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On the subject of youth voice…

Last month’s Teach Through Music Inspire Event at the Southbank Centre hosted a brilliant youth panel discussion. Adem; musician, teacher and Wired4Music member led the panel and was joined by Scarlett, Tomorrow’s Warriors, Sherwyn, participant in Southbank’s 15:21 programme, and Rachel, 6th form student and choir leader at her Ark school. As well as a passion for music, each member was a young person aged under 25.

The panellists were bright, articulate and filled to the brim with ideas about the musical journeys of young people in London; many of these tying in with the conversations taking place through Wired4Music. They spoke of a ‘disconnect’ between opportunities available at school and those found outside; many of which the panellists had found independently or through word of mouth, and felt could have been signposted to them sooner. Sherwyn told us that his school appeared to frown upon genres such as house and drum and base, adding that they seemed to be viewed as: ‘less academic than classical’ by his teachers. He would have enjoyed the opportunity to be freer in his music making. There was talk of the pressure to learn music theory in order to progress post-A Levels and a debate ensued on whether this was right or wrong – the panel was split. There were several positives too in this fervent conversation. Each of the panellists spoke of a teacher, practitioner or organisation that had provided great support to their progress in music. Their suggestions on how to improve things were constructive – young musicians needing access to space, in school or outside, to create, jam, collaborate and be inspired. They need an open dialogue between themselves and teachers, organisations, decision makers. And they need encouragement and guidance to participate in a wider musical community.

It was great to hear ideas straight from the horse’s mouth on how to collectively make a difference, and what this panel made clear was that young people’s voices need to be heard.

 

– Jessica Loveless, Programme Coordinator Wired4Music

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