Popular Teesside musical inclusion project musinc has introduced tuition and exams to help young musicians progress.
The introduction of the Rockschool grade exams gives young people from the local area a chance to develop their musical skills and knowledge and receive a recognised grade accreditation.
The qualifications are designed for the contemporary musician with grades ranging from an introductory level all the way up to university-level degrees.
A test run two years ago with a single student taking an exam after showing promise on bass guitar led to ten students participating in a Rockschool grade examination day.
The first exam day took place in July, delivered by musinc at myplace Middlesbrough – which became a Rockschool Public Exam Centre – with tuition from Microtone Music.
Students took part from across three Teesside projects – 25K Youth Centre Redcar, Cornerhouse Youth Project Stockton and Tuned In Redcar.
Further opportunities to study for Rockschool grades are planned for participants taking part in the musinc programme in summer 2019.
musinc Operations Assistant Sarah Towers said: “What began as an informal discussion with Youth Music CEO Matt Griffiths about one student’s journey has grown into a full examination day and a project that will be delivered by musinc over the next three years.
“In terms of impact for the participants this is a massive boost of confidence but also for the area as evidence shows that families with an income of £28,000 per year or less are not as likely to access one to one music lessons.
“This in turn could lead to a falling number of musicians from areas such as Teesside.”
Student feedback was very positive following the exam while all participants eagerly awaited their results: “My improvisation and pieces went well and I feel like I could get high scores on those.
“I have learnt a lot with regards to playing the guitar, I have learnt music notation and music theory. I will continue to do grade exams and improve my skills on my instrument.”
“My pieces went really well. I have learnt how to play notes and scales and theory. I will brush up on my technique skills and keep playing my instrument until I get better and better.”
Cornerhouse Youth Project Youth Worker Lynne said: “Young people have been given an opportunity that ordinarily they wouldn’t be able to access.
“The programme has boosted confidence and self-esteem, enabling them to perform in front of others and to commit to completing their musical examinations.
“Young people have already talked about wanting to learn another instrument or progress to the next grade”.
Microtone Music Leader Kenn Smith said: “The day went really well, the young people got a lot out of it and it has given them more confidence to do further grade exams.
“The examiner was really good at putting them at ease and the young people conducted themselves very well and I look forward to working with them in future.”