This work was based at Readipop, a small music and arts charity in Reading, Berkshire.
This was the first time Readipop had delivered an Arts Award project without partnership from a school, youth club or other organisation.
The project was delivered by the music leader with support from one of the office team who acted as the Arts Award Advisor. Both members of the team had undertaken Arts Award advisor training at Discover and Explore level.
The project was designed to be a small discrete piece of work to help each member of the team get used to delivering the Arts Award.
The young people were referred to Readipop via several local youth organisations and outreach projects. All have experience of making music but not in a group.
The project started with the four young people working together on a range of band based music making activities, as the young people already played instruments the sessions included:
- Song writing
- Band skills & sound checks
- Music Tech
The group met weekly in an after school slot for two hours, they worked together as a band to write and rehearse songs, working towards a showcase gig.
After each session the intention was to get them to complete another part of their arts log. Some weeks this didn’t’ happen due to the young people having to leave early, or simply not wanting to do it.
They were also given some ‘take away’ activities to do – these centred around Part B “Explore”. They were given some questionnaire sheets to research and find out about their favourite artists/musicians and about an arts organisation.
The young people worked well together as a group for a while and played several gigs. However disagreements between the band members meant they stopped wanting to come to sessions. One member carried on coming to work on solo singer/songwriter things and was able to achieve arts award at explore level.
Issues arising, improvements and advice:
- Time for Arts Award Advisor, the member of the office team who was acting as Arts Award Advisor was very limited in terms of time. In theory they should have met with the young people at the end of the session weekly, however this was not always possible.
- The Advisor not being directly involved with the delivery of the arts activities had a negative impact when it came to ensuring that activities linked with Arts Award and that enough evidence was being gathered. In likelihood all four of the young people had done enough to gain there Arts Award, however there simply wasn’t enough evidence to accredit them.
- Take away/Homework activities did not work. Though had been that this would be simple and clear as the Young People all listen to music and enjoy reading about their favourite artist but for this particular group as soon as they were asked to write this down it made them disassociate with the project.
- Group of young people falling out and not wanting to ‘be a band’ anymore, simply meant that young people stopped coming to sessions.
One of the four young people achieved an Arts Award at explore level. The young person that gained the Arts Award has since gone on to study music at HE level.
The young people got to perform several gigs and write several songs. All four of them are still playing and performing at different levels.
This was the second Arts Award project Readipop had delivered where the Arts Award Advisor wasn’t directly involved in the delivery of the project, both projects had underperformed in terms of number of Arts Awards achieved. This lead Readipop to ensure that the Advisor was either directly involved in the delivery of projects or having weekly meetings with delivery teams to check on activities and evidence gathering.
“The project got the group working well together and sharing ideas, it gave them a good sense of direction in terms of what to work towards musically, and what roles and responsibilities people have when playing in a a band (tuning, setting up, etc).” Will Davey, Music Leader