Successors’ Kids was a Tŷ Cerdd funded Inspire project that delivered nine successful in-person music workshops in a range of settings between April and August 2021, engaging 157 participants, teaching children and young people from a range of backgrounds aged 4-25.
- Women Connect First Holiday Play Scheme – Canal Park, Butetown – 3/4/21
- Riverside After School Club – Clare Gardens, Riverside – 19/5/21
- Ely nursery and after school club – 10/6/21
- Combined session for Cardiff Care Leavers Group & Cardiff Deaf Cool Youth club – Roath Recreation Ground – 11/6/21
- Cardiff Deaf Cool Youth Club – Deaf Hub Wales – 18/6/21
- Young Carers’ Club – Butetown Pavillion – 19/6/21
- Cardiff Youth Service Street Based Team mobile unit event – Grange Gardens – 23/7/21
- Inclusion Group – North Ely Community Education Centre – 11/8/21
- Summer Club – Rhiwbeina – 11/8/21
Our first session was held at the very initial phase of the easing of COVID-19 related restrictions during the Easter holidays (socially distanced, outdoors, with masks, and stringent sanitising routines), however this was so worth the effort – the joy in the faces of the children involved after so long of not being able to gather, socialise, or participate in group informal learning opportunities. The young people (and their mums) were enthusiastic participants. One Somali mother commented that children and young people had missed so many opportunities due to the pandemic, and that it was also so rare for them to have an opportunity to experience African music “‘they wouldn’t get to experience this normally”.
Our Roath Recreation ground djembe session brought together two very different specialist Youth Service provisions in the city, Cardiff Deaf Cool Youth Club and the Care Leavers group, the session was made accessible with a BSL/English Interpreter and integrated two very different user groups.
The project overall targeted young people who may experience barriers to opportunities to engage with music tuition or specialist provision.
The workshops included tuition in basic percussion, djembe drumming, song, and balafon; with the majority of learners experiencing West African music for the first time.
Each session had two facilitators, and two sessions were interpreted (BSL/English). For the inclusion group in North Ely (a specialist youth club for disabled young people with additional needs), we were able to invite a disabled master drummer from Burkina Faso (living in London) to co-facilitate the session as a positive role model.
The sessions were well received and well attended and included children and young people from a diverse range of backgrounds (many of whom face barriers in accessing mainstream music provision).
- Access to tuition from professional musicians regardless of ability, disability, cultural background, gender, or financial circumstances
- The provision of positive Black role models that are passionate about their art
- Diversifying the activities of provisions to include music, inspiring a new generation of learners
- Sharing the rich heritage of the West African griot tradition
- Positive representations of Black culture in Wales as an antidote to prevalent negative stereotypes
- Learning about West African Mandingue cultural traditions and arts through music
- Sharing of cultures through group discussions
- Trying out new skills, encouraging new hobbies, or the taking up of a new instrument
- Providing a route to exploring and fostering positive cultural identities through music and culture (especially for those children and young people who have roots in the African diaspora who have little knowledge of their rich cultural heritage)
- Engaging disaffected young people
- Attracting new audiences to provisions
- Confidence building
- Developing communication skills
- Promoting diversity in music and expression
- Introducing African music to new audiences and participants
- Planting the seeds to inspire a new generation of musicians, percussionists, and singers
- Intergenerational collaboration and participation (parents and support workers can’t help themselves and get drawn into participation!)
- Workshops tailored and paced to meet individual needs
- 1:1 support as required
- Access to activities in BSL for groups excluded from the majority of mainstream musical activities
- Having fun and experiencing the joy of participation!
This project brought the above benefits to a wider and diverse group of children and young people who often experience barriers to provision for reasons of economic hardship, communication barriers, language barriers, family responsibilities, and a lack of flexibility to accommodate differing learning styles and needs.
By taking workshops to already established groups in the community we have greater reach and impact than trying to establish stand-alone one-off workshops in a short space of time. There are also the added advantages of the children and young feeling comfortable in their safe space, and that their regular support workers (who know them best) were on hand to advise and to learn in parallel so that some aspects of the activities might be repeated and reinforced at a later date.
We were really pleased to have been able to deliver these activities to a diverse range of disadvantaged young people (many of whom would have been unequally disadvantaged as a result of the pandemic), facilitating access to a rewarding and enriching activity.
As a result of this project, we have been asked to deliver two further sessions at Cardiff Deaf Centre, and a programme of sessions for Cardiff Council Youth Service during Spring 2022.