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Music at The Garage Just Got Louder

Let’s make some noise for Youth Music, which has awarded The Garage Trust £149,000 for its Musical Journeys project. The inclusive programme will help young people across Norfolk and Suffolk hone their skills and build their confidence.

Statistics have shown a large rise in mental health issues among Norfolk’s children and young people during the pandemic, highlighting a clear and increased need for work that boosts well-being, self-esteem and aspirations.

This three-year project, supported by Youth Music using public funding from the National Lottery through Arts Council England, will focus on how music can change lives.

Gabby Meadows, Participation Programme Manager, said: “We’re delighted. This new funding supports our music programme at every level – from Foundations and Rock School through to our Unsigned Acts, and with so many opportunities between. Music at The Garage just got louder! We’re so grateful, after the difficulties of the past year-and-a-half, to be able to push forward our music provision for young people with renewed energy and with exciting new plans.

“As well as supporting and reinvigorating our music programme and ensuring it can reach as many young people as possible, this grant is going to allow us to provide some amazing opportunities for live performance, as well as training and development for our staff and music leaders, work placements for young people wanting to pursue a career in the arts, and inclusive engaging activity at each level.”

The programme provides a range of opportunities to move from complete beginner to pre-professional and will actively support those facing challenging circumstances.

  • Music Foundations helps young people gain confidence and skills through taking part in regular music-making classes and mentoring support.
  • Rock School provides a fantastic grounding in musicianship. Participants will explore making music, playing songs and styles they love and collaborating with peers.
  • Musician Development for Improvers will see participants find their own sound and grow in confidence as performers, with opportunities for live performances through the year.
  • Unsigned is pre-professional mentoring programme led by professional artists from within the music industry. It gives participants the space to further hone their music and brand, before launching into their chosen career path.
  • The Choir is a new, inclusive and accessible class for group singing. With a focus on singing the songs you want to sing this will be a platform for young people to express themselves through music. There will be opportunities to perform live throughout the year.

The programme will also include activities during summer holidays and work placements for music students.

Singer-songwriter Finn Doherty was part of the Musician’s Development Programme at The Garage for several years from about the age of 14 and is now one of its patrons.

He said: “It was just such an important part of my musical journey and development as an artist, particularly as a performer. I think a massive part of the course was about developing your confidence, not only on stage but also just in terms of what you do on a creative level, so it really helped me improve me as a songwriter, as a performer, and as a singer. I think it was very all-round, it helped in every aspect.

“The tutors were very good at recognising what each individual was taking part in the course for and what they wanted to get out of it, and I always felt pushed to develop my skills. I also made a whole load of friends on the programme, one of whom I’ve actually ended up living with years later. It was such a safe space where you never felt judged and were only ever criticised constructively.”

He described taking part in Unsigned as amazing.

“It was just the best experience in terms of performance, and it was such a crazy opportunity to perform at one of the big Norwich venues and to learn so much from really experienced and talented musicians.

“It was like an intensive bootcamp that introduced me to all of these things that you need to know how to do as a contemporary artist, and it was great because there was something really clear that we were working towards. And the day in the studio was great, I was literally free to do whatever I wanted. I think I recorded a whole live EP that day. It’s really one of those opportunities you really don’t want to turn down, it’s an amazing experience for new artists.”

Gabby added: “We know that being able to enjoy, play, perform and create music gives young people a stake in something which is so fundamental to the way we live. But it’s also more than that. All of these classes and courses increase young people’s confidence, self-belief and aspirations – taking the impact far beyond the walls of The Garage and into their own personal journeys.”

Find out more about The Garage’s programmes at thegarage.org.uk and more about Youth Music’s work at youthmusic.org.uk.

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