As part of his internship, Sam, our Marketing and Communications Intern is getting to visit a range of soundLINCS’ projects and workshops and is writing blogs about what he experiences on his travels!
After getting the opportunity to visit a soundWELL workshop last month at Lincoln County Hospital I was eager to go out and experience more of soundLINCS’ project work as soon as possible. Luckily I didn’t have to wait long as I was given the chance to attend an EMPower session at Access to Music in Lincoln.
EMPower is a free learning and development project for 11-16 year olds which gives young people with a passion for music production the opportunity to collaborate with their peers and work alongside professional music producers to develop new skills and techniques.
The project is funded by Youth Music, soundLINCS and the Lincolnshire Music and Arts Education Hub. The project is part of the Youth Music Programme ‘Creating Environments for Musical Progression’, the aim of which is to help realise the musical potential of children and young people by creating environments that best support their musical development.
From the moment the session got under way it was clear that the young people taking part in the project had a real passion for music production and were eager to learn as much as possible. The workshop began with Eddy, soundLINCS’ Music Facilitator, showing the participants through a series of advanced effects and filters that they could use on their tracks, before placing them in groups so that they could practically apply these new skills.
It was brilliant to see the participants helping each other and working together whilst editing their tracks, showing the rapport that they had built over quite a short period of time. A large part of EMPower’s vision is to give young Music Producers who usually work in isolation the chance to network with other like-minded people and to exchange their experiences and expertise.
As well as the teaching and networking strands, EMPower offers several other opportunities to participants, creating an environment for musical progression based around the location, needs and interests of the participants. Throughout EMPower the young people will work towards gaining an Arts Award as well as relevant work experience placements and collaborative performances. The participants are also encouraged to become ‘Champions’ for Electronic Music Production at their schools, increasing its profile with help from soundLINCS, sharing their knowledge and creating more channels through which other pupils can get involved.
What I felt really helped engage the participants was the fact that they were given a lot of freedom to explore and experiment with the equipment and their tracks; with Eddy talking them through the techniques then letting them make their own decisions on how to develop the track. They really took this opportunity to show their creativity; producing tracks across a variety of genres and even one built around the audio recording of somebody’s ear being flicked.
As well as constructing their own tracks on GarageBand the participants also got the invaluable opportunity to use Access to Music’s recording studio, giving them real hands-on experience in the environment which most music producers work in. They explored the functions of the studio’s Digital Audio Workstation and Mixing Desk, being given a flat unedited recording which they then manipulated using the faders and sliders to create what they felt was the greatest sound quality possible.
In the studio I also saw the diverse range of musical talents that were in the group; as several of the participants took to the other side of the glass to offer some fantastic drum beats and guitar riffs for the others to work with and edit. It was great to see how well they worked together and how rewarding they found it as they made progress throughout the session.
One of the young people told me: “EMPower lets us explore a different side of music and is a great chance to be more fun and creative than the more formal approaches. I love the sessions and always like to share what I’ve been doing.”
It was fantastic to meet and talk to the EMPower participants and see their passion for music technology. Hearing the progression in the tracks as their skills developed was great and hopefully gave me a sneak preview into the star Music Producers of tomorrow!
If you would like to read more about EMPower you can visit the Project Page here.