Jim (not his real name) was an 18-year-old guitarist who was passionate about jazz music but had got stuck and lost confidence in developing his skills. He struggled with anxiety and having dropped out of school and with no prospects of a job or training, was becoming increasingly socially isolated and depressed.
Our music leader, Stuart, worked with Jim through weekly one-hour mentoring sessions over six weeks. Stuart explains that this work is as much about collaborating as musicians, as supporting a vulnerable young person: “He was really into jazz, knew all about the history, was trying to play in that style – but he had nowhere to go with it. He also wanted to do some recording, but again, didn’t know where to start. It was more about jamming with another guitarist and using the skills I’d learned by teaching myself. One thing a lot of guitarists struggle with, is improvising, but by teaching myself, I’d found things that would help and I passed them on to him.”
Jim progressed musically, in his confidence, and in beginning to take up opportunities and make connections with people who could support him. He took part in a week-long songwriting and recording course organised by The Music Works (then Gloucestershire Music Makers) and the Prince’s Trust, and has now also volunteered for local organisations.