education Hubs
  • In Harmony
  • National Youth Music Organisations (NYMOs) and Music for Youth; and
  • Cultural education (Heritage schools, BFI Film Academy, Museums and Schools, ACE Bridge Network, National Youth Dance Company, Saturday Art and Design Clubs).

Music education hubs, which are organisations that give pupils access to instruments and support whole classes to play together, have transformed the teaching of music in schools through instrument lessons and ensembles.

These hubs have been supported by £300 million between 2016 and 2020, which forms part of an overall investment of £500 million in the arts during that period, making it the second highest funded element of the curriculum behind PE.

Hannah Fouracre, Director of Music Education for Arts Council England said: “We’re delighted that this funding from the Department for Education has been confirmed.

“These programmes support a creative, diverse and inclusive music education for children and young people across England.”

Music Education ‘Risks Being Outdated By Technology’

Music teaching could be left behind in an outdated acoustic age if it does not keep-up with technology, an in-depth report says.

Music Education

Too much music education does not reflect the reality of how young people engage with music, according to the inquiry from The Music Commission.

It says there is a risk this “disconnect” means current teaching methods may become outdated.

It argues technology could help stop music from disappearing from schools.

The commission, led by key figures in contemporary music and set up by Arts Council England and the Associated Boards of the Royal Schools of Music, says technology is evolving at a rapid rate.

From apps that allow users to compose digital music on smart phones to ‘teach yourself the guitar’ YouTube videos, the opportunities technology offers for learning, making and engaging in music are significant.

Low-cost tech 

The report says: “There is a danger that the “disconnect” between how young people use technology and music education may see current models of teaching rapidly becoming outdated.

Music Education“This is not about one replacing the other, but about bringing together the best in technology to work alongside and challenge acoustic music-making to create more relevant contemporary practice.”

It adds: “The current generation of music learners can explore any era or kind of music at any time.

“Technology allows them to access and merge ‘musics’ from any culture.”

The report highlights how technology has enabled young people to improvise together, access virtual teachers and challenge each other in digital spaces.

It adds that new technologies increasingly provide accessible, low-cost means to make and share music, and that it should be a central plank of music education. Furthermore, the accessibility and immediacy of such technology means young people can have a more fluid approach, with the old barriers between different types of music being broke down.

Pressures mount from unions

The report also says that the focus of music education should be ensuring every child is supported to take music further.

 A report by the Musicians’ Union last year suggested poorer children are being priced out of learning musical instruments.

Music Education

Children in low income households were half as likely to take music lessons, it found.

Commission chairman, Sir Nicholas Kenyon, who is managing director of the Barbican, acknowledged there was a host of pressures on schools to meet academic targets.

He said: “People of all ages now learn and enjoy a hugely diverse range of music in many ways – at home, in classrooms, in communities and online.

“However, we’re concerned that too much music education does not reflect the realities of how young people engage with music.”