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Young People Strand

Projects benefitting young people age 6-25 years old. Our projects help to nurture artistic talent and progression in areas and musical genres where opportunities may be limited. Our work here can include providing opportunities for disadvantaged young people, those facing challenging circumstances, and young people who are gifted and talented who otherwise might not have the opportunity to progress. The majority of our work in this strand is community based and delivered in the informal sector (e.g., not in educational settings), enabling us to reach young people who might not engage in traditional music education.
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Current projects:


Wavelength: working in partnership with Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust (BSMHFT) and Forward Thinking Birmingham, Wavelength provides music making opportunities for young people aged 14-25 referred across mental health services in Birmingham and Solihull and surrounding areas, from early detection and intervention services through to acute and forensic services. Through one-to-one creative songwriting input leading to supported group activity and performance, the project provides a supportive social network and builds musical and emotional literacy, resilience, confidence as well as a range of transferable skills - all key to the development of social esteem, acceptance and recovery. Interested? A simple application form can be downloaded on our opportunities page.


We are incredibly grateful for the support that Wavelength has received to date. Youth Music allowed us to set up the project in 2015 for a 3 year pilot programme, and following this we had support from BBC Children in Need with funding across 2018-2021. We are also very grateful to have received ongoing match funding support from the Clive Richards Foundation, Birmingham Music Education Partnership and our project partners. It is now funded by the National Lottery Community Fund for the next 3 years. You can see our blogs about Wavelength on the Youth Music Network here.  Also, please see our Wavelength 'on demand' online seminar content here, launched on World Mental Health Day, 10th October 2018. and expanded since them with new content.

Plugin: we are delighted to have received another 3 year grant from Youth Music to develop and expand our Plugin inpatient mental health programme across 2022-25, working in 3 hospital settings across Birmingham and a new setting in Coventry. Plugin aims to embed in setting staff and our local emerging music leader workforce the skills and confidence to provide creative music making opportunities for young people in mental health inpatient settings, using accessible music technology to develop musical skills and composition and through songwriting and/or production developing emotional literacy, helping participants to express their thoughts and feelings through their original music. The project provides 4 paid Young Music Leader roles per year with mentoring from our experienced lead artists and training to work in the mental health sector. Settings involved include: Birmingham Children's Hospital Parkview Clinic, Ardenleigh FCAMHS, Woodbourne Priory Hospital and Cygnet Joyce Parker Hospital, Coventry. 


SongLab Partnership: Working in partnership with The SongLab and Birmingham Music Education Partnership, this activity enables us to support and develop young musicians’ progression in the area of popular and contemporary musical styles through masterclasses and workshops, building awareness of the wider music industry. Please also see our Training Strand for more information.

Past projects:


Interface: This was a project for young people into music tech, including software/hardware, people making their own tracks or beats, DJ/ MCs working with live samples and instrumentalists/vocalists using loop pedals. The project was a great opportunity for people who normally work alone to collaborate with others and form a new 10 piece group that was a bit different & quirky.


Interface ran from September 2021 until end March 2022, providing training opportunities for 5 young music leaders aged 18-25 from under-represented groups, also offering a bursary to complete our New Horizons course and a Level 4 Certificate for Music Educators accreditation. The remaining 5 places in the ensemble were offered to gifted and talented young people aged 14-18. At the end of the project the Interface band ran 3 performance workshops for other young people in Birmingham, visited a recording studio to record 2 tracks and also made a music video. This can be seen here!

Interface was kindly supported by Youth Music and the Birmingham Music Education Partnership.The project was particularly focused on engaging Black & Asian participants &/or those identifying as having a disability, to help diversify our future workforce.

Sense Project: Over the 2019 summer holiday, Quench Arts provided music activities as part of Sense’s holiday scheme provision for young people with disabilities. We also worked with Sense to help develop music activity as part of their residential offer.

Reaching Out: Working in partnership with Birmingham Music Education Partnership and MAC Makes Music, this programme included training and workshop delivery to better engage young people from ethnic minority and/or newly arrived communities who were disengaged or experiencing barriers to ensemble music making. Reaching Out involved recruiting and then developing the facilitation and ensemble performance skills of musicians living in Birmingham, from a range of folk/world traditions, around music making with children and young people in traditional folk/world music. Following training, a series of workshops were delivered in 3 schools, Aston Manor Academy, George Dixon and The International School, leading to a celebratory performance at mac Birmingham which was a fantastic success.


Base Studios’ The Junction, Base Bands, Based Out and Mix It Up Projects: Since our formation in 2012, we have had a partnership relationship with Base Studios, based in Stourbridge, Dudley, to help develop their offer to better engage young people in using their fantastic facilities. This has involved Quench Arts assisting in developing, fundraising, coordinating and evaluating programmes of activity. Projects have largely focused on band development and audience development activities, supporting the progression of young musicians by enabling them to meet and rehearse with others, and training young music leaders in the area. For more information please see our Quenchology Strand.

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