Like many young people we work with, Richard (not his real name), a student in year 10, had always struggled with school. He didn’t fit in, had extremely low confidence, and had been bullied. Coming to the afterschool club at SoundSpace Studios, Cinderford, has transformed his attitude to himself, and his wellbeing.
Initially Richard was far too shy and uncomfortable to take part in the music. But by taking part in conversations about musical interests and passions, having his views listened to and valued, and being supported by our specialist music leaders who are skilled in working with vulnerable young people, he gradually started to join in. Soon he was sharing his views more freely, learning how to give and receive constructive feedback, and writing songs with other young people.
Gradually he began to feel accepted and grew in confidence, until eventually he sang solo, one of the songs he’d been writing at home. This was a massive step, and the first of many.
He says: “Getting positive feedback for my singing and songwriting has really boosted my confidence.” He also reports that he’s been more able to focus and to use his initiative.
Since then, Richard has talked openly to younger students about how he had struggled with confidence and bullying, and how much difference music had made. He has also performed in public for the first time at an open mic night, and also on an outdoor stage in a local town, as part of a series of lunchtime gigs we organised.