Heard Through Beat and Word


Project Information


From 06 January 2014

Partners: Pendle Youth Zone

Musicians: Jaheda Choudhury-Potter; Rock It! Collective; Abdul Salek (Dhamak Beats) and Graham Wynne



Heard Through Beat and Word

This project aimed to encourage young people, especially young women, from Nelson and the surrounding area to become young music leaders, offering them the opportunity to experience different forms of contemporary music and try out everything from beat boxing to song writing. The project was delivered through Pendle Youth Zone, working with a number of their existing groups to identify individuals with a passion for music and the ability to inspire their peers.  

Retaining talent in the area is key to a strong future workforce of creative people in Pennine Lancashire, but the opportunities for young people in Pendle to get involved in leading creative activity themselves, the first step towards a creative career, are limited. This project aimed to raise aspirations, give young people access to learning opportunities, uncover hidden talents and demonstrate leadership skills.

Previous work had identified a real need for contemporary music activity, particularly focused on urban genres, that appeals to the next generation of potential artists. This project followed directly on from an earlier Young Music Leaders scheme which highlighted a need to engage young women of Asian heritage who expressed an interest in this type of activity but lacked the confidence to participate or perform. The project aimed to address these barriers and provide a platform for new and original voices to be heard.

To launch the project we delivered 17 high quality music sessions with four different groups, an Asian girls group, a girls group of mixed ethnicity, a group of young people with SEN and a boys group. The sessions were lead by experienced Music Leaders from three local organisations – More Music, Rock It! Collective and Dhamak – supported by guest artists to reflect the interests of the particular group (for example a female hip hop artist with the girls groups).

In the second stage of the project a smaller group of participants worked with Music Leaders from Square One Studios over 9 sessions on instrumental/vocals and songwriting, and the for final session organised their own live music event.

All of the youth workers involved felt that the project had a positive impact on the participants’ confidence levels and communication skills.  They mentioned one female participant in particular who had never performed in public before (although they had often heard her singing behind closed doors) who overcame her nerves to perform at the Live @ the Zone event.

The Staff at the Youth Zone reported that the project had really pushed participants out of their comfort zone and revealed undiscovered talent, which has resulted in two of the participants being offered a more senior role within their volunteer structure. They were particularly proud of the way the young people responded to the challenge of organising the Live @ the Zone event, taking the lead on everything from designing and distributing posters to promote the gig, to booking other local young people to perform on the night and managing technical specifications for each act.

One Youth Worker said that music activities at the Zone were usually limited to letting the young men who attend on a Friday and Saturday night play around with the DJing/MCing equipment (which none of the staff can proficiently use), this project has shown him that music can be more than a diversionary activity.   The workers from the Youth Zone have expressed an interest in developing further music projects and have agreed with the participants to pilot the Live @ The Zone model as a regular event.

This project was funded by Youth Music.  Youth Music is the leading UK charity using music to transform the lives of disadvantaged children and young people. They support and develop exemplary music provision at every stage of a young person’s development, whether it’s the first time a mother and baby make music together, or a talented teen’s debut at the Royal Albert Hall.

  • At first, when they actually gave us the microphone, I was like, I don’t want to say anything! Dreading it, saying nooo!! But now I’m like, give me the mike! Give it me, I want to do it right now!

  • I liked it. It was good. I would like more sessions to be done.

  • Amazing. I liked the drums. Guitars were boring. More drums!

  • It was awesome. You taught us a lot.