Spotlight on Findhorn Bay Arts, celebrating creativity with young music makers from Moray

Every month, we shine a light on an organisation or project that the Youth Music Initiative (YMI) supports, and that works with one of their priority groups of young people.

These features give a space for organisation staff and participants to tell us their stories, and we are really looking forward to sharing these with you.

This month, we hear from Findhorn Bay Arts.

A young man stands playing a guitar while another sits in front of recording software on a keyboard in a brightly lit white room with plantsImage credit: Findhorn Bay Arts

Music is an integral element of our work

Since 2012, Findhorn Bay Arts has been ‘making creative things happen’ in Moray and beyond. An award-winning creative producer of cultural events and activities, our work is firmly rooted in the communities of Moray.

In 2017, we embarked on a three-year project In the Mix for 10-25 years old living in Moray, who were at risk from one or more of the following: experiencing isolation, out of work or school, offending, or living in rural pockets of deprivation.

This led on to our YMI funded project REMIX, designed for young Moray music-makers between 12 and 21 years of age. As with most projects over the past year, REMIX had to be adapted due to Covid-19. We rose to the challenge and moved it all online and created a new and engaging programme, which from the feedback we received had a significant positive impact individually and as a collective.

Held over three phases, we engaged with 21 participants, led 24 online sessions, organised an in-person studio weekend, was part of an online music festival event at Eden Court Theatre, engaged 6 professional music-maker videos to attract more people to join the project, offered a trainee programme, created 9 original tracks, a music video, and a bank of sample tracks.

A collage of a number of participants of REMIX playing music over a Zoom call

Image credit: Findhorn Bay Arts

There were three phases to the REMIX project lasting over a period of twelve months, each building on and developing the skills and talents of those involved:

In the first phase, six professional musicians were employed to create and produce videos that would attract young people to join the project and inspire them to make their own music. These videos have been viewed over 2,300 times on our social media platforms.

In the second phase, we worked online with seven young music-makers, teaching techniques in music production, building a peer network, creating original music from found sounds, recording interviews, conducting field recordings, recording instruments found in the participants’ homes, and using software samples & synths.

In the final phase, which has only recently just finished, we worked with two groups - a younger group of 12-16 year olds and an older group of 16-21 year olds. With the younger group, we created music and a music video from objects found around the houses of the participants. They learned finger drumming and discussed music. We created a fun and inviting atmosphere, and the young people looked forward to attending every week.

With the older group, as well as creating music, we brought in industry professionals to run sessions on different aspects of the music industry - funding, Music Plus, life in the music business, creating music videos, creativity, and educational pathways. We teamed up with Eden Court for an online weekend event with two evenings of music created and performed by members of the group.

We ran a trainee programme where one participant learned about facilitation, session design, child protection, event preparation, and working with children. During this training process, we also facilitated an opportunity for our trainee through the Moray Employer Recruitment Incentive (2021-2022), a fund to support businesses to employ young people. This enabled him to approach Drum Fun, a local music business with whom he was given work experience. Drum Fun has now made an application to this fund to employ him, which we are hoping will be successful.

Creating a safe place for young people to connect and make music

With the effects of covid-19 affecting all of us, what REMIX did was offer a regular place for young people to feel safe, connect with other young like-minded people, meet over a shared interest, develop their skills, create music together as well as enabling us to create a new community of young music-makers.

Feedback from the young people included:

I felt that having the weekly sessions were great as it gave a sense of community. That despite everything that was going on there was still somewhere I'd feel welcomed.

It helped me re-connect to the outside world and learn new things about the subject I love. I met new people and made new friends too! It was a chance to talk to people and engage in a level of sociality that I had not done in a long while.”

It’s being going great, I haven’t really been able to connect with people musically through projects as much as I would like to, and this has been a great opportunity to meet new people, and connect through music and be able to create something.

It’s really fun, I like collaborating with young musicians, especially when they’re near me and I know that when the project is over I could always go back and collaborate with them again, and yeah it’s been really fun. I’d like to do more in person stuff though. I find I get more musical ideas when I’m in person, so I’m struggling online, but… it has been amazing.

It’s been great fun. We’ve been doing this for a while now – since September really, so, just been playing and making music with other people – and that one session we had back in December was quite something – in person!

Music is a great way to learn and express their own feelings and in doing so it lets them escape from everyday pressures they find themselves under.” Richard Campbell, Senior Project Worker, Moray Youth Justice

Listen to some of their music:

So what’s next?

We are delighted that we will start our new Youth Arts Access fund project: AMP: Music soon. We hope to open the application process for the mentoring programme this month, with all the programmes starting at the end of August/early September.

Keep an eye on our website and social media for updates.

Website: | Facebook: @findhornbayarts | Instagram: @findhornbayarts | Twitter: @FindhornBayArts

This article was published on 05 Jul 2021