To celebrate our 20th birthday in July Make Some Noise launch a Crowdfunding campaign Song for Wellbeing and welcomes donations www.crowdfunder.co.uk/song-for-wellbeing

Recent statistics show that teenagers were much more likely to experience some form of depression during the pandemic. Mental health charity Young Minds reported that 80% of young people agreed that the coronavirus pandemic had made their mental health worse. This has led to increased feelings of anxiety, isolation, a loss of coping mechanisms or a loss of motivation.

We are creating the Song for Wellbeing campaign to support the local young people who have been suffering to find joy again. We want to help them recover from the impact of multiple lockdowns and celebrate their talent through giving them opportunities to express their feelings through music.

With £3000 we will be able produce a beautiful and unique Song for Wellbeing Journal bursting with tips and opportunities for song-writing and achieving wellbeing.

With your help our Song for Wellbeing crowdfunding fundraising campaign aims to generate well needed funds to enable us to produce a Song for Wellbeing Journal to support children and young people recovering from the impact of the coronavirus pandemic across Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent.  Our Song for wellbeing journal will be distributed to over 1000 local young people (aged 12-18) as they recover from lockdown and celebrate their talent.

In addition, we will provide access to our online song-writing tutorials and create further opportunities for local singers and songwriters to submit songs for the Make Some Noise 20th anniversary commemorative album featuring original compositions from local singers/songwriters.

Chair of Make Some Noise, Nigel Senior commented:

“We are very excited about the upcoming  Song for Wellbeing campaign and really aim to make a difference to local young people’s creativity and wellbeing. This is a very difficult time for many young people and we want to do our bit to support them as they recover from the past year. We are also hoping to unearth some budding local songwriters who will be able to take part in our anniversary album with their compositions! Please support our campaign as generously as you can.”

As a dedicated music charity we are proud that during our 20 years we have delivered over 120 free community music projects across deprived areas in Staffordshire & Stoke-on-Trent, engaging more than 50,000 children, young people and families. Groups include children in care, with special needs and disabilities and children who have poor access to music activities.

Working closely with our partner organisations including Staffordshire County Council, Stoke-on-Trent City Council, Tamworth Arts & Events and Stafford Music Festival we strive through our work to reduce isolation, build confidence, skills and increase wellbeing. This is particularly relevant in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic when mental health and wellbeing needs are at an all-time high.

Opportunity for local or regional businesses

To help us reach as many young people and have as wide an impact as possible, we are seeking sponsorship for the campaign which will help us underwrite costs. If you are interested in this is a unique opportunity please download our Corporate Sponsorship Proposal

Make Some Noise would like to thank www.tr2creative.co.uk for their generous design and print deal.

Soundpots Conference Save the Date 2021

Book now Soundpots Online Early Years Music Conference Tickets

Hopefully there will be cause for celebration in summer 2021. It comes as no surprise that music has lifted the spirits of young children and parents during these difficult times. There is so much more that can be achieved through the power of music. Let’s ensure the ideas and skills from Soundpots, an award winning Early Years music delivery and training programme is shared with every early years settings in the Midlands. Why not join Make Some Noise, City of Stoke Music Service and partners for a practical and fun-packed day of training.

When: 9:30am – 3:30pm on Thursday 17 June 2021

Where: The Bridge Centre, Stoke-on-Trent ST2 8DD

The event is aimed at anyone who
has an interest in early years music making, speech, language and creative
learning. Take part in:

  • Practical
    skill sharing workshops
  • Discussions
    around the links between music, speech & language
  • Exploring
    innovative approaches to music participation

The format of the day will be a
combination of engaging talks, music and movement workshops and networking
opportunities.

Join our specialist keynotes who will
highlight some of the most effective repertoires that enable progression in
speech, language, engagement and musical skills.

To date, the Soundpots Team have
coordinated and delivered over 500 sessions with 1000+ children in Early Years
settings for the Soundpots programme. They have also provided training and
mentoring for over 200 Early Years practitioners.

Cat Crum, Programme Development Officer for Make Some Noise said:

“It has long since been recognised that from birth, children can relate to rhythm, tone and pulse, responding to music with keen attention and movement. We look forward to welcoming delegates to celebrate the success of the Soundpots programme and to share just how much fun music and movement is and how it can be used to help engage with young children and families to improve learning and development, build confidence and aid bonding.”

Tickets are £35 per setting (no limit on practitioners per setting).

The Soundpots programme is delivered with thanks to funding from the National Foundation for Youth Music, Arts Council England and the Sylvia Adams Foundation. This funding has also enabled the tickets to be heavily subsidised.

Make Some Noise in partnership with Two Rivers High School in Tamworth have created Makaton signed version of 3 popular songs with the students.

The songs will form part of a wider resource pack being created as part of our Next Level Transitions project based at Two Rivers High School which is funded by Youth Music.

If you would like more info about the work of Make Some Noise in schools or the Next Level project contact Education@make-some-noise.com

Pete Wearn, the latest addition to our team of Music Leaders from Make Some Noise, reflects on his experience of making music at Two Rivers High School. 

In November 2020, I joined the long running Make Some Noise Next Level project at Two Rivers High School in Tamworth, led by Chris Watt.  It has been a turbulent few weeks, with the school being closed due to a number of positive COVID-19 tests at the end of our first day there, necessitating a rapid change to remote delivery, and now the January 2021 national lockdown putting the project on hold.

In spite of (or perhaps because of) this unconventional start, Make Some Noise have asked me to share some thoughts on my experiences as a music leader newly adjusting to a Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) setting with Youth Music Network so, based on my own experience and on the generously imparted wisdom of my colleagues, here are six things I have learned so far:

1. Be Adaptable

Although SEND is a catch-all for anyone whose educational requirements fall outside of mainstream education, the range of student needs you encounter is more diverse than you meet in a conventional classroom, and as such you need to be at peace with the fact that your carefully thought-out colour-coded & laminated lesson plan may need to be disregarded in the first few minutes of a session. It is key to keep in mind that since every group is different there is no single way to deal with every SEND class.

My very first experience in a SEND school was delivering a short six-week project based around iPad music-making & composition in a small secondary school last year – of the two classes we dealt with, one group were close in their abilities to a mainstream class, although with more of a tendency to go off track and become disruptive, while the other were much more limited in their engagement and we ultimately moved away from attempts to get them playing a chord-sequence in time together towards building soundscapes, and replaced our usual rhythm based warm ups with nursery rhyme singalongs.

2. Be Inclusive

With a wider range of abilities to deal with than in mainstream education it can be easy to focus on the work of relatively few outgoing and engaged pupils who dominate group discussions.  To make sure the whole group gets value from the activity it is important to make sure everyone has a chance to engage.

After our November shut down at Two Rivers, we conducted a lyric writing exercise remotely. What came back was less complete than if we had conducted the exercise in person, coming more in the form of word-clouds and ideas than complete verses, but conversely had wider engagement than expected, with contributions from across the school, including from students who had been historically more difficult to get involved in music.

3. Partnerships are important

One of the reasons I think the Two Rivers project works so well and has been successful is that the staff of the school are completely on board with the aims of the work and see the value in its delivery. Emails are answered promptly, equipment is freely shared, and people are keen to lend a hand or get involved.

Obviously, being the newcomer, I cannot take any credit for this state of affairs, but it has been refreshing to see, and all credit goes to Chris and the team at Two Rivers for the excellent relationship they’ve built over the years they have been working together.

4. Integrating technology is a useful tool

Technology has an important role to play in making music-making accessible to all in a SEND setting.  Utilising IT opens up composition and performance to those who may not have the motor skills to play a conventional instrument.

One key focus of Next Level is on forming and rehearsing an ensemble in order to progress to public performance. My first day on the project saw very significant movement towards the goal of public recital because of the decision to incorporate a mix of iPads and conventional instruments into the group, freeing up those who were able to grapple with a guitar or keyboard to do that without hinderance, whilst allowing fuller participation from those who had been struggling.

5. Cater to your audience (and don’t make assumptions)

With a SEND group it seems even more important than usual not to make assumptions about their interests and engagement.  Whereas it might be safe to suppose a group of teenagers in a mainstream school would have little interest in being taught pre-school staples like Old McDonald, for those with different needs it might be the perfect way to connect with them and enthuse them about making music. On the other hand, they may be obsessive about tech metal, but the key is to find out what works for them.

6. Remember to have fun

“Remember to have fun” should patently apply to any musical endeavour. Indeed, several musical collaborations I’ve been involved with over the years might well have survived a little longer if we’d kept those words in mind. In the educational environment however, they do sometimes get lost in the pressure to produce tangible outputs to show parents and funding organisations how hard we have all been working.  One of the greatest things I’ve seen at Two Rivers is the enthusiasm for music demonstrated by music leaders and school staff is quite clearly infectious and that shows in the response of the student body and their willingness to engage and participate with the Next Level project and other music activities.

Challenging Preconceptions: The Two Rivers Band on Tour across Tamworth, Staffordshire

Pete Wearn is a freelance musician working as an Assistant Music Leader for Make Some Noise. Find out more about Pete here http://www.make-some-noise.com/teacher/pete-wearn/

Share a Song to Belong with Make Some Noise this December!

Local music charity Make Some Noise is inviting people of all ages to Share a Song to Belong with them this December as part of its annual fundraising Campaign.

Childhood trauma affects a young person’s sense of identity and through its inspiring programme of free music making workshops and performances Make Some Noise recognises the healing power of music and the sense of belonging music can bring.

Singing releases feel-good endorphins, making music reduces stress and anxiety, writing lyrics helps express feelings and playing music together widens friendship circles. Make Some Noise workshops allow children and young people to do this, whilst having fun, which is an essential part of childhood.

In order to continue to provide free services and support for children and young people with learning needs, disabilities and mental health issues across Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent, Make Some Noise is aiming to raise well needed funds through this appeal which runs from 14 – 20 December 2020.

Tim Sharp, Chief Executive Officer for Make Some Noise said:

“Make Some Noise would love to hear from anyone who believes that music is a great way to help children cope with traumatic experiences. You don’t have to be a professional musician or singer to take part. Local bands or choirs or anyone who just loves music, enjoys playing an instrument or singing along to their favourite tune! Please join our growing number of Musical Heroes who are choosing Make Some Noise as their charity this Christmas and fundraising towards our £3000 target. This year, we anticipate reaching over 250,000 people, so why not gather a few friends around and take to the virtual stage, all for a good cause?”

To get involved and be a Musical Hero, just record a song, perform it on social media, tag us in and don’t forget to add our justgiving link for those supporting you doing a great and wonderful thing, it was has been such a challenging year!

Rise is a social action project funded by #iwill. Make Some Noise’s work with the Cooperative Academy Students in Stoke on Trent culminated in the creation of these three films to share with young people who in Year 6 / 7 of school about the subjects of Loneliness, Moving to High School and Helping Others.

We have created a resource pack and lesson plan for schools to use in conjunction with the films if they wish.

Grow is about moving from Primary to High School

Bubble is about experiencing feelings of Isolation and Loneliness

Hello – is about reaching out to others

Download the resources for schools here:

Lesson Plan

Student Booklet

Films Transcripts – Teacher Notes

The Story of Rise

For more information about the project and to look behind the scenes of what it took to produce the animations, soundtracks and songs have a look at this series of films.

Make Some Noise is embracing technology during the Covid-19 pandemic in order to maintain support for some of the most vulnerable children, young people and their families across Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent.

While technology is nothing new to our team of professional musicians who regularly combine traditional musical instruments with some of the latest digital music software and hardware in face-to-face sessions, to continue this invaluable work in some form was important. 

Programme Development Officer John Simmonds said, “The obvious step was to create virtual services online where possible, not only as a means of maintaining routine and contact for participants, but to help reduce feelings of loneliness and isolation which were heightened due to lockdown restrictions. 

Bringing sessions to a digital platform was not without its challenges, as we needed to complete stringent risk assessment and safeguarding measures and test of all the available video conferencing programmes to ensure the welfare, needs and support of individual participants, their families and carers was at the forefront of the process. “

Dan Greenwood, who joined the charity in June 2019 as Programme Assistant jumped at the chance to modify our weekly music training sessions with looked after children aged 9-14 to online delivery.   Many of these young people have experienced trauma in some form, resulting in a variety of issues including behavioural, attachment, low self-esteem, learning difficulties and social anxiety.

Dan has always been passionate about music and having overcome his own personal challenges with mental health, has experienced first-hand the power that music can bring to help with recovery and wellbeing. Like so many of our music leaders, Dan’s passion for inclusive music, skills and personal experience has enabled him to develop a good working relationship with these young people. Prior to lockdown his creative face to face sessions had shown positive results for participants in their ability to engage and develop. 

Dan says:  “A vital part of developing someone’s musicianship is being able to play something together.  Over video that isn’t always easy, having to factor in the time delay we experienced which at times has been frustrating for some of the young people.   There is however still immense value, they enjoy it and thrive despite these challenging times.

Make Some Noise was able to re-engage with children and young people within two weeks of lockdown, which is remarkable under the circumstances.  Everyone put in the extra time to make it happen. We feel privileged to work with these children, young people and their families.  They have really been through challenges and for some young people, physical face to face interaction works better, others have shown to flourish better using this new virtual way of working.”

 Other Make Some Noise projects to have benefitted from live online delivery are Upbeat Families, for pre-school children of military families, and Stoke Young parents, aimed at young parents and their pre-school children. Music Leader Chris Watt had this to say, “By delivering these online group and 1-2-1 sessions for our Young Parents project, we have been able to share the experience of isolation during lockdown with our participants, helping support their wellbeing through the pandemic.”

At Make Some Noise we continue to seek out new innovative ways of keeping music in the lives of their audiences during this time, having recently discovered a new opportunity to use digital delivery to help in the transition of one of their young participants as they relocate. Following safeguarding guidance, being able to maintain a level of continued support during this time until a new setting for service provision can be established, will help reduce anxiety and increase their confidence and learning.

Make Some Noise is grateful for the flexible & pragmatic support from the following funders, who have enabled us to pivot our programmes to ensure that many of our beneficiaries can access our support digitally during this pandemic: Arts Council England Emergency Grant, the Government’s Coronavirus Community Support Fund, distributed by The National Lottery Community Fund, the National Foundation for Youth Music, BBC Children in Need, Lloyds Bank Foundation, the Sylvia Adams Foundation, Armed Forces Covenant Fund Trust, the Co-Op Foundation and the Music Partnership.

As part of this year’s Rise project pupils at the Cooperative Academy in Stoke-On-Trent wrote songs and developed the storyboards for a series of animations to use as resources to help young people start talking about their experiences of loneliness, isolation and transition to high school.

The completed films will form of a resource pack that will be freely available for use in schools. Make Some Noise will be holding an online event to launch the resources in October 2020.

Here is Senior Music Leader James Stanley playing the original version of the song created by the group.

For an introduction to the project click here

To find out more about our online conference and launch event click here

Here’s an introduction to the work of the Rise project from our Senior Music Leader James Stanley.

We will be adding more videos and blogs over the coming weeks. Follow us on social media to receive updates on the project launch and more behind the scenes views of the work involved in turning the young peoples ideas into completed films and songs.

More information about the Event to launch the work of the Rise Project and share best practise around Youth Loneliness is available here

An opportunity to share positive practice and resources for encouraging young people to share their experiences of loneliness and isolation.

About this Event

Make some Noise would like you to join us for the Launch of our 3 animated films designed by Young People for use with Year 6 and Year 7 pupils.

The films are the result of our work with Cooperative Academy Students in Stoke on Trent in a #Iwill funded project ‘Rise’ to use Social Action to help address the issue of Loneliness in Young People and support students during transition to high school.

You will also be hearing from our guest speakers about Young People’s experience of loneliness, the national picture and what we can all do to help start a conversation with young people about loneliness, reduce the stigma around feeling lonely and help to build interventions that encourage connection and resilience in those young people who are experiencing feelings of loneliness and isolation.

Our aims are to:

  • Increase teachers confidence in starting a conversation about loneliness in young people by providing resources that can help to achieve this.
  • Share our experience of engaging young people in social action around loneliness and provide you with insights into how you can undertake similar work within your own settings.
  • Hear from attendees about their experiences of receiving Year 7 pupils this September, with a view of setting the focus for the next phase of the project so we can involve young people in co-designing initiatives and resources to help.

The films, resource pack and lesson plan to accompany them will be provided free of charge to all attendees.

Here is a short film about the wider Rise project:

Register Today on Eventbrite:

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/116204509817