East by North East is a Youth Music funded project led by GemArts, providing opportunities for young people from diverse communities to come together and make music. The project has already enabled over 190 young people to develop and share their compositions and performance skills in a wide range of genres, while addressing issues relevant to their lives, developing life skills and achieving Arts Award.
In addition, GemArts has further diversified the workforce of music practitioners, and East by North East offers training and development to ensure that creativity and diversity is thriving in the North East!
To celebrate the project we’ve asked some of our music leaders to share their thoughts on East by North East, their own development, and the groups they worked with. Read on for our first blog post.
GemArts East by North East Blog by Adam Cogdon, Music Leader
East By North East is a Youth Music funded project that brings together young people, and a staff team, from diverse backgrounds, celebrating different cultures and musical genres. The music sessions allow us to explore different tastes and develop skills in music and to build confidence together.
Led by GemArts, in partnership with Sage Gateshead and community partners across Newcastle, the project works with a hugely varied and strong team. From the beginning East By North Easy aimed to pair up more experienced music leaders with talented emerging practitioners, to develop and build a diverse resource of delivery staff, spanning creative and cultural diversity as well as musical genres. From what we learned in the first phase of East by North East, we were able to also expand the project in 2016 to include female groups at many of the centres, this in turn meant we could offer more opportunities to female music leaders to run sessions.
The project partners include:
CHAT Trust (Girls & Boys sessions) – Fenham
North Benwell Youth Project (Girls & Boys sessions) – Benwell
Life Transformational Church (Mixed session) – Fenham
Pottery Bank Pupil Referral Centre (Mixed Session) – Walker
West Walker Family Centre (Mixed Session) – West Walker
Excelsior Academy (Mixed Session) – Scotswood
Success4All (Mixed Group) – Fenham
Recent highlights of the project:
The Mega Boyz group from North Benwell Youth Project were asked to perform at a Holocaust memorial day focusing on the forgotten Czech and Roma people who died. The young people’s behaviour was excellent and they did a great performance of the Song ‘Mega Boyz Swag’ I was very proud of them.
There was also a great performance from ‘Gipsy Lipstick’ who attend the Girls session at CHAT Trust. They were quite nervous as it was only their 2nd or 3rd time performing, but I thought they did extremely well! The Lads Band also performed playing their instruments and singing some traditional Czech music. They were very well rehearsed and sounded very professional. Both groups were also asked to perform at the same venue a few weeks later at a health awareness day.
CHAT Boys Band performing
We recently launched a new session as part of the project working with West Walker Family centre, they are referred young people who need a bit of extra support and they take them to various activities. Young people are already taking part in Djing, Music production and Guitar. GemArts was chosen to pilot a new Arts Award scheme, called ‘Discover Arts Award in a day’, which we are delivering with the new East by North East group to see if it is something we can use across the whole project.
We have been making great progress at Pottery Bank PRU where traditionally we struggled to get young people to engage and perform. One young lad who had never tried Grime style MCing before but was keen to try it, has been supported by East by North East music leaders to write his own lyrics about his area and the things that go on. Some of the other group members helped to make the backing music and the Song sounds awesome! It has really inspired a lot of the group to see what is possible when you try, so I am really pleased with this piece of work.
We also started a new session at Life Transformational Church in the West End, which began in Jan 2017. The participants are mixed gender and range from 2 year olds to teenagers. The participants are spilt into younger and older groups, each focus on developing Band skills and learning how to play different instruments.
Life Transformational Church
The Project works with many young people from different backgrounds including, Slovak, Roma, Czech and African. As well as developing and encouraging musical development the project has also had a positive effect on the participants’ English skills both spoken and written
During the last few months the sessions in the project are now gearing up for the Final Celebration event at Sage Gateshead (12th and 13th April 2017). This is a two day event that celebrates everything achieved throughout the project and brings all the young people from different areas of the city together to make new friends and share their achievements. Day one will be a day of fun arts based workshops in a different vain from their regular sessions, including Graffiti Arts, Boom Dang group drumming, rehearsal time and other music sessions. Day two will be an evening performance in the fantastic Sage 2 Hall. We hosted a similar event in 2015 at the end of the first phase of the project, and it was amazing! The event was well attended by families, friends, partner organisations and local councillors, who all witnessed an exceptional evening of musical talent, fun and very positive young people performing their material.
I know the whole team are looking forward to creating an even better event than last time and giving these young people the platform that they deserve.
Adam Cogdon, EBNE Music Leader
Watch our East by North East 2017 film here
If you are interested in the project please contact GemArts on 0191 440 4124 or email firstname.lastname@example.org