VIP lockdown stories: Supporting community organisations

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In the early days of the lockdown, the VIP Studio Sessions team reached out to several community organisations. We wanted to support their important work by ensuring the young people they help would still have access to music-making opportunities online. Here’s a flavour of some of the incredible work going on around the country.

1. Noise Solution

One organisation that has made big strides during the pandemic has been Noise Solution, a social enterprise who use music to engage and motivate people facing a wide variety of challenges. We spoke to its founder Simon Glenister, about the organisation’s online work in community settings.

‘Noise Solution is unusual in that we’ve had a 10-year run up to digital youth work. We’ve developed an extensive digital infrastructure that helps us create supportive digital communities around our participants, while capturing and sharing their musical journeys with family and key workers.’

Noise Solution using VIP

How they ‘digitised’ music-making sessions

‘When lockdown hit, the key problem we had to solve was how to “digitise” the music-making sessions themselves in a way that retained the co-production that is central to our theory of change. VIP gave us the perfect way of doing this, and it was easy to incorporate the programme into our own platform. VIP has been a vital part of our COVID-19 response; one that’s seen us deliver upwards of 800 hours of interactive 1:1 online music mentoring in the last few months.

‘At Noise Solution, we focus on creating the conditions that enable well-being to flourish. These are evidenced as giving young people a sense of autonomy, creating a space for them to feel competent quickly, and creating a feeling of relatedness to others. Our musicians have been able to give young people autonomy, while VIP has excelled in enabling us to increase their competence quickly and remotely. Sharing our platform has allowed us to capture that mentoring journey and young people’s experiences safely.

‘We also specialise in measuring the impact of participant’s well-being through this process. We know that well-being positively impacts on young people’s social interaction, engagement and education outcomes because we have years of benchmarkable statistical data to draw upon to illustrate it. What’s super exciting for us is that we’ve been able to continue capturing that data throughout lockdown.

The results

‘Initial (very early) results are incredibly encouraging in that we are maintaining that statistically significant impact on well-being with vulnerable youth via entirely digital delivery – and against the backdrop of the pandemic.

‘Thanks to all the team at Charanga – and especially, Max. You’ve been amazing!’

We then met one Noise Solution participant at a recent online seminar. Jade is a young carer who produced film soundtrack music using VIP during lockdown. She explained that she’d particularly enjoyed ‘being able to share my experiences using the online programme, and talk about how it helped me, and people like me, to try to be role models for others’.  Really inspiring stuff and you can listen to Jade’s track here:

2. VIP Partners with Youth Music

Another positive to emerge during the pandemic for us was the launch of our partnership with Youth Music. Every year, Youth Music funds more than 300 projects nationwide, supporting around 83,000 children and young people to make music, develop their skills and progress on their chosen paths.

Their mission statement – ’to advocate for those who are missing out, to invest where it’s needed most, and to drive change in the music industries and education’ – really resonates with our own aims and values.

Bicep competition

We marked the partnership by launching an exciting competition together to find some of the best new music produced by VIP users, judged by none other than Youth Music Ambassadors, Bicep, the critically-acclaimed Electronic music duo.

Bicep duo

‘VIP has been a valuable resource for organisations across the sector to help them negotiate these challenging times,’ Sam Scott, Grants & Learning Officer at Youth Music, told us. ‘For young people to have access to a high-quality online music production and learning tool has been key over the last few months – particularly when many of the projects they’re part of have adapted to new ways of remote or online working.

‘We’re excited to see the multitude of ways VIP can be incorporated into future practice, and we will continue to champion young peoples’ work through the platform – where they can get their music heard and receive support from leading musicians, artists and industry contacts.’

3. Community Music

The team at London-based Community Music were early adopters of the VIP/Youth Music partnership and have also had some encouraging results. We spoke to Project Coordinator, Michelle Myrie, and Tutor, Karl Pupé, about their work.

‘Community Music’s ethos is to use music as a tool for change, while breaking barriers to creative music-making,’ says Michelle. ‘We work with many young people who come from very different backgrounds. But in the current situation, having tools like VIP means that young people are able to continue their creative music-making online.

Lockdown Sessions with VIP

‘During lockdown and the summer holidays, we delivered weekly sessions where our students used the programme to make their own music and to create different genres of music – tracks they may not have thought about making ordinarily,’ adds Karl. ‘Participants used VIP to write beats, look at and analyse arrangements, record vocals and add audio effects. With a great suite of instructional videos, it was a real game-changer, and we now have a great collection of tracks to listen to!

‘Thanks to Charanga and Youth Music for helping us to keep creative music-making going through very difficult times. Together, we’ve helped our young people stay focused, creative and have some fun.’

Check out this track of the month from Community Music-based rapper D Rax here:

4. AudioActive

AudioActive is a groundbreaking music organisation working with young people at the meeting point of technology and contemporary youth culture. VIP’s Max Wheeler has collaborated with AudioActive for over ten years. During the pandemic, VIP has been integral to the success of numerous mentoring and online projects.

‘VIP is a sick resource to use, especially in the situation we’re in,’ says AudioActive mentor, Sam Maryon. ‘A young person I’ve been working with, who is obsessed with making music, had been using his cousin’s laptop at home for its music software. But it was taken back. Luckily, he had another computer from his school and was able to use VIP to continue making beats and record vocals. The project completely changed his mindset, and he was able to carry on making music.’

‘P is a 16 year-old young man with autism and ADHD,’ adds AudioActive tutor, Jack Kingslake. ‘Pre-Covid, he’d been working with me doing a combination of tuition, songwriting and music production. The pandemic had a massive impact on P. With no music equipment in his care home, he was unable to continue pursuing his passion. But with access to VIP and its video tutorials, and our regular online check-ins, he is now happily producing music again.’

We couldn’t be prouder of this work and hope it will continue to help young people in challenging situations wherever they are.

If you would like to try out VIP for 30 days – complete with access for up to 30 students –  register for a complimentary, no obligation trial. To ensure you get the most out of your trial, you’ll be able to sign up for one of our free introductory training sessions too. Look out for an invitation once your trial has started.