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CC Conference 2014 – Programme Finalised and Competition!

‘Music, Creativity and Innovation in Challenging Settings – in Partnership with Ableton’


Wednesday 19 November sees our annual Challenging Circumstances Conference take place in Toynbee Hall, and this year’s theme is focussing on ‘innovation’.

We are delighted that leading music software company Ableton are partnering with us on this highlight of our calendar year, and thrilled that Ableton Certified Trainer, Simon Lyon, will be presenting Ableton Live and Push, along with one of our young musicians from Wired4Music – our young Londoners’ music council.

This conference will bring together a broad spectrum of practitioners, music professionals and entrepreneurs and the programme will run as follows:


09:45 –  Registration and refreshments

10:15 – Welcome and keynote speech: Nesta Programme Manager, educator and author, Oliver Quinlan

11:00 – Break-out 1: Music in PRU’s – Gawain Hewitt and Chris Sharkey for Serious

In May 2012 Serious started a unique, intensive music–making project called Pass it On in partnership with London-based Pupil Referral Units (PRUs) – funded by Youth Music. The project has seen world-class artists from a variety of genres share their expertise with both primary and secondary PRU students. Over a series of 125 workshops, artists including Zara McFarlane, Ty, Soweto Kinch and Corey Mwamba have been working with students to develop creative, expressive and musical skills alongside improving self-efficacy and resilience to challenging circumstances. In this session project leader Gawain Hewitt and artist Chris Sharkey will share some of the learning from this work, including techniques for engaging children in PRUs through improvisation and music technology.

11:00 – Break-out 2: Liquid Vibrations – Joel Cahen

Liquid Vibrations use an innovative approach to art outreach by providing underwater listening sessions to special needs children in hydrotherapy pools. Artistic Director and Co-Founder Joel Cahen will give a presentation of Liquid Vibrations work, exploring their techniques and describing their work.

11:45 – Break & refreshments

12:15 – Presentation: Using Ableton Live in the classroom and Wired4Music

Developed by musicians seeking a more flexible and expressive tool for composition and performance, Ableton Live provides tools for a broad range of innovative music technology and mixed live/technological collaboration in the classroom. In this demonstration Simon Lyon will demonstrate Push, Ableton’s intuitive controller, demonstrating its use in a variety of educational contexts, and collaborating live with Wired4Music classically-trained vocalist Sian Dicker. Expect accurately pitch tracked live audio, intuitive chord and scale models, effect processing and non-linear sample triggering together with comment and discussion on how Ableton Live can help bridge gaps between traditional instrumentalists and technologists, particularly when working in challenging circumstances.

13:00 – Lunch

14:00 – Break-out 1: Accessible Music Technology – Gary Day, Drake Music

Drake Music breaks down disabling barriers to music through innovative approaches to teaching, learning and making music. In this break-out Gary Day will demonstrate key accessible music technology including iPad and Soundbeam, and how Drake Music use them to make music-making accessible. Drake Music also use Ableton Live, so this is also a chance to see Ableton Live being used in a SEN/D context.

14:00 – Break-out 2: Ableton Live in the classroom.

Following on from our presentation, join Simon Lyon for a focussed break-out session where he will explore Ableton Live and Push and its use in the classroom in more depth and detail. There will be opportunity to try the hardware and software yourself, ask questions and explore its potential in your educational setting.

14:45 – Panel discussion with audience Q&A followed by networking time           

Gawain Hewitt (Chair)

Tony Nwachukwu

P Bone


Andrea Spain – Animate Orchestra, Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance

James Thomas – Head of Music Service, Hackney Learning Trust

15:30 – Networking during which Ableton will be available to demo Live and Push

16:00 – Close


To launch our new partnership with Ableton, we’re kick-starting a social media competition:

We’re giving away one FREE license for Ableton Live 9 Suite to the person who sends us the most innovative idea for using technology when making music in challenging settings.

For your chance to win, Tweet us at @SConnections, or leave a comment on our Facebook page.

A winner will be selected on Wednesday 19November, and will be contacted directly.


Click here to book your place now! >


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Support our work with London's young music makers. Donate Now